Announcement Concerning the United States Merchant Fleet Shipment of Wheat Flour to Egypt

February 22, 1983

The President today announced that he is directing the Department of Agriculture to require that 50 percent of the wheat flour sold to Egypt under an agreement concluded last month be carried on U.S.-flag vessels. This action reflects the administration's continued commitment to the maintenance of a strong U.S. merchant fleet. Approximately 500,000 tons of additional cargo that would otherwise have gone to foreign-flag ships will be transported on ships manned by U.S. crews as a result of the President's directive.

The administration has undertaken a series of initiatives over the past year to strengthen the U.S. merchant fleet. The Department of Transportation and other agencies have cooperated on efforts to reduce the regulatory burden on U.S. shipbuilders and ship operators. The administration has also supported the maritime industry's efforts to streamline the liner conference structure.

The U.S. maritime industry has been particularly hard-hit by the recession from which our economy is now emerging. The unique circumstances surrounding our competitive sale to Egypt of wheat flour provided an opportunity to ensure that the U.S. merchant fleet will remain a vital force in shipping the products that U.S. farmers grow for the world market.