New Billboards in New York City Area Blame the Onerous Jones Act for Snarling Traffic

The Cato Institute is launching a new billboard campaign in the heavily trafficked New York City region this month to educate motorists on the impact of the Jones Act on their daily commute. The boards direct readers to BlameJonesAct.com, which explains that the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, better known as the Jones Act, helps clog America’s highways with 18-wheelers by making it prohibitively expensive for companies to ship goods via container ships, which would be a cheaper and more efficient option were it not for the act.

Jones Act Repeal Bill Introduced

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.

Disciplining China’s Trade Practices at the WTO: How WTO Complaints Can Help Make China More Market-Oriented

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.

Cato Studies

Of Special Note

Candy-Coated Cartel: Time to Kill the U.S. Sugar Program

Candy-Coated Cartel: Time to Kill the U.S. Sugar Program

For decades, the federal government has been operating a program to control the production and importation of sugar. The program’s main purpose is to ensure minimum prices for sugar, typically much higher than those found in international markets. In leading this sugar cartel, Cato scholar Colin Grabow argues in a new paper, the government has raised costs for U.S. consumers and U.S. businesses that use sugar in their products, while making citizens suspicious that their government is actually working for them, instead of advancing the narrow interests of special interest groups, such as sugar producers.

Trade Politics

#CatoConnects: Simon Lester & Inu Manak on NAFTA and Trump’s Tariffs

The President has linked tariffs on aluminum and steel to the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations, although he has exempted Canada and Mexico for now. Negotiations on a new NAFTA had been looking positive, but linking the trade deal to tariffs could undermine that progress. What is the future of continental free trade? And how should a renegotiated NAFTA be different?

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From the Cato Institute’s Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, the Cato Trade Newsletter is a periodic email featuring trade policy news, commentary, and resources from a free-trade perspective.

Free Trade, Free Markets: Rating the Congress

Free Trade, Free Markets: Rating the Congress

This interactive web site allows users to examine how Congress and its individual members have voted over the years on bills and amendments affecting the freedom of Americans to trade and invest in the global economy. The web site includes votes previously examined in a series of Cato studies published from 1999 through 2005, as well as more recent votes.