European shipowners and shipbuilders represented by ECSA and SEA Europe respectively have issued a joint statement on the effect of subsidies by South Korea to its builders and ship operators.
The statement comes as the EU and South Korea are discussing the South Korean shipping and shipbuilding state subsidies measures in the context of the EU - South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) implementation.
In the statement, SEA Europe and ECSA said they highly welcome these discussions, as European shipbuilding and maritime equipment industry and European shipowners, need a global level playing field and benefit from fair trade and competition as well as open markets.
SEA Europe and ECSA have previously voiced serious concerns about the negative impact of recent unsustainable, unfair and economically unsound trade-distorting rules in the shipbuilding and shipping industry. These, inter alia, jeopardise the recovery path of the global market towards a healthier business environment and more profitability.
The EU talks come after the EU notified the WTO in late November that it wants to join Japan’s consultations with South Korea on measures adopted by South Korea that affect trade in commercial vessels. Japan considers that certain measures taken by South Korea related to state aid measures, are inconsistent with its obligations under the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (ASCM) and the GATT 1994.
SEA Europe and ECSA are concerned with any interference into market forces through unfair state aid measures and cargo reservation schemes. The actions launched by the EU and Japan now confirm these concerns. Both associations stand united in upholding the need for governments to fully respect and abide by their international obligations.