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Monday, June 25, 2018

European Union News

Several Injured in Grain Silo Blast on the Rhine

An explosion at a grain storage facility in the eastern French city of Strasbourg seriously injured three people on Wednesday morning, emergency services said.It was not immediately clear what caused the blast, which set ablaze the silo located on the banks of the river Rhine, on the border with Germany.The site is owned by agricultural cooperative Comptoir agricole. Local grain brokers said it had a storage capacity of 40,000 tonnes.Comptoir agricole declined to comment.France is the European Union's largest grains producer and exporter.

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Japan Plans Retaliatory Tariffs Against US

Japan is considering tariffs on U.S. exports worth $409 million in retaliation against steel and aluminium import tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump, media reported on Thursday.Such a move would signal Tokyo is ready to go beyond backdoor talks and pleas for exemptions from the U.S. duties.It would also add to a growing rift that Trump's "America First" trade policies is creating among major economies, which threatens to slow global trade and business activity.Japan is the only major U.S. ally that did not receive exemptions from Trump's tariff decision.

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Greek Shipowners Say EU Tax Pressure Could Make Brexit Britain Attractive

Greek shipowners could relocate to Britain after it leaves the European Union if European regulators demand changes to favorable shipping taxes in Greece, a top industry official said on Friday.The European Union has been pressing Greece to end generous tax allowances it grants shipowners, although the government has steered away from imposing heavy taxes on an industry that operates some of the world's biggest vessels."If the European Union threatens us ... obviously we will look at alternative options…

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US Hits EU, Canada and Mexico with Steel, Aluminum Tariffs

The United States on Thursday said it will impose tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, reigniting investor fears of a global trade war as Washington's allies took steps to retaliate against U.S. goods.The move, announced by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a telephone briefing on Thursday, ended months of uncertainty about potential tariff exemptions and suggested a hardening of the Trump administration's approach to trade negotiations.It also sent a chill through financial markets…

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EU Plans to Hit US Imports with Duties from July

The European Union expects to hit U.S. imports with additional duties from July, ratcheting up a transatlantic trade conflict after Washington imposed its own tariffs on incoming EU steel and aluminium.EU members have given broad support to a European Commission plan to set 25 percent duties on up to 2.8 billion euros ($3.3 billion) of U.S. exports in response to what is sees as illegal U.S. action. EU exports that are now subject to U.S. tariffs are worth 6.4 billion euros."The…

Croatia Reopens Bidding for LNG Terminal Capacity

LNG Hrvatska launched a second round of bidding for potential operators of an offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Croatia's northern Adriatic on Friday, after the previous round drew little interest.Last week, Croatia's parliament passed a law to enable the construction of the terminal, part of a European Union drive to diversify away from Russian gas imports.The project, which will be built on the island of Krk will be partly funded by the EU but has been criticised by environmental groups and local councils.LNG Hrvatska…

IMF Real growth rate forecast

2016 brings lowest GDP growth rate since financial crisis began - BIMCO

In terms of global economic recovery, 2016 has been the year with the lowest GDP growth rate since the financial crisis began in 2009. Amongst many landmark events, the slowdown for GDP growth in 2016 stemmed from weaker US activity in the first half of 2016, together with the UK’s referendum vote to leave the European Union, putting “Brexit” on the horizon. Although the International Monetary Fund (IMF) emphasised that the result of the UK referendum had been contained, the world saw an orderly repricing in the financial markets after the initial shock of the Brexit vote.

Brexit Prompts Ship Insurers to Mull New Outposts

U.K.-regulated ship insurers are preparing plans to open new outposts in European Union jurisdictions such as Luxembourg and Cyprus, fearing that Brexit will hinder access to the EU's financial market, industry sources involved say. Britain dominates the global marine insurance market and losing access to specialist Protection and Indemnity (P&I) clubs - marine insurers owned by shipping firms - could further weaken other parts of its multi-billion pound shipping services sector.

Maritime U.K.

Queen Mary 2 to Host Shanghai Trade Mission

Maritime U.K. and the Department of International Trade (DIT) will lead a three-day trade mission to Shanghai at the end of March to promote the U.K. as a center for global maritime business. Attended by senior industry and government leaders from both countries, including Shipping and Ports Minister, John Hayes MP, and Trade Minister, Mark Garnier MP, the mission has been timed to coincide with the RMS Queen Mary 2’s visit to Shanghai during its East Asian tour. The iconic vessel will be used to promote U.K.

Photo: International Maritime Organization (IMO)

International Maritime University Pacts with Latin America

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has announced that International Maritime University of Panama (UMIP) has been selected to host the regional Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre (MTCC) for the Latin America region, under an ambitious project, funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by IMO, to help mitigate the harmful effects of climate change. Under the Global MTTC Network (GMN) project, UMIP will host MTCC-Latin America. The selection of UMIP followed a competitive international tendering process. UMIP joins MTCCs in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.

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.

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)

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: 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.

Shipbreaking Laws to be Tightened by European Union

The European Commission has proposed new rules to ensure that European ships are only recycled in facilities that are safe for workers and environmentally sound. More than 1000 large old commercial ships, such as tankers and container vessels, are recycled for their scrap metal every year, but many European ships end up in substandard facilities on the tidal beaches of South Asia. These facilities mostly lack the environmental protection and safety measures needed to manage the hazardous materials contained in end-of-life ships.

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…

Willima P. Doyle, U.S. Federal Maritime Commissioner

FMC's Doyle to Exit Commission in January, 2018

Today, the Office of Commissioner William P. Doyle of the U.S. “Last week, I notified The President of the United States Donald J. Trump of my intention to leave the Federal Maritime Commission effective January 3, 2017. It has been an honor and a privilege to continue serving in the Trump Administration. I thank President Barack Obama for nominating and appointing me twice as a Commissioner. “I am proud to have worked alongside my fellow Commissioners and with such a dedicated and hardworking Commission staff.

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…

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (Photo: U.S. Department of Commerce)

Commerce Secretary Ross to Speak with EU on Tariffs

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will speak with European Union representatives about lowering tariffs against the United States, President Donald Trump said on Monday. "Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross will be speaking with representatives of the European Union about eliminating the large Tariffs and Barriers they use against the U.S.A. Not fair to our farmers and manufacturers," Trump said in a Twitter post. (Reporting by Doina Chiacu)

Photo: International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Latin America Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre Lanched

The Latin America Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre, part of a global network established under an ambitious International Maritime Organization (IMO)-European Union (EU)  project to further efforts to combat climate change, has been launched in Panama (13 March). The centre, hosted by the Universidad Marítima Internacional de Panamá (UMIP), is one of five such centres established under the GMN project, which is funded by the EU and run by IMO. The centres, in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific regions, act as regional focal points for a wide range of activities.

U.S. Wants Export Caps in Return for Scrapping Tariffs

The United States has set conditions for scrapping its planned punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Europe, German magazine Der Spiegel reported, including capping U.S.-bound exports of the metals at 2017 levels. The European Union has been pushing for talks to avert a trade war since U.S. President Donald Trump announced he would slap tariffs on a raft of high-value European exports in retaliation for alleged steel and aluminium dumping. The conditions named by U.S.

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Trump Tariffs: EU Seeks Permanent Exemption

European Union leaders called on Friday for a temporary exemption from U.S. import duties on steel and aluminium to be made permanent, saying they reserved the right to respond in an "in a proportionate manner" to protect the bloc's interests. The 40-day exemption granted by Washington was like U.S. President Donald Trump "putting a gun to our head", Belgium's prime minister complained. The EU's trade negotiator demanded that the United States drop "artificial deadlines". Trump said on Thursday he would suspend tariffs for the EU…

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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.

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…

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Turkey to Open Investigation into Steel Imports

Turkey will open an investigation into whether iron and non-alloy steel imports harm local producers, the government said on Friday.Producers from the European Union, which Turkey aims to join, will be exempted from the investigation, the government said. The statement was published in the Official Gazette, which Ankara uses to announce new policies.(Reporting by Behiye Selin Taner; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Could US Sanctions Hit Iranian Crude Exports?

Oil prices are at more than three-year highs, driven by an expectation that renewed U.S. sanctions on Tehran over the country's nuclear program will disrupt Iranian crude flows.But without the Europe Union, or Iran's other big crude customers, joining the effort, as the EU did in 2012, it will be harder for Washington to hit Iran where it really hurts.U.S.