U.S. maritime laws must work for U.S. workers

International trade laws and deals are too often costing American jobs and hurting businesses because of unfair rules that give foreign competitors a competitive edge, including Open Skies agreements that favor Middle Eastern airlines and threaten thousands of U.S. workers.

Earlier this year, President Trump took a big step toward fixing these problems when he pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Now he should urge Congress to update antiquated laws to protect U.S. maritime workers, whose jobs could be at risk without reform.

Every year, thousands of workers in the maritime services industry, from the stevedores at port terminals who handle freight to the tugboat operators who ensure the security of shipping vessels, safely and efficiently move billions of tons of cargo at our nation’s ports, harbors and waterways. These hard-working Americans play a vital role in supporting the international trade sector and overall economy.

But those jobs are increasingly at risk because of antiquated laws that have allowed big foreign ocean carriers to join together into major alliances to set rates and conditions for American maritime companies and the thousands of businesses that export goods via ocean shipping.