Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., backs Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proclamation that the state’s ports are open to more imports, but warns that’s just a “short-term” solution to supply chain shortages.
Rubio offered his qualified support Wednesday after DeSantis appealed to stalled shippers to bring their goods to his state, a fix he argued would in the long term move production out of Asia altogether, Florida Politics reported.
“In the short-term, the answer’s yes,” Rubio said in remarks on Fox and Friends.
“I think in the long-term the answer is, one of the things we really should be working on is strategically, and that is bringing more of these production places, the places where they make things, out of Asia, out of China. Either to the United States if possible, but if not we have plenty of countries in the Western Hemisphere that could use these jobs.”
“Imagine if we had a bunch of factories that couldn’t be in America but could be in Honduras or in Guatemala or in Haiti or in the Dominican Republic. It would create jobs,” Rubio added.
“People wouldn’t have to leave these countries.”
This near-shoring solution would put products closer to Florida ports, described by Rubio as “open and ready to go.”
On Tuesday, DeSantis said “we have the capacity and the staffing to handle the imports currently offshore on the West Coast and even eastern ports, such as Savannah,” adding “we also have an incentive package to make it worth your while to be able to bring your business to our ports,” Florida Politics reported.
Jacksonville Port Authority, Port Everglades, Port Tampa Bay, and Port Panama City, have capacity, he said.
“Our seaports are used to operating around the clock,” he noted, WPTV reported. “They’re used to moving cargo for American families, farmers and businesses, and we think that this is a great solution given our capacity for some of the problems you see in other parts of the country.”
Images from the California coast this month have shown multiple container ships docked offshore while waiting to unload their cargo as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the number of workers employed at ports. As a result, delivery of the shipments has been delayed and the cost of many items has spiked.
DeSantis said Florida can help.
“We are going to make sure Americans get their Christmas gifts this season,” DeSantis vowed.
On Monday, DeSantis called for the relocation of production of American goods from Asia, though he suggested that America restore production and not just increase factories in the Western Hemisphere as Rubio suggested, the news outlet reported.
“I think there’s a recognition that we need to reshore some of this stuff here in the United States,” DeSantis said, the news outlet reported, adding: “You remember, when COVID hit, a lot of our medical supplies are created in China, they’re made in China and shipped here. Why would we want so many important things to us be at the whim of China on some of this stuff?”