Repealing the Jones Act would hurt Florida

Repealing the Jones Act would help Puerto Rico. But it could hurt Florida.

From the Miami Herald

T he domestic shipping industry is an economic behemoth in Florida, contributing 52,140 maritime jobs and $9.6 billion to Florida’s economy,

The advisor argued that transitioning away from the Jones Act in the middle of a disaster would be highly disruptive to Puerto Rico’s recovery, and that a permanent repeal would hurt Florida in the long run.

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If Puerto Rico does not want to live under American laws like the Jones Act, so be it. Let them give up American Citizenship, welfare programs, and become a separate country. Within a five years Puerto Rico would just as much of hopeless shithole as Haiti. Puerto Rican’s know that, that’s why they voted to seek US statehood, and why they would never voluntarily give up US citizenship.

The Jones Act will not be changed. It is here to stay just the way it is.


Agreed, better to permanently repeal Puerto Rico.

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There’s a lot of Puerto Rican mariners that are employeed at good American wages because of the Jones Act too.


If they don’t want the restrictions of the Jones Act, as an independent country they will no longer be forced to use American vessels for trade.

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They are not “forced to use American vessels for trade” now. They are perfectly free to import goods from any country they wish to buy them on any ship they can find to carry them. They just can’t get cheap shipping from a US port, that’s all.

I suspect that just like any other place in the US, most of the products on the shelves of Walmart, Best Buy, and every other store comes from China or some other country. Let PR buy the stuff from those places and demand it be carried on a FoC ship if they don’t want to support the country that writes its welfare checks. Let them tax the drug companies that take advantage of its colonial status.

How many % of the Jones Act trade is to/from PR??

How many % of the total PR trade volume is actually carried on Jones Act vessels? (Incl. transshipped goods of foreign origin, or export to foreign countries)

How much does cost of cargo handling at US ports and transport by US ships and barges add to the cost of PR goods imported from and export to other countries?

PR is too small market to become a port of call for large mainline container ships, but if not bound by US embargo, transhipment could be to/from the new “mega port” being developed in Cuba by feeders ships at a much smaller cost.

The alternative would be to develop a Hub Port in PR, serving the Caribbean, North and East coast of South America, Central and North America. It is strategically positioned to do so if free from US trade restrictions.

What “trade restrictions” would those be?

They can buy whatever they want from anyone willing to sell to them and they can ship it on anything that will carry it - except on a foreign flag ship from the US.

The idea of using foreign flag ships, which in this case would probably the FoC mud boat freighters manned by Haitian villagers that sail out of Fort Lauderdale and Miami loaded with used mattresses and stolen bicycles, is purely a crass attempt by the farm lobby and their pet lackey McCain to use a disaster to increase their own profits. Screw 'em.

Who really believes that the price of a Chinese gadget or a can of corn in Walmart would be any cheaper if it were carried on one of those mudboats?

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It was reported in one of the articles that about 60% or 65% of the vessels calling to San Juan are foreign flag.

I sail on a non-Jones Act Ship and have discharged in San Juan many times.

I wonder if whatever cargo you carried was labeled “Non Jones Act” and sold for less than the Jones Act version.

Do the grocery stores have two identical products side by side with a lower price on one because it was carried on a FoC ship?

As a US Colony they are not free to trade with, set tariffs or negotiate trade deals with other countries, unless approved under US Law. They have to abide by any trade restrictions and tariffs that applies to any other US State or territory. (There are many and more is likely to come)

They may be free to buy whatever they want from whomever the want, at least in theory, but for all practical purposes it is not that easy. They are under US jurisdictions and has to comply with US restrictions. (see above)
As for shipping it by whatever means they want; yes, if in large enough quantity and regularity to entice shipping companies to call there. For all practical purposes it is done through US ports because that is to/from where regular shipping lines are available.

Short term waiver is not an issue. I raised the questions in Post #7 to get an understanding of how important the PR trade is to overall Jones Act trade and how much the actual impact on the PR economy and consumers are.

I’m also curious how, if PR was no longer dependent on the US, they could be able to survive on their own.
There appears to be a sentiment to cut them loose, not only on this forum, but in the wider US population.

Having lived on a much smaller island that reluctantly became an independent country, I have watch the process of nation building with no natural resources and against all odds.
Singapore succeeded beyond all expectations, but that was due to honest and good governance, which doesn’t appear to be the case in PR at this time.

Could a strong leader with the aptitude and leadership qualities that was the case with Lee Kuan Yew be found to lead an independent PR???

The PR Jones Act Trade is small. How many ships does TOTE have on the PR run, two? What about Crowley, maybe two ships and six barges? Trailerbridge, one or two barges? Crowley and TOTE both have fleets of foreign flag ships that serve Latin America, including Puerto Rico. Panama is an existing hub port. PR gets most of its oil from foreign sources on foreign flag ships.

New York, Connecticut and New Jersey probably have a larger Puerto Rican population than Puerto Rico. Florida and Texas also have a lot of Puerto Rican’s. Flights to Puerto Rico are relatively cheap; a lot of Puerto Rican’s work in the US, including Puerto Rican mariners.

Puerto Rico has a lot of problems., like theft, graft, corruption, incompetence, inefficiency, and addiction to US Government handouts. If the Jones Act is any problem for Puerto Rico, it is a very tiny one.

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PR is not a colony … it only behaves like one.

Gee, just like every other purchaser on the planet. If I want to buy 10,000 cans of corn I will get a much better price than if I bought one. If they import enough to make it worthwhile then they won’t have to pay for small shipments via more expensive methods. That can of corn costs less to ship by the container load than a single can by parcel post or UPS.

That is up to them isn’t it? The place is bigger than other independent and self supporting islands.

Why should we finance a welfare state that wishes to eliminate the US merchant marine that pays taxes that support their spending habits and failed government? I am in favor of PR taxing the drug companies the same or more than they would pay in the US mainland. Let them finance the place, it has no value to the US.

It’s the US Government and Puerto Rico that gives anyone willing to move to Puerto Rico, whether you set up a business or not, special tax treatment. Puerto Rico has become a US authorized offshore tax haven, that for Americans, can be more advantageous than most. The US Governmemt authorized these tax breaks as a subsidy and economic development program to benefit PR. That is why people like John Paulson has moved his fMutual Fund family down to PR, and he has invested heavily in PR real estate.

That is also part of the reason that the big pharma companies are there. Other reasons include cheap labor and lax environmental rules with inspectors that are cheap and easy to bribe. The same reasons US companies manufacture in Mexico and similar places.

People in PR know that the most valuable thing they have is US citizenship with the right to live and work in the mainland US. After decades of nationalistic pride and dreams of independence someday with voting to remain a US Territory, they have realized that their is no future in them ever becoming independent. The last two votes have been in favor of statehood. If they want be be a state, we should accept them as a state with English as the common language. If they insist on Spanish as their official language, then they are not yet to become a US State.

Puerto Rico has a lot of potential. It could be a prosperous tropical paradise as a US Statw. But like much of Latin America, it has an entrenched culture of overpopulation and corruption that will prevents it from becoming successful on its own.