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Miami – Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann today successfully amended a resolution by the US Conference of Mayors regarding a pending Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Interpretive Rule that could have forced Hawaii’s last home-ported US-flag cruise ship from the Hawaii market.


The resolution as originally drafted would have called upon CBP to rescind the pending Interpretive Rule. Mayor Hannemann’s amendment acknowledges that the Interpretive Rule as originally issued proposes burdensome criteria, and recommends that a compromise rule be issued instead to addresses the concerns of mainland ports while protecting the interests of US-flag shipping in Hawaii.


Mayor Hannemann has joined Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation in supporting US-flag cruise ship operations in Hawaii. According to the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), a single home-ported US flag cruise ship provides Hawaii, on an annual basis, with nearly $500 million of economic impact and more than 4,600 jobs – 3.2 times more economic impact and jobs than the entire foreign flag fleet that calls seasonally on Hawaii.


“In addition to the benefits that cruise ships bring to our tour operators, we should keep in mind that a US-flag cruise ship home ported in Honolulu provides enormous economic benefit to our local community and Neighbor Islands due to the significant purchases of goods and services to provision the ship, especially from our state’s agricultural producers,” said Mayor Hannemann. “Also, a US-flag cruise ship complies with all of the laws of our nation such as wage and hour requirements and payment of Social Security taxes, and pays Hawaii’s General Excise Tax on every cruise that the company sells. None of the foreign-flag cruise ships make these types of investments in Hawaii.”


According to DBEDT, the loss of two US-flag cruise ships from Hawaii in just the last 6 months has cost Hawaii’s economy more that 8,500 jobs and more than $1.1 billion in economic impact, annually.


“Given the current uncertainties of our economy, now is not the time to be driving the last US-flag cruise ship from our shores,” said Mayor Hannemann. “I am pleased to have protected Hawaii’s interest through this amended resolution.”


Contact: Bill Brennan, 527-6928

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

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