Shipping Policy

Seaborne trade has thrived as a result of free access to trades without flag discrimination, unilateral, bilateral or regional cargo reservation or other forms of protectionism.

Protectionist measures - the easy solution in times of crisis – should be avoided as they would in any case further delay a return to healthy economies. Efforts should presently be stepped up to avoid protectionist measures. Such policies may serve immediate expediencies but will obstruct the efficient supply of shipping services on a world-wide basis, while the risk of a “domino effect”, whereby other countries resort to similar measures may create a spiral of retaliatory behaviour.

Several states advocate a number of measures of a trade restrictive character, with border measures such as import licences, increased tariff duties, as well as more burdensome pre-shipment inspections. In a protectionist climate that is presently a growing feature internationally, it is important that shipping remains vigilant against protectionism which will damage free trade in international shipping markets.

The EU’s external policy of establishing Free Trade Agreements with mutually advantageous maritime clauses with third countries is crucial and should be further enhanced.

The UGS firmly believes that the EU, with active support from its member states, and respecting the EU acquis (e.g. EU Regulation 4055/1986) that has been developed over the last 60 years in the maritime transport domain, should be decisive and ambitious when negotiating terms related to shipping in its Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). Such terms should be upheld, when the EU negotiates bilateral FTAs, as well as multilateral Agreements (e.g. TiSA).

Since the EU faces significant challenges today, the need to maintain and further liberalize the provision of maritime services, aiming at opening up maritime markets and providing equal access to cargoes, is more essential than ever before, as this will help achieve and maintain a global level playing field for EU shipping facing fierce competition from third countries.