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The Editors

Maritime Commerce Can Thrive Without the Jones Act

Lifting the protectionist blanket would be good for America.
Dreaming of a better day.

Dreaming of a better day.

Photographer: William Gottlieb/CORBIS/via Getty Images

For all the flaws of the Jones Act -– the 1920 legislation requiring that all maritime commerce between U.S. ports take place on ships owned, built and crewed by Americans -- there’s no faulting its professed goal. The U.S. needs a thriving maritime sector, for both economic and military reasons.  

The best way to achieve this is to lift the Jones Act’s protectionist blanket. Granted, that’s not so simple, because the act is part of a complex regulatory and legal web. But some straightforward steps could bring immediate benefits.