Norwegian Shipowners Seek Tax Breaks

Wednesday, June 01, 2005
NORWEGIAN shipowners are increasingly looking to move their business to Singapore, according to international maritime law firm Wikborg Rein. "Recent years have seen a growing number of Norwegian owners show an interest in moving their business to Singapore due to the stable political environment and strong economic links with China, India and the ASEAN countries," says Are Zachariassen, partner at Wikborg Rein. "Add to this a number of mechanisms which, when combined, may enable Norwegian shipping investors in Singapore to receive tax-free profits from shipping and it's not hard to see why Singapore has become so favourable." Following recently proposed changes to the Norwegian tonnage tax system, this trend is expected to continue. Under the proposals, vessels involved in the petrochemical industry will no longer qualify for the Norwegian tonnage tax scheme. Meanwhile, in Singapore, new regulations recently introduced mean that vessels such as drillships, jack-ups and semi-submersible units are permitted to fly the Singapore flag for the first time. Singapore is already home to many leading shipping companies and service providers to the shipping industry. According to Stephen Fordham who heads up Wikborg Rein's office in Singapore, this only serves to make it even more attractive.

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