The Clinton Administration, long an opponent of Jones Act reform, has proposed a one-year waiver to allow the use of foreign-built ships to transport U.S. food aid abroad
, most notably to Russia
. The plan would add up to seven dry-bulk and breakbulk ships suited to carry food aid, according to U.S. Marad estimated.
"This waiver," said Rob Quartel, president of the Jones Act Reform Coalition (JARC), "would bring Jones Act reform to foreign consumers, while American businesses and consumers continue to bear the burden that may approach $17 billion annually. It's a clear and well-articulated admission of failure - the Jones Act doesn't work any longer."
The waiver proposal, attached to this year's Marad authorization bill, would allow foreign-built bulk ships immediate eligibility to carry U.S. food aid, as long as the ships are registered under the U.S. flag and employ U.S. crews. Normally, newly registered foreign-built ships must wait for three years before being allowed to carry U.S. government-impelled cargo.