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Memorandum of Disapproval of a Bill Concerning Shipping Rebating Laws

November 04, 1978


I have decided not to sign into law H.R. 9518. This legislation, which would impose severe enforcement measures in the area of ocean shipping rebating, reflects concern with the possible disparity in enforcement of our anti-rebating laws against US-flag carriers but not against foreign flag operators. I share that concern, and any disparity that exists must be eliminated.

The United States is currently engaged in important discussions with several European .countries and Japan in an attempt to reach cooperative agreements involving a number of shipping problems, including rebating. Rather than taking immediate unilateral action undermining these efforts, I have directed the Secretary of State, in cooperation with the Federal Maritime Commission and other agencies to pursue these talks vigorously and to report to me on their progress. I am also directing the Administration's Maritime Policy Task Force to provide, by an early date, a set of recommendations that will address both the substance of our rebating laws as well as procedures for enforcement, taking into account the inherently international character of ocean shipping.

In the interim, I am asking the Federal Maritime Commission to step up its enforcement efforts against illegal rebating under the authority now provided in the Shipping Act of 1916. The Administration is committed to assist the FMC in these efforts, and I urge the FMC to seek the assistance of the Department of State in obtaining any necessary cooperation from foreign governments.

Although I am withholding my signature on H.R. 9518 I believe the bill represents an important signal to foreign countries that we must work together to secure a cooperative shipping regime. I commit my Administration to work with the next Congress to develop a comprehensive maritime policy for the United States, in which the concerns reflected by this bill as well as broader policy issues can be fully addressed.


The White House,

November 4, 1978.

Note: The text of the memorandum of disapproval was released on November 5.

Jimmy Carter, Memorandum of Disapproval of a Bill Concerning Shipping Rebating Laws Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243907

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