The UK’s £10bn shipping industry has called the push toward closer union in Europe “distracting” and told the European Commission (EC) to stop interfering with the sector’s globally produced regulations.
This is the gist of study on the impact UK’s shipping industry published by UK Chamber of Shipping.
The study said that rules devised on a global scale helped to create a level playing field among competing firms. It also said “the UK shipping industry has faced legislative proposals from the EC which reflect little understanding of the industry and how it is regulated.”
The study is designed to help the Prime Minister in determining what should be negotiated and sets out how the single market and EU regulation affects the industry which supports almost 500,000 UK jobs. It also analyses the current position of the UK Government in influencing affairs related to maritime policy in Brussels.
UK Chamber Director of Policy David Balston said: “The shipping industry moves 95% of the UK’s international trade – so we have a clear responsibility to inform the debate as to the role the European Union plays in our economic lives. It is clear that some elements of the European Union work
well, but its mission creep and drive towards ‘ever closer union’ are distracting it from what matters – creating a single market that is competitive in the 21st century."
David added that: “The shipping industry relies on trade, and any mechanism that can encourage free trade is something we instinctively support. But there is no doubt that the impact of some EU regulations places the UK and other Europea
n nations at a competitive disadvantage.”
“Shipping has a global regulator, the International Maritime Organisation, which creates a global level playing field. But when a regional power such as the EU creates its own regulation, then that global level playing field becomes distorted, and major maritime nations such as the UK feel the impact more than most,” he said.