European shipowners, represented by the ECSA, expressed their concerns about recent developments on global trade relations. The concerns are raised after the US implemented tariffs on EU, Mexico and Canada, while the result of the G7 meeting last weekend did not offer any solution.
German shipping line Hapag-Lloyd, the world’s fifth largest container company, has stopped one of two feeder services to Iran and will decide on the remaining one before a November 4 deadline imposed by the United States, which has recently reimposed sanctions on Tehran.
EU submitted eight pages at the World Trade Organization setting out 25% tariff increases for the US regarding steel and aluminum. Mexico will impose 15% to 25% tariffs on US steel and some agricultural goods. Canada will impose retaliatory tariffs on £9.6 billion worth of US exports and challenge US steel and aluminium tariffs.
The Arctic Economic Council is concerned about the recent increased protectionism in global trade. Especially, the US announcement about a 25% tariff for imports of steel and 10% tariff on aluminum. Freedom of trade is vital for AEC, to ensure the responsible development of the Arctic region.
The Port of Antwerp port is the biggest steel port in Europe, with approximately 1.1 million tonnes of steel sent to the USA in 2016 and 2017. This amount of exports means that the Antwerp Port is now handling almost 50% of the European steel exports to the USA. During the first quarter of 2018, exports from Antwerp to the US grew by 43% compared to 2017.
The US decided to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from key allies in Europe and North America. Namely, the US will establish a 25% tax on steel and 10% tax on aluminium from the EU, Mexico and Canada. Canada and Mexico immediately retaliated, while the European Union has its own retaliation ready.
According to BIMCO, the dry bulk shipping industry is still on the road to recovery, as demand continues to be more that the fleet growth. In the mean time, scrapping and ordering remain low. The improved situation during 2017 is seen in the freight rate levels during the first four months of 2018.
During the visit of the Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Washington for economic and trade negotiations last week, it was announced that China and the US have agreed not to launch a trade war, reaching consensus on economic issues. The potential implications from a dispute between the world’s two biggest trade forces has recently risen concerns for shipping.
Palau and the US are cooperating in a Compact Agreement of Free Association. As part of this cooperation, the two parties announced a new economic package and which will give a boost to the Palau International Ship Registry. The Republic of Palau and the US discussed the process and arrangement of disbursing the $123.824 million Economic Funding Package recently authorized and appropriated by the U.S. Congress.
Despite the prospect of heavy tariffs on goods from China, imports at the US’ major retail container ports are expected to grow steadily throughout the summer of 2018, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
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