EU ship-owners call for China access

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The 11th Implementation Meeting of the China-EU maritime transport agreement was held in Haikou, China recently to discuss shipping policy developments in China and Europe.

The agenda featured a discussion on the issues raised by the Chinese and EU shipping industries.

Official delegations consisted of representatives of the Chinese Ministry of Transport, the Directorate-General for Transport and Mobility of the European Commission and EU Member States.

Industry delegations were headed by the China Shipowners' Association and the European Community Shipowners Association (ECSA).

Patrick Verhoeven, Secretary General of ECSA said: “The key point for European ship-owners in these maritime talks is to open up market access barriers for international shipping. The Chinese government started last year a promising free trade zone pilot project in Shanghai which is expected to extend to other ports.

“But foreign-owned shipping companies are still not permitted to transport international cargo between Chinese ports. Only vessels that are ultimately owned by a Chinese company can do so, even if they fly a foreign flag. Lifting this discriminatory restriction will also benefit China, as it will not only bring increased revenue and more efficient utilisation of Chinese ports but also reduce transit times and transportation costs to and from the country.”

European ship-owners also raised issues relating to taxation, trade practices, port charges, navigational rules and vessel traffic services, as well as procedures for exit and transit visas.

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