Carroll Forms Team To Take On Jones Act
Honolulu, October 4, 2011–John Carroll met with his research team that will be helping him prepare a white paper on the impact of the archaic Jones Act on Hawaii’s economy. This little discussed law, left over from the 1930’s, put restrictions on interstate shipping, and essentially denies foreign-flagged vessels free-trade access to American ports. Hawaii has suffered disproportionately as a result, with shipping costs kept artificially high and export options drastically reduced. The effect of the Jones Act has been to drive up Hawaii’s cost of living by limiting (to almost a monopoly) all import shipping. What we not-so-affectionately refer to as the “Matson Tax,” unfairly adds approximately 30% to the cost of all daily essentials.
For example, Hawaii now imports about 85% of its food. A gallon of fresh milk, if you can find it, costs around $8 a gallon, about $5 more than in Seattle. This situation is made worse by the fact that Hawaii’s local food production is also negatively impacted by the Jones Act. Foreign vessels who deliver product to Hawaii must return empty instead of carrying Hawaiian agricultural product back to their home ports. This has virtually eliminated one of Hawaii’s best markets for agricultural products and made farming and ranchingin the Islands an unprofitable and risky undertaking.
The Jones Act literally hurts Hawaii coming and going.
Carroll’s group of HPU students and young professionals will be analyzing the economic impact of the Jones Act on Hawaii, and establish the actual costs to individuals living in Hawaii. They will also be comparing more open trade ports like Singapore and Hong Kong, and projecting the economic impact on Hawaii by adopting a more open trade policy,
Because Hawaii is unique in its geographic isolation from the other U.S. States, it suffers disproportionate economic damage because of the Jones Act. John Carroll will be seeking a strategy to gain an exemption for Hawaii that could lead to a major improvement in our local economy and reduction in our cost of living.