Maritime USA backs most food aid provisions in farm bill |

Maritime USA backs most food aid provisions in farm bill

-The Hagstrom Report

A lawyer for the maritime industry said Friday that the international food provisions in the House farm bill draft “is a reasonable compromise” with advocates who want to reduce the shipment of U.S. commodities on U.S. vessels to needy places.

Bryant Gardner, a partner at Winston & Strawn, the law firm that represents Maritime USA, a coalition of shipping companies and labor groups, said the farm bill language “continues these important programs, preserving their unique ability to reach those most in need overseas while also providing important cargoes for the cost-effective sustainment of our U.S. Merchant Marine national defense sealift capability.”

But Gardner said the industry does not support provisions that would limit monetization, the sale of U.S. foodstuffs so that the proceeds can be used for development purposes.

Gardner also released a statement from Maritime USA supporting the reauthorization of U.S. food aid programs, including Food for Progress, Food for Peace, and McGovern-Dole Food for Education, and said the donations should maximize the use of U.S. commodities shipped on U.S. flag vessels.

“Shipped from the heartland to ports overseas in vessels flying the American flag, donated American commodities stamped ‘From the American people’ act as

ambassadors, spreading goodwill towards our country and helping to address the root causes of international terrorism and instability,” while maintaining the U.S. merchant marine, Maritime USA said.

The letter was signed by shipping companies and labor unions.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and others have said that shipping food aid on U.S. vessels is inefficient and have introduced legislation to reduce the practice.

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