Washington (AFP) – US President Donald Trump on Thursday said he approved of American cruise lines incorporating themselves domestically if they want to access loans from a massive stimulus package.
The US Senate on Wednesday approved a $2.2 trillion spending bill that sets aside $500 billion for large corporations, but stipulates that money can only be given to firms “created or organized in the United States.”
Major US-headquartered cruise lines are registered in countries with more lenient tax, labor and safety laws like Liberia, where Royal Caribbean is incorporated, and Panama, where Carnival is registered.
Speaking at a press conference, Trump said of cruise lines, “I do like the concept of perhaps coming in and registering here.”
“It’s very tough to make a loan to a company when they’re based in a different country,” the president said.
Some of the first extensive outbreaks of COVID-19 occurred on cruise ships, forcing them to quarantine at ports and the United States to scramble to repatriate American passengers.
Trump announced on March 13 that major cruise lines would suspend trips from US ports for 30 days in response to the pandemic.