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§ 1710a. Foreign laws and practices

(a) Definitions
For purposes of this section—
(1) “common carrier”, “marine terminal operator”, “ocean transportation intermediary”, “ocean common carrier”, “person”, “shipper”, “shippers’ association”, and “United States” have the meanings given each such term, respectively, in section 1702 of this Appendix;
(2) “foreign carrier” means an ocean common carrier a majority of whose vessels are documented under the laws of a country other than the United States;
(3) “maritime services” means port-to-port carriage of cargo by the vessels operated by ocean common carriers;
(4) “maritime-related services” means intermodal operations, terminal operations, cargo solicitation, agency services, ocean transportation intermediary services and operations, and all other activities and services integral to total transportation systems of ocean common carriers and their foreign domiciled affiliates on their own and others’ behalf;
(5) “United States carrier” means an ocean common carrier which operates vessels documented under the laws of the United States; and
(6) “United States oceanborne trade” means the carriage of cargo between the United States and a foreign country, whether direct or indirect, by an ocean common carrier.
(b) Authority to conduct investigations
The Federal Maritime Commission shall investigate whether any laws, rules, regulations, policies, or practices of foreign governments, or any practices of foreign carriers or other persons providing maritime or maritime-related services in a foreign country result in the existence of conditions that—
(1) adversely affect the operations of United States carriers in United States oceanborne trade; and
(2) do not exist for foreign carriers of that country in the United States under the laws of the United States or as a result of acts of United States carriers or other persons providing maritime or maritime-related services in the United States.
(c) Investigations
(1) Investigations under subsection (b) of this section may be initiated by the Commission on its own motion or on the petition of any person, including any common carrier, shipper, shippers’ association, ocean transportation intermediary, or marine terminal operator, or any branch, department, agency, or other component of the Government of the United States.
(2) The Commission shall complete any such investigation and render a decision within 120 days after it is initiated, except that the Commission may extend such 120-day period for an additional 90 days if the Commission is unable to obtain sufficient information to determine whether a condition specified in subsection (b) of this section exists. Any notice providing such an extension shall clearly state the reasons for such extension.
(d) Information requests
(1) In order to further the purposes of subsection (b) of this section, the Commission may, by order, require any person (including any common carrier, shipper, shippers’ association, ocean transportation intermediary, or marine terminal operator, or any officer, receiver, trustee, lessee, agent or employee thereof) to file with the Commission any periodic or special report, answers to questions, documentary material, or other information which the Commission considers necessary or appropriate. The Commission may require that the response to any such order shall be made under oath. Such response shall be furnished in the form and within the time prescribed by the Commission.
(2) In an investigation under subsection (b) of this section, the Commission may issue subpoenas to compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of records or other evidence.
(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Commission may, in its discretion, determine that any information submitted to it in response to a request under this subsection, or otherwise, shall not be disclosed to the public.
(e) Action against foreign carriers
(1) Whenever, after notice and opportunity for comment or hearing, the Commission determines that the conditions specified in subsection (b) of this section exist, the Commission shall take such action as it considers necessary and appropriate against any foreign carrier that is a contributing cause to, or whose government is a contributing cause to, such conditions, in order to offset such conditions. Such action may include—
(A) limitations on sailings to and from United States ports or on the amount or type of cargo carried;
(B) suspension, in whole or in part, of any or all tariffs and service contracts, including the right of an ocean common carrier to use any or all tariffs and service contracts of conferences in United States trades of which it is a member for such period as the Commission specifies;
(C) suspension, in whole or in part, of the right of an ocean common carrier to operate under any agreement filed with the Commission, including agreements authorizing preferential treatment at terminals, preferential terminal leases, space chartering, or pooling of cargo or revenues with other ocean common carriers; and
(D) a fee, not to exceed $1,000,000 per voyage.
(2) The Commission may consult with, seek the cooperation of, or make recommendations to other appropriate Government agencies prior to taking any action under this subsection.
(3) Before a determination under this subsection becomes effective or a request is made under subsection (f) of this section, the determination shall be submitted immediately to the President who may, within 10 days after receiving such determination, disapprove the determination in writing, setting forth the reasons for the disapproval, if the President finds that disapproval is required for reasons of the national defense or the foreign policy of the United States.
(f) Actions upon request of Commission
Whenever the conditions specified in subsection (b) of this section are found by the Commission to exist, upon the request of the Commission—
(1) the collector of customs at any port or place of destination in the United States shall refuse the clearance required by section 91 of this Appendix to any vessel of a foreign carrier that is identified by the Commission under subsection (e) of this section; and
(2) the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating shall deny entry, for purposes of oceanborne trade, of any vessel of a foreign carrier that is identified by the Commission under subsection (e) of this section to any port or place in the United States or the navigable waters of the United States, or shall detain any such vessel at the port or place in the United States from which it is about to depart for any other port or place in the United States.
(g) Report
The Commission shall include in its annual report to Congress—
(1) a list of the twenty foreign countries which generated the largest volume of oceanborne liner cargo for the most recent calendar year in bilateral trade with the United States;
(2) an analysis of conditions described in subsection (b) of this section being investigated or found to exist in foreign countries;
(3) any actions being taken by the Commission to offset such conditions;
(4) any recommendations for additional legislation to offset such conditions; and
(5) a list of petitions filed under subsection (c) of this section that the Commission rejected, and the reasons for each such rejection.
(h) Administration and enforcement of other laws
The actions against foreign carriers authorized in subsections (e) and (f) of this section may be used in the administration and enforcement of section 1712 (b)(6) of this Appendix or section 876 (1)(b) [1] of this Appendix.
(i) Review of rules, regulations, and final orders of Commission; exclusive procedure
Any rule, regulation or final order of the Commission issued under this section shall be reviewable exclusively in the same forum and in the same manner as provided in section 2342 (3)(B) of title 28.


[1] See References in Text note below.

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