As global world trade protectionism is on the rise, European shipowners have called for a strong EU external maritime agenda, according to a study by the European Commission’s Trade department.
The study, which gives an overview of protectionist tendencies and main trade barriers in some of the EU’s key economic partners, shows that 200 new protectionist measures were adopted in the 31 monitored countries while at the same time hardly any protectionist measures hindering 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 European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA), said.
“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 added.
According to ECSA, shipowners hope that ongoing and concluded free trade discussions will be accelerated and ratified as soon as possible, such as CETA, TTIP, TiSA and the EU-Japan FTA.
They have proved to create a better and more stable environment for shipping companies and other economic partners, as well as create more opportunities in terms of trade, growth and jobs for both the EU and the concerned third countries, ECSA added.