Washington – Although Republican Senators say President Donald Trump rejected a waiver of the Jones Act to transport natural gas on non-U.S.-flagged vessels between the United States and Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rican government has not received any official notice.
“We haven’t had any response,” said Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares.
Republican Louisiana Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy said that during a meeting last Wednesday, President Trump gave his word that he will reject the waivers requested both by the government of Puerto Rico and by businessmen for U.S. northeast states.
According to Bloomberg, White House officials left another meeting in the Oval Office on April 22 saying that President Trump was considering granting the waiver.
But Senator Cassidy said the president on Wednesday “gave his word” that “he was going to oppose any changes to the Jones Act and any waivers”. Puerto Rico’s Governor Rosselló Nevares submitted a 10-year waiver petition of the cabotage rules to the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense in December.
“We understand that our arguments are good for the United States, the states and Puerto Rico,” Rosselló Nevares said.
After the meeting in the White House, Senator Kennedy said that President Trump
“realizes how important the Jones Act is to Louisiana’s maritime industry and that no changes will be made.”
Although major U.S. shipping companies also have foreign ships, Kennedy said that “it would be foolish to push aside those jobs in favor of foreign-made and foreign-crewed ships.”
The Jones Act that went into effect in 1920 requires that ships moving cargo between U.S. ports, including the mainland and Puerto Rico, be U.S.-built, owned and crewed.