re: Dubai Ports World
My oppostion to this deal boils down to two questions:
1. Who in the current administration stands to benefit financial if this deal is finalized?;
2. Why are there two stipulations that seem to be written specifically to keep all aspects of this deal, once finalized, out of the US court system?
a. No papers will be kept in the US, and;
b. No US citizen is required to be in the room when business
deals concerning the US are discussed.
For the sake of both physical and financial security these questions must be answered. Those that benefit in #1 should at least have to wait until after they are out of government service before any financial gains are realized, and then at the highest tax rate possible (ie. no earnings assigned to some off-shore corporation to avoid US IRS);and this deal shoul not be written so that the US court system can be avoided. There must be a method for continuing oversight and conflict resolution.
My reply from Senator Maria Cantwell:
Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding Dubai Ports World acquisition of port operations within the United States . I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.
As you know, Dubai Ports World (DP World) competed in, and won a bid to purchase the British shipping company Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation (P&O). The sale of P&O for $6.8 billion, which will be finalized on March 2, will make DP World the third largest port operator in the world. This acquisition will expand DP World’s holdings to operations at the Ports of New York, New Jersey, Baltimore , New Orleans , Miami , and Philadelphia .
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which includes representatives from the Departments of Treasury, Defense, Justice, Commerce, State, and Homeland Security, as well as representatives from the Executive Office of the President evaluated and approved the acquisition. Federal law requires the President to investigate the impact on national security of foreign acquisitions in the U.S. The President has 75 days to review cases where "the acquirer is controlled by or acting on behalf of a foreign government."
I am very troubled that the Bush Administration insists on moving forward with this port acquisition without conducting a detailed and comprehensive analysis as required by law. Port security is critical to our nation’s economic success and that is why I am actively working with my colleagues to ensure that the Administration conducts a thorough and transparent examination of the deal. In addition, I have asked that the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, of which I am a member, conduct hearings to examine this deal and the larger issue of foreign involvement at our ports.
As you know, Washington state boasts the largest locally controlled port system in the world with over seventy ports ranging dramatically in size, infrastructure, and purpose. These ports play an integral role in our state’s economy as the nexus for international trade and a leading provider of high-quality jobs for our residents. That is why I have made it a priority to enhance security at ports in Washington state and across the country.
In November 2002, Congress passed the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-295) with my support. This bill requires the Secretary of Transportation to prepare a National Maritime Transportation Security Plan for deterring and responding to transportation security incidents. It also requires commercial vessels to be equipped with an automatic identification system and the creation of local port security committees to better coordinate efforts between federal, state, local, and private law enforcement bodies. In addition, the law directed the Transportation Department to develop regulations for secure areas in ports, including the development of identification cards containing biometric information.
In addition, I am an original cosponsor of the Transportation Security Improvement Act of 2005 (S.1052). Introduced by Senator Ted Stevens, S.1052 is a bipartisan bill that would strengthen laws governing transportation security and authorize approximately $6.5 billion annually for aviation, land (rail and pipeline), and maritime security. S.1052 would improve oversight of U.S. bound shipping containers by requiring the Department of Homeland Security to develop standards for evaluating and inspecting cargo prior to its loading at foreign ports. The Transportation Security Improvement Act was approved by the Commerce Committee with my support on November 17, 2005 and now awaits consideration by the full Senate.
Please be assured that I will continue to closely monitor the DP World acquisition and will continue working to develop responsible solutions to address vulnerabilities at our nation’s ports and throughout the maritime system.
Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. Finally, you may be interested in signing up for my weekly update for Washington state residents. Every Monday, I provide a brief outline about my work in the Senate and issues of importance to Washington State . If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov . Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.
United States Senator
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