At the end of a three-day long negotiation, the EU and China delegations have reached an agreement on maritime transport, based on the principles of freedom to provide services, free access to cargoes, and cross-trades, unrestricted access to an non-discriminatory treatment in the use of ports. It also contains provisions for auxiliary services as well as wider range of commercial maritime questions. This agreement follows the strong commitments taken by the Vice-President of the European Commission Loyola de Palacio and the Chinese minister of Communication Huang Zhendong, in June 2001 in Beijing and September 2001 in Brussels. Being the first maritime agreement concluded at European level, it will consolidate, and further promote in a legally binding framework, the participation of EU operators in international trade with China in a way which would allow for free access to cargoes and the development of a free and fair competition. The EU-China draft agreement must now be submitted to the approval of their respective authorities.
“ This is a very important step ahead which will benefit to all service providers, both European and Chinese, and it is a special added-value to the China's recent accession to the World Trade Organisation
(WTO) “said Loyola de Palacio, European Commission vice-president in charge of Transport and Energy. “ It shows how far we can go when the EU Member States act all together» she emphasised.”
Following meetings between the European Commission Vice President, Loyola de Palacio, and the Chinese Minister of Communications Huang Zhendong, in June 2001 in Beijing and in September 2001 in Brussels, negotiations for the conclusion of an EU-China Agreement on Maritime Transport were initiated in Brussels on 13 and 14 September 2001, on the basis of a mandate given by the Council of Ministers.
The EU-China Draft Agreement covers the provisions of maritime cargo transport operations carried out to and from China, and to and from the European Community, as well as to and from the European Community and China on the one hand and third countries on the other. It is based on the principles of freedom to provide maritime transport services, free access to cargoes, and cross-trades, unrestricted access to an non-discriminatory treatment in the use of ports and auxiliary services. It also covers a wider range of commercial maritime questions such as the commercial presence of shipping company, logistics services, the employment of key personnel, payments and capital movement. It covers all aspects of door to door services and also the movement of equipment, such as empty containers.
It also provides for a continuous co-operation between the two parties in areas such as maritime safety