Menendez, Clinton to Introduce Bill to Block Foreign Governments from Controlling U.S. PortsClinton.Senate.gov
Thur Feb 17, 2006
Legislation Would Block Sale of U.S. Port Operations to UAE-Controlled Company
- United States Senators Robert Menendez and Hillary Clinton announced today that they are introducing legislation to prohibit companies owned or controlled by foreign governments from purchasing port operations in the United States. The legislation would block such transactions as the proposed sale of operations at six major U.S. ports to Dubai Ports World, a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates.
"Our ports are the front lines of the war on terrorism. They are both vulnerable targets for attack and venues for smuggling and human trafficking," Menendez said. "We wouldn’t turn the border patrol or the customs service over to a foreign government, and we can’t afford to turn our ports over to one either."
"Our port security is too important to place in the hands of foreign governments," Clinton said. "I will be working with Senator Menendez to introduce legislation that will prohibit the sale of ports to foreign governments."
Dubai Ports World has announced plans to buy P&O Ports, the company that runs commercial operation at ports in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia, as well as other U.S. cities. The transaction was reviewed and approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a committee made up of representatives of different government departments and agencies, and seems headed for completion unless blocked by Congress.
"The Bush administration has neglected port security for years, and now they’re ready to turn port operations over to the control of a foreign government that is a known transit point for smuggled nuclear technology," Menendez said. "Congress must act to protect our security."
Only 5% of containers that enter the United States through ports are actually inspected, despite repeated warnings by security experts that ports are a prime target for terrorist attacks.