The following letter to the editor was printed in the January 6 edition of the Miami Herald.
Carlos Roa's Jan. 5 op-ed, "U.S. can break free of its dependence on China by rebuilding Puerto Rico's pharmaceutical industry," serves a worthy cause, but one of his recommendations would put defense capabilities and the economies of Florida and the U.S. at real risk.
To "revise" the 1920 Jones Act to any extent in any market would force essential U.S. cargo ships out of service and U.S. mariners out of work, thereby denying U.S. military forces the supply resources they need in overseas conflicts.
The Jones Act accounts for multiple billions in private capital investment, 650,000 jobs, $41 billion in wages and $154 billion in economic output nationwide. Florida ranks second to Louisiana in Jones Act benefits, with 66,000 jobs, $3.7 billion in income and $14 billion in economic activity.
That the Jones Act has endured for so long is a testament to this law as a national security and economic asset at no cost to U.S. taxpayers.
American Maritime Officers