Beijing mulls protectionist moves

Shanghai: The transport ministry is mulling restrictions on foreigners shipping Chinese cargoes as well as giving tax benefits to local owners, Shanghai Shipping Exchange president Zhang Ye said at the recent Lujiazui Forum in Shanghai.
The ministry may require Chinese cargo be transported only by domestic shipping companies, Zhang said in an interview at the Lujiazui Forum in Shanghai. The transport and finance ministries are also discussing tax benefits for the industry, he said.
"Those are temporary measures by the government," Zhang said, as the industry faces a "very bad situation".
"They are against market rules from a long-term perspective, but acceptable on a temporary basis," he said.
He reckoned tax policy changes could happen “very soon”.

Moreover, Zhang hinted Beijing was contemplating forcing Chinese owners to order their ships only at local shipyards.

Zhang’s remarkably honest assessment of the state of shipping in the nation also turned to the progress, or lack thereof, in making Shanghai an international maritime centre.

"Shanghai's supporting efforts for building the Shanghai shipping centre is not enough,” he said. “Shanghai needs a mechanism that integrates all the resources in the shipping industry."

For more on the desperate plight of local owners, check our lead story from earlier in the day here. [02/07/12]

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