President Biden signed an executive order yesterday to "Buy American" to support manufacturers, businesses and workers.

With the order, the White House said President Biden is ensuring that when the federal government spends taxpayer dollars "they are spent on American made goods by American workers and with American-made component parts." The order fulfills President Biden’s "promise to make Buy American real and close loopholes that allow companies to offshore production and jobs while still qualifying for domestic preferences."

The American Maritime Partnership (AMP) said the executive order formally confirms the Biden administration’s policy to strongly support U.S. maritime workers and businesses serving domestic trades under the Jones Act. It reiterates the president's strong support of the Jones Act, a law that is a foundation for U.S. economic and national security.

A summary of the executive order recognizes the recent signing of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as “an opportunity to invest in America’s workers as we build offshore renewable energy, in line with the president’s goals to build our clean energy future here in America.” 

The U.S. maritime industry employs nearly 650,000 and contributes $154 billion to the nation’s economic growth annually, the AMP said. 

“While it is no surprise that the Biden administration supports critical American industries such as American maritime, this order is an extremely important and timely statement of the administration’s policy,” AMP President Mike Roberts said in a statement. “With this order, American maritime will have greater confidence for the next several years to make investments in American vessels and maritime infrastructure.”

The 40,000 vessels that comprise the Jones Act fleet move nearly one billion tons of cargo annually – or roughly a quarter of the nation’s freight, according to AMP.

“The American Waterways Operators commends President Biden for reaffirming his strong support for the Jones Act in the opening days of his administration," said Jennifer Carpenter, President and CEO of the American Waterways Operators. "The Jones Act is the foundation for every dollar AWO member companies invest in American-built vessels and every job they provide for Americans across the country. We look forward to working with the president and his team to strengthen the American maritime industry, which is crucial to our national, homeland and economic security.”

"As the trade association for the Jones Act companies that construct and service offshore energy infrastructure, OMSA applauds the administration for including strong statements in support of the Jones Act, especially support for the Jones Act as it relates to offshore wind energy construction," Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA) President and CEO Aaron Smith said in a statement. "The administration is also correct when it says that we must close loopholes in the laws that protect American workers from unfair international competition. OMSA completely agrees with this statement and hopes that we can work with the administration and Congress to close Jones Act and visa loopholes that allow foreign vessels and foreign workers to engage in U.S. offshore wind farm activity. We are confident that with the right protections, we can ensure U.S. wind power produces U.S. jobs."

“Our Great Lakes maritime industry is buoyed by the incredible support from the White House and the Biden administration making it known – in the first days in office – that they are fully committed to American maritime, a backbone of our great country for more than a century. We share that same inspired commitment and are proud to be building a new ship for our U.S.-flag fleet that will sail in 2022,” said Mark W. Barker, president, Interlake Maritime Services.

“We look to be a leader on America’s path to a low carbon future, whether through new vessels to support offshore wind generation, or new low-carbon technologies to move America’s cargo. The unequivocal support of the administration reassures us as we contemplate these investments,” said David Grzebinski, CEO, Kirby Corp.

“The ‘Buy American’ executive order issued today by President Biden will prioritize American innovation, ingenuity and craftsmanship that are pivotal to our national and economic security. Essential national and domestic security industries like the U.S. shipyard sector and the maritime defense industrial base will grow stronger because of the actions taken today, ensuring the future of America is made in America,” said Matthew Paxton, president, Shipbuilders Council of America.