Trump pays lip service to ports

President Trump in 2011 Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0 President Trump in 2011 Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Ports made the cut for US President Donald Trump’s 2019 State of the Union Address.

In the speech, President Trump said that his administration had submitted a proposal to the United States Congress featuring drug detection at ports in the country.

The address also saw President Trump call for “a great rebuilding of America’s crumbling infrastructure” and for a new trade deal with China featuring real, structural change to end trade practices that are unfair.

AAPA comments

In a statement responding to the speech, the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) said it was pleased that President Trump had asked the United States Congress to “address issues of concern to the US seaport industry”.

“AAPA looks forward with great anticipation to an infrastructure package this year that focuses on America’s transportation investment needs, including land and waterside connections to ports,” said AAPA president and chief executive Kurt Nagle.

Mr Nagle said that AAPA additionally hopes for legislation featuring its long-term funding solution to end Harbor Maintenance Tax-underspending and inequitable funds-distribution, with the chief executive also saying that the organisation was encouraged by President Trump’s statement to address human trafficking and reassured by his commitment to increase security at America’s international borders and ports of entry.

“This includes seaports, which critically need hundreds more [United States] Customs and Border Protection officers to inspect and clear international cargo and cruise passengers,” Mr Nagle said of the security commitment.

Mr Nagle later said: “The President mentioned the importance of protecting American jobs and boosting economic output in negotiating fair and equitable trade pacts with our international trading partners.

“Because seaports are on the frontlines of the current uncertainties surrounding US trade policy, it’s important to recognise that international trade, both exports and imports, are good for our national economy, and actions that would inhibit international trade could have sizeable negative repercussions on American businesses and jobs.”

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