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European shipowners call on EC to help strengthen free trade

A rise in trade protectionism worldwide has prompted European shipowners to call on the European Commission to set out a “strong EU external maritime agenda” and help forge stronger free-trade links.

A recent study by the European Commission’s Trade department found that 200 new protectionist measures have been adopted in the EU’s 31 key trade partner countries.

The study also found that few of the protectionist measures that hinder international 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,” Patrick Verhoeven, secretary general of the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA), said in a release today.

“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,” he continued.

Discussions are ongoing over the CETA, TTIP, TiSA and the EU-Japan FTA free-trade agreements, which ECSA hopes will be ratified as soon as possible “to create a better and more stable environment for shipping companies and other economic partners”.

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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