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Repealing the Jones Act


Section 27 of Merchant Marine Act of 1920, colloquially known as the Jones Act, requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried on ships that have been constructed in the United States and that fly the U.S. flag, are owned by U.S. citizens, and are crewed by U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents.


Research shows that the Jones Act reduces domestic trade via waterways (relative to other forms of trade) and increases consumer prices. (Journal of International Economics)

This is especially felt in areas like Hawaii where it is estimated that average family spends extra $1800 per year due to higher prices. (WSJ)


Legislative efforts to repeal the Jones Act have been repeatedly introduced in Congress since 2010 in the form of the Open America's Waters Act, championed by the late Senator John McCain and by Utah Senator Mike Lee, but have not passed to become law.

When will the Jones Act be repealed?

This question will resolve on the first date on which boats built, crewed, or owned by citizens of at least 10 other non-US countries can transport goods between any two US ports.

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