In all the furor over the DP World takeover of P&O and as a result some of their port assets in America, a remarkable amount of misinformation, misrepresentations and outright lies are being circulated by those who think they can gain political advantage from the situation. It's pure fearmongering for political advantage with virtually no substance to support it. Here are some of the claims and why they lack substance.
This Was a 'Secret' Deal
Except for the multiple press releases from the companies involved and the coverage in the business press of the bidding war for P&O which has been going on since October of last year with no one in the political world or the media paying any attention.
The Deal Was 'Rushed' Through
Except that the bidding and negotiating on this deal has been going on since last fall as a public business transaction.
The Deal Was Given Special Treatment
Except that in fact the P&O purchase was reviewed by multiple US government agencies including the Coast Guard , the National Security Council, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Treasury Department's Committee on Foreign Investments. In addition DP World was cleared by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), a US government panel with representatives from 12 agencies which assesses security risks associated with foreign companies buying or investing in the US. They said that they had "thoroughly reviewed the potential transaction and concluded they had no objection."
There Was No 45-Day Review
Except that a 45-day review is only required if one of the investigating agencies involved in clearing the deal requests one and in this case after doing their own reviews of the deal none of them raised any concerns so a 45 day review was not required.
DP World is 'Taking Over Control' of Our Ports
Except that the reality is that they are only gaining control of individual freight terminals (docks and warehouses) in each of the ports, not the ports themselves, and each of those ports has multiple freight terminals under control of many different companies. The ports are usually actually owned and managed by the cities where they are located.
Arabs Will Control Security in Our Ports
Except that actual security is going to continue to be handled by the US Customs Service, Homeland Security, the Coast Guard and the Port Authorities which actually control the ports. Plus the security procedures for the ports are clearly delineated by the Maritime Transportation Security Act and the International Ship and Ports Authority Codes, both enacted after 9/11 to increase port security. What's more, despite mostly Arab ownership of the company, the actual management of the company is under COO Edward Bilkey who is an American. Former US Customs Commissioner Robert Bonner commented "The fear-mongering is that a bunch of Middle Easterners are going to come over and work on the docks, and nothing is farther [from] the truth."
Arabs Will Be Taking American Jobs
Except that at this time there is not a single American company which runs port freight terminals or is interested in taking these terminals over, and by contract DP World will have to continue to employ the unionized American employees P&O was using in these ports. Plus P&O itself is a British company in the first place, so these freight terminals were already not being run by Americans.
DP World is a Security Risk
Except that the company has never had a single security complaint against it, and runs ports all over the world with no problems. Security experts seem to agree that DP World poses no greater security risk than any other company which invests in freight terminals around the world.
DP World is a Problem Because It's a Government-Run Company
Except that the Chinese and Singaporean companies which already run many of our ports are also owned by their respective governments and no questions are being raised about them, which is a bit troubling since the single largest manager of port facilities in the United States is currently the Chinese Red Army and they're way more of a potential threat than the UAE is.
The UAE Supports Terrorism
Except that since 9/11 they have been one of our strongest supporters in the War on Terror, have allowed us to base troops on their land and ships in their ports, and have allowed us to launch air attacks directly against neighboring Arab countries from those bases, as well as supporting us in covert operations.
The President Should Have Known About the Deal
Except that this is such a routine business transaction that there's no reason that anyone would have brought it to the attention of the President. That's why the government is full of bureaucrats whose job it is to oversee routine things like this so the President doesn't have to micromanage every aspect of our lives. Many other deals like this have gone through since 9/11 without ever involving the President directly.
What we're dealing with here is a classic example of political grandstanding. This was from the very beginning a public, unremarkable business transaction like many others which had gone before. No one was paying much attention to it because there was nothing at all controversial about it. No one raised security concerns because there were none. No one brought it to the President's attention because it was a trivial business deal which there was no reason to involve him in. Like many similar deals since 9/11 it would have passed unnoticed by anyone outside the agencies and businesses involved, had not a few members of Congress like Hillary Clinton seen an opportunity to make a big political issue out of it and practice some fearmongering to advance their image as tough on terror going into the next elections.