In it MEPs acknowledge the crucial role shipping plays as the lynchpin of global trade and call for improved access to third-countries. MEPs also ask the parties to address and remove current restrictions on maritime transport services and to strive for reciprocity. EU companies are very often hindered in accessing certain market segments abroad, which in the EU, in contrast, are open to foreign companies.
‘We are very pleased with the references to shipping and to the need to liberalise foreign markets, do away with protectionist measures and function on the basis of reciprocity’ said Patrick Verhoeven, ECSA Secretary General.
Commenting on the vote, ECSA Director Trade and Shipping Policy Lieselot Marinus said: ‘The text contains some very good recommendations and we share the call for an ambitious chapter on maritime transport services. We hope TiSA will set the scene at the global level and provide needed confidence and legal certainty to shipowners that are by default operating globally’.
Negotiations for a Trade in Services Agreement started in 2013 against a background of stalled discussions in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Doha talks. It focuses on finding global common rules in the services sectors. There are 23 parties taking involved in the TiSA negotiations: Australia; Canada; Chile; Taiwan; Colombia; Costa Rica; the EU; Hong Kong; Iceland; Israel; Japan; Liechtenstein; Mauritius; Mexico; New Zealand; Norway; Pakistan; Panama; Peru; South Korea; Switzerland; Turkey; and the USA. ECSA has been supporting these negotiations from the start, hoping a TiSA agreement will eventually lead to a global agreement in the WTO.
More on ECSA’s position on TiSA can be found here