President Donald Trump said cruise line companies should change their official homes to the U.S. if they want to get federal loans.
Trump has been saying for several days that cruise lines would likely be beneficiaries of the $2 trillion federal stimulus package working its way through Congress. But the version passed by the Senate excludes businesses that aren't domiciled in the U.S. or whose employees are mostly outside the country. Trump said there were senators who objected to including cruise lines for those reasons.
"There were some senators that didn't want to do anything," Trump said at a White House news conference Thursday. "I do like the concept of perhaps coming and registering here. It's very tough to make a loan to a company when they're based in a different country."
Ship operators have long flown foreign flags -- to avoid some domestic regulation and taxes. While the big three cruise-line operators all have their headquarters in Miami, Carnival Corp. is registered in Panama, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. in Liberia and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. in Bermuda. None of them pay U.S. income taxes.
Still, Trump left the door open for some kind of aid.
"Look it's a big business, it's a great business, it's a business that employs a tremendous number of people outside of the ship itself," the president said. "We're going work very hard on the cruise line business, and we're going to try and work something out."
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