Italy has also pledged to a number of changes to its scheme to avoid undue competition distortion as well as to prevent any discrimination between shipping companies and registries of different European Economic Area (EEA) States.
Under the “International Registry” scheme, shipping companies are granted a corporate tax reduction and other benefits. Following the changes to which Italy has committed, the special corporate tax reduction for shipping companies will be applied to a shipping company's:
- Core revenues from shipping activities, such as cargo and passenger transport;
- Certain ancillary revenues that are closely connected to shipping activities (capped at a maximum of 50% of a ship's operating revenues);
- Revenues from towage and dredging, subject to certain conditions;
- Bareboat charter-out and time and/or voyage charter-in activities, subject to a number of conditions.
The Italian measure requires that if a shipping company wants to benefit from the “International Registry” regime, at least a large part of its fleet flies the flag of an EU or EEA State.
In this respect, the Italian authorities have committed to extend the benefits of the scheme to all eligible ships that fly an EEA flag. This will prevent any discrimination between shipping companies and registries of different EEA States and preserve internal market rules on freedom of establishment.
The Commission assessed the amended measures under EU State aid rules, in particular its Guidelines on State aid to maritime transport. It concluded that, in light of commitments to which Italy will have to comply within seven months from the adoption of the Commission decision, the Italian scheme is in line with EU State aid rules.
On this basis, the Commission approved the Italian scheme and its prolongation until 2023 under EU State aid rules.