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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

European Union News

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EU Demands Compensation for US Steel Tariffs

The European Union is seeking compensation from the United States for U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium, despite Washington's assertion that they are not subject to World Trade Organization rules, a WTO filing showed on Monday. In a step already taken by China, the EU said it did not accept the "national security" justification for the U.S. tariffs but said they had been imposed just to protect U.S. industry. "Notwithstanding the United States' characterisation of these measures as security measures, they are in essence safeguard measures," the EU statement said.

Photo: European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA)

European Shipowners Welcome EU Trade Agreements with Japan, Singapore

The European Commission presented trade agreements with Japan and Singapore to the Council to eventually be adopted. The European shipowners are very pleased that the first step towards the conclusion of these agreements has been taken. “With Japan and Singapore agreements Europe sends a strong message to the world in support of fair and regulated trade”, said European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) Secretary General Martin Dorsman. The agreement with Japan is the biggest bilateral trade partnership ever negotiated by the European Union.

Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive. Photo: British Ports Association

British Ports Association Writes to PM on Brexit Concerns

The British Ports Association has written to the Prime Minister calling for funding guarantees for any new border facilities and digital infrastructure, which may be needed after the UK leaves the European Union. There are concerns from the industry that those ports with EU traffic will need to provide new facilities and digital infrastructure for government officials to carry out customs and other border checks. In the letter, Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive of the British…

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © zhu defing)

Kemp: Trade Restrictions puts World Economy at Risk

Trade and investment restrictions are proliferating around the world, driven by a combination of security concerns and protectionist pressures. In each instance, policymakers can usually cite a justification of why trade and investment restrictions are necessary. But taken together, a thickening web of restrictions on cross-border transactions is imposing a growing burden on business as well as complicating supply chains. The United States and China have threatened to hit each…

© milangonda / Adobe Stock

EU Suspects Tax Fraud at China's New Gateway to Europe

European Union and Italian authorities are investigating suspected wide-scale tax fraud by Chinese criminal gangs importing goods via Greece’s largest port of Piraeus, a trade gateway between China and Europe, officials said.“The VAT is completely evaded, with enormous damage to the national tax authorities and to the community,” Fabio Botto, of the Italian Central Anti-fraud Office’s special investigative unit, said in an interview.He said the suspected scam at Piraeus, part of China’s vast Belt and Road infrastructure project…

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IMO Reaches Deal to Cut CO2 Emissions

The United Nations shipping agency reached an agreement on Friday to cut carbon emissions, following years of slow progress. The compromise plan, which will cut emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050 compared with 2008 levels, fell short of more ambitious targets. Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), said the adoption of the strategy "would allow future IMO work on climate change to be rooted in a solid basis". The IMO said it would also be pursuing efforts towards phasing out CO2 emissions entirely.

EU Adopts New Arctic Policy

The High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission have adopted a policy proposal that will guide the actions of the European Union in the Arctic region. The European Union will step up its existing action and engagement in the region with 39 actions focusing on climate change, environmental protection, sustainable development and international cooperation. The particular importance of research, science and innovation is reflected across these priority areas.

Photo: ACI

Singapore to Host Ship Recycling Summit

ACI’s Ship Recycling Summit will take place October 2014 in Singapore, allowing shipowners, brokers, cash buyers, steel merchants and ship breaking yards to come together in an informal setting to discuss the challenges that they each face in meeting the Hong Kong convention requirements and the challenges brought about by new EU regulation. This unique forum also focuses on the latest issues affecting the industry such as a global push for more environmentally sound ship breaking and recycling. •Turkey: Europe’s Answer to Green Ship Recycling?

Spain Approves Port Reform Proposal

Spain's lower house of parliament narrowly passed a long-delayed reform of port operations on Thursday, bringing regulation closer to that of the European Union though the overhaul has been slammed by unions which have threatened widespread strikes.   The decree, which was rejected the first time it was given to legislators in March, aims to liberalise hiring in a sector strictly controlled by the unions and comes after months of fines by the EU for not adhering to European regulation.     (Reporting by Paul Day, Editing by Sarah White)

Federica Mogherini, EU foreign policy chief. Pic by European External Action Service

EU Asks UN for Help with Mediterranean Migrant Crisis

The European Union seeks U.N. authorization to deploy military force in the Mediterranean to stop migrant smugglers. EU foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini has pleaded for UN help to dismantle criminal groups smuggling migrants into the European Union. According to AFP, Mogherini addressed the UN Security Council as it prepares to endorse a controversial European Union plan aimed at stemming a record tide of refugees making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean. She said her first priority is to save lives and prevent further loss of lives at sea.

File Photo: European Sea Ports Organisation

EU Ports Stress on Open Investment Environment

European Commission published a Proposal for a Regulation establishing a framework for screening of foreign direct investments into the European Union and a Communication entitled “Welcoming foreign direct Investment while Protecting Essential Interests” on 13 September 2017. The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) welcomes the fact that the Commission proposal is stressing the importance of an open investment environment. The port sector is capital intensive. Over the last decades ports in Europe have benefitted from substantial investment from outside the European Union…

Busan Port. Photo Credit: Busan Port Authority

Maersk Taps into Asian Growth with New Route

As Europe’s economic slowdown reshapes global trade patterns, Maersk Line taps into Asian growth by starting a new direct route to South Korea. A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S began shipping from the port of Gothenburg, Scandinavia’s largest, to Busan, the world’s fifth-busiest port. The route will support growing Asian demand for European imports almost two years after Korea and the European Union signed a free-trade agreement, reports Bloomberg. Maersk estimates trade to Asia’s growth economies will increase this year as shipments to crisis-stricken Europe decline. Source: Bloomberg  

Image by UK Chamber of Shipping

Shippers call for EU to Stop Over Regulation

The UK’s £10bn shipping industry has called the push toward closer union in Europe “distracting” and told the European Commission (EC) to stop interfering with the sector’s globally produced regulations. This is the gist of study on the impact UK’s shipping industry published by UK Chamber of Shipping. The study said that rules devised on a global scale helped to create a level playing field among competing firms. The study is designed to help the Prime Minister in determining…

President Barack Obama

Obama says to Anticipate Refugee Problems for Decades

  Citing the migrant crisis in the European Union, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday that the world should expect refugee problems for decades. Speaking at a town hall event with U.S. military members, Obama said military conflicts and climate change will contribute to refugee crises. (Reporting by Julia Edwards; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Piracy in Somali Basin Surges

According to a May 14 report from the Xinhua News Agency, The European Union (EU) naval force protecting shipping off Somalia said that the number of pirate ships operating between the Seychelles and the Somali coast has skyrocketed in the last three months. The EU force, along with NATO and others, has interrupted and dismantled over 60 pirate groups and processed roughly 400 suspected pirates in the last 12 weeks alone -- three times the number of piracy groups recorded last year according to an EU NAVFOR official. (Source: Xinhua News Agency)

EU NAVFOR Develops Communication Technology

The British Royal Navy-led EU NAVFOR, the European Union’s first naval task force assembled to protect international shipping in the waters off Somalia, has partnered with IT service company Polymorph to develop a collaboration tool for its vessels. The tool will be designed to coordinate anti-piracy operations off the Somali coast and protect United Nations World Food Program (WFP) vessels delivering food to the region. The system will feature a single framework for communication and document exchange.

Map: European Union

EU Ministers Agree on TEN-T

The EU transport ministers convened at the first day of the TEN-T Days in the Van Nelle Factory in Rotterdam. They discussed the process of implementing the Trans-European Transport Network: new challenges and opportunities, new technologies and mobility patterns for passengers, as well as digitalization and automation of freight transport. EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said, "Only days after we allocated €6.7 billion to priority projects as part of the Connecting Europe Facility, the TEN-T Days offer another opportunity to mobilise funding for transport investments.

The EU Commission is composed of the College of Commissioners of 28 members, including the President and Vice-Presidents. Photo: European Commission

EU Leads the Way with Ambitious Action for Cleaner and Safer Seas

At the ongoing EU-hosted Our Ocean conference in Malta (5-6 October), the European Union has committed to 36 tangible actions to foster healthier, cleaner, safer and more secure seas. Amounting to over €550 million and involving activities worldwide, the announcements underline the EU's determination to improve the situation of the seas and send a positive signal of encouragement to the rest of the world – governments and private sector alike - to step up and tackle the growing ocean challenges…

US, EU, China Maritime Reps Meet in Brussels

Maritime summit between European Union, U.S. Representatives from the maritime regulatory authorities of the European Union, the People’s Republic of China and the United States met today in Brussels to discuss antitrust and regulatory issues in maritime transport, confirming a renewed intention to cooperate on these matters. Hosted by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Competition, this was the second official meeting between the three authorities, following the first maritime regulatory summit that took place in Washington in December 2013.

U.S. Chargé d'Affaires in Budapest André Goodfriend

U.S. Ready to Help Hungary Build Energy Independence

The United States is willing to help Hungary and other European countries build energy infrastructure to reduce its dependence on Russian oil and gas, U.S. Chargé d'Affaires in Budapest André Goodfriend has told Nepszava newspaper. "Relying on Russian sources threatens energy independence," Goodfriend told Nepszava in an interview published on Saturday. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has drawn criticism from Western governments for trying to secure supplies of energy and trade for Hungary by doing deals with Moscow.

Matiss Backs European Shipping Week

The Presidency of the Council of the European Union has granted official patronage to the forthcoming European Shipping Week (ESW) which will be held in Brussels during March 2‐6, 2015. This support joins the European Parliament’s official patronage by its President, Martin Schulz, and that of the European Commission. In a letter to Patrick Verhoeven, Secretary General of the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA), Anrijs Matiss, Latvian Minister of Transport, gave his full support to the week-long event.

Courtesy UK Chamber of Shipping

Post-Brexit: UK Chamber Calls for ‘Free Trade Commission’

The UK Chamber of Shipping remained neutral on the question of the UK’s membership of the EU but we recognise the decision of the British people. The chamber has always argued that the shipping industry is resilient by its nature. Shipping moves 95% of the UK’s international trade and we don’t see that changing. We may now be beginning the process of leaving the European Union, but we are still an island nation that has to make its way in the world through buying and selling, and the shipping industry is here for that very purpose. What we need now are cool heads.

New European Regs on Ship Recycling

The new European Regulation on ship recycling (Regulation (EU) No 1257/2013) was published on December 10, 2013 in the Official Journal of the European Union and it will enter into force on December 30, 2013. In view of the international importance of the new Regulation GMS followed very closely and contributed advice towards its development. It is paramount that the implementation of the new Regulation by the European Commission in the next two years will be guided by realism and a clear understanding of the dynamics of the industry…

Drydocks World yard picture Photo Drydock World

Drydocks World Conforms to FPC under EU Regulation

Drydocks World, the international service provider to the shipping, offshore, oil, gas and energy sectors has successfully been certified to European Standards EN 1090 – 1 and EN 1090-2. The certification program is part of the European Union’s Construction Products Regulation CPR 305/2011. Drydocks World’s main yard activities undertaken in its facility are found to be complying with Factory Production Control (FPC) requirements by the auditing body. The scope of the certification includes Corrosion Protected Load Bearing Steel Structures…

Photo: IDC

European Dockworkers to Hold Two-hour Strike

The International Dockworkers Council (IDC) has called a Europe-wide port stoppage in support of the conflict faced by Spanish dockers and in opposition to the policies of the European Commission (EC). Once the conflict in Spain has been resolved, the IDC said it expects the EC to reconvene the European Commission Sectorial Social Dialogue Committee, which the IDC will re-join in order to promote new changes. The IDC said it demands that International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions 137 and 152 be ratified and complied with by all member states of the European Union.

Image: National Iranian Tanker Company

Green Signal for Iranian Tankers in European Ports

The Mehr News Agency reports that the British Lloyd's Register Group has canceled one sanction against Iran’s oil industry by issuing certificates for commute of Iranian oil tankers to the ports and oil terminals of European Union. The managing director of National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) Ali Akbar Safaei stated about the official removal of the first sanction on Iran’s oil industry in the field of marine transport of crude oil and petroleum products. “Iranian tankers will now travel under the license of British Lloyds international classification institution,”he said.