FMC Seeks Comment on China Matter

Thursday, January 22, 2004
FMC considered the petitions of three Chinese controlled carriers for relief from the 30-day waiting requirement for reduction of tariff rates of the Controlled Carrier Act (Petition Nos. P3-99, P4-03 and P6-03). As part of its deliberations, the Commission considered letters from the U.S. Maritime Administrator and the Under Secretary of State for Business, Economics and Agricultural Affairs that discuss commitments made in the recently-concluded bilateral Maritime Agreement between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China. The Administrator and the Under Secretary urge the Commission to favorably consider the Petitions. The Administrator also indicates that he will encourage U.S. carriers and shippers to support them. To ensure that all interested persons have the opportunity to make their views known, the Commission will accept comments until February 23, 2004. The Commission will schedule a meeting to consider the Petitions and comments promptly thereafter. FMC Chairman Steven R. Blust today said, “I look forward to the swift conclusion of these proceedings.”

As requested by the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, Inc. (“NCBFAA”) in its Petition No. P10-03, the Commission will issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPR”) entitled Optional Rider for Proof of Additional NVOCC Financial Responsibility. The NPR proposes changes to the Commission’s rules to allow licensed NVOCCs, at their option, to file proof of additional financial responsibility as an alternative to meet PRC requirements for deposit of at least $96,000 in a Chinese bank. Chairman Blust remarked: “We hope the action proposed today in response to NCBFAA’s request will make it less burdensome for U.S. NVOCCs to do business in China, consistent with commitments made in connection with the recently-signed U.S.-China bilateral Maritime Agreement.”

The Commission discussed Docket No. 98-14, Shipping Restrictions, Requirements and Practices of the People’s Republic of China, and determined that it would take up the matter again when further information is available regarding changes in conditions anticipated as a result of the U.S.-China bilateral Maritime Agreement. (Source: HK Law)

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