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Is Halliburton The Solution To Portgate?

Word has arisen that the Portgate controversy that would put eight American ports in the hands of a company run by the United Arab Emirates government could be somewhat defused by the intervention of an American company.
Halliburton have been maligned for allegedly profiting from alleged "no-bid" contracts in the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom---at least that is what Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has claimed---but now Senator Schumer has expressed his desire for Halliburton to take over the ports that Dubai Ports World would be operating in the aftermath of their takeover of Peninsular and Orient.
And now Halliburton appear to be the solution toward a potential compromise---and there are at least two precedents.
The 1998 China Ocean Shipping Company takeover of Long Beach port terminals that had been in the hands of the US Navy was finally allowed in 2001 whent Cosco formed the alliance with Stevedoring Services of America to create the joint venture Pacific Maritime Services; Cosco---the Red Chinese government-owned shipping proprietary does hold a 51 percent ownership stake in PMS.
And then there is the president's new helicopter, built in a joint venture last year with Maryland-based Lockheed Martin and the British/Italian conglomerate AgustaWestland.
And what is more, the prospect of an American company buying out some or all of DPW's share in such a prospective deal would positively benefit America which would still own some elements of the shipping terminals...actually they might even bolster their share of ownership compared to what it has been with P&O.
There can be no vice in demanding a review period, however; but in the end Americans should still manage as much of the operations as possible.
I myself would like to see Halliburton or another American company handle ALL of the American port operations involved. It can only benefit American industry.
As much as Americans want bargain basement goods---they still demand certain standards.
And if foreign port ownership integrates significant American partnership as well they may be more open to the idea.
Nonetheless we have seen people who condemn those who oppose the deal as being anti-Arab. Nothing could be further from the truth: Even the commercial attachée to the UAE, Reem AlHashimy, has affirmed that the USA/UAE relationship will not be endangered adversely just because this deal fails.
I would prefer to see Halliburton offer a bid for the ports...and even one for less money to boot. And no they won't need to get rid of union labour...but they should be able to get tax breaks for offering benefits like healthcare and retirement funds.
Now THAT would be a good deal for our ports...and our security...and our country as well. Even President Reagan said, Trust but verify, and we are really emphasising the verify part right now.


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