Greece to Go Quiet on Shipping Tax

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

February 2, 2015

(Courtesy:  Piraeus Port Authority)

(Courtesy: Piraeus Port Authority)

The New Leftist government in Greece is expected to avoid tax clash with shipping tycoons, reports Reuters 

Many owners in Greece’s important shipping sector were in fear that the new government led by Syriza party of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will levy higher taxes that the industry can’t afford. Before election the party had promised to take on ship-owners and their generous tax allowances.
Though Syriza has confronted fellow EU governments with radical plans to renegotiate Greece's debts, overturn austerity policies and cancel privatizations, its stand on ship-owners, by contrast, has been decidedly conciliatory.
The Economy Minister George Stathakis, who is in charge of shipping portfolio, confirmed that his government has come to power to solve problems, not to create new ones.
Stathakis, an economist who comes from a shipping family, said during a handover ceremony at the shipping ministry: "There will be dialogue, discussion, and we will look for the best possible solution.”.
Any attempt to impose heavy taxes after decades of virtual fiscal freedom could provoke an exodus of oligarchs and businesses which are major employers, further damaging an economy that has endured years of crisis.
Some owners threatened that they plan to limit their operations in Greece or move out of the country altogether, if the industry is unable to reach a compromise with the government.
Shipping in Greece has successfully weathered a ravaging debt crisis. It is one of the country’s biggest employers, providing about quarter of a million jobs, and makes up 8% of the economic output in a country where unemployment is running close to 30%.
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