With global protectionism on the rise European shipowners call for a strong EU external maritime agenda
European shipowners observe with concern that protectionism in world trade is on the rise. That is the main conclusion from a very recent study by the European Commission’s Trade department. The study gives an overview of protectionist tendencies and main trade barriers in some of the EU’s key economic partners. The study shows that 200 new protectionist measures were adopted in the 31 monitored countries while at the same time hardly any protectionist measures hindering trade had been resolved.
“This is a worrying trend for shipping, being the vector of international trade. Any burdens to international trade have a direct negative impact on our sector”, says Patrick Verhoeven, Secretary General of ECSA. “We therefore ask the European Commission to develop a strong EU external maritime agenda, as part of the upcoming maritime transport package in 2017. Such an agenda should encompass free trade agreements as well as structured, bilateral maritime dialogues with key third countries.”
Shipowners hope that ongoing and concluded free trade discussions will be accelerated and ratified as soon as possible, such as CETA, TTIP, TiSA and the EU-Japan FTA. They have proved to create a better and more stable environment for shipping companies and other economic partners. They create more opportunities in terms of trade, growth and jobs for both the EU and the concerned third countries.
Free trade cannot be taken for granted. The EU nevertheless has the tools to ensure EU companies and citizens can enjoy an open trade environment. With the European Commission’s recent strategy “Trade for all”and last week’s adopted “Gobal strategy for the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy” the EU continues to push for an open, cooperative global partnership with third countries.
ECSA’s proposals for the review of EU shipping policy in more detail: