Senator Mike Lee has introduced a bill to repeal the Jones Act. In place since 1920, the Jones Act mandates that goods transported by water between two points in the United States be done by vessels that are U.S.-flagged, U.S.-crewed, U.S.-owned, and U.S.-built. Justified on national security grounds, the law was meant to ensure a strong maritime sector to bolster U.S. capabilities in times of war or national emergency. These envisioned benefits, however, have proved illusory while the Jones Act has imposed a very real and ongoing economic burden. Cato scholars have written extensively on the need to rid ourselves of this antiquated law and chart a new course based on innovation and competition rather than discredited protectionism.
There is a growing bipartisan sentiment in Washington that Chinese trade practices are a problem, since these practices are unfair to American companies in a number of ways. But there is disagreement about the appropriate response. Can multilateral institutions be of use here? Or is unilateralism the only way? In a new study, Cato scholars James Bacchus, Simon Lester, and Huan Zhu contend that WTO dispute settlement has more potential to address China’s practices than the administration believes.