Appeal of SEA Europe and IndustriAll to safeguard the competitiveness of the European shipbuilding industry
It calls for measures to counter unfair competition, a sectoral approach to safeguard the sector, initiatives to stimulate domestic demand and increased investment
July 4, 2022
"With this joint statement - explained Tytgat - industry and workers want to send a strong message to the policy makers, reminding them that that of technologies maritime is a strategic and central sector with respect to Europe's maritime autonomy and resilience'. 'If today we do not ensure an adequate framework to maintain a sector of maritime technologies strong and competitive in Europe - warned the Secretary General of SEA Europe - the continent with the largest coastal area and the largest market internal of the world will become entirely dependent on countries third parties for the development of our ships, offshore facilities and maritime technologies, and we will lose an industry that provides a million jobs with enormous potential to increase its market share and to create jobs in the coming years thanks to the green and digital transition».
In the document SEA Europe and IndustriAll recall that the value aggregate of production of the European technology industry maritime is 128.6 billion euros and that the sector is strategic for the defence and maritime independence of Europe and, in particular, it is vital for many coastal regions throughout the world. Europe. The two organizations highlight that, therefore, the huge decline in new orders to the sector, with a decrease that is equal to -90% in terms of tons of compensated gross tonnage, and the Europe's large dependence on some niche markets of types of ships with high complexity, continue to be a major concern for the social partners Europeans, as clearly evidenced during the crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, according to SEA Europe and IndustriAll, given that the demand for cruise ships is unlikely, which is a crucial sector for the shipbuilding industry European, increases before 2030, in order to ensure activity of the shipyards and the workplace of the workers in the sector is it is urgently necessary to plan a diversification of the production and investments in areas such as retrofitting, green technologies and offshore renewable energy.
In the document SEA Europe and IndustriAll also highlight that if the European shipbuilding industry has charged considerably the impact of the crisis, exacerbated by Russia's armed aggression ukraine, in other leading navalmeccanica nations the negative effect was much more contained as to example in China, where new orders in terms of tslc are decreased by -16%, and in South Korea, where orders are dropped by -19%, nations that, among other things, have recovered with remarkable speed thanks also to consistent measures of stimulus supported by the State. The two European organisations underline how these stimulus packages, which have been added State aid already present in those nations, continue to seriously distort competition to the detriment of the Europe's competitiveness and explain why the shipowners, including European ones, order new ships, including those ecological, in Asia instead of in Europe.
Unfortunately - note SEA Europe and IndustriAll - in Europe the industry has not received the same support and continues to be at a competitive disadvantage, with additional problems that weigh on European shipyards, which do not benefit from trade defence instruments such as measures countervailing and anti-dumping measures, since the vessels are not important in the customs territory of the European Union. Unfortunately - observe the two organizations - there is also the obvious risk that the Commission's proposal on foreign subsidies distorting the internal market - specify SEA Europe and IndustriAll referring to the proposal adopted by the Commission European on 5 May 2021 - despite good intentions does not offer satisfactory solutions or useful aid to restore the Europe's competitiveness.
For the protection of the European shipbuilding industry, SEA Europe and IndustriAll call for a sectoral approach to protect the sector and save its jobs through action of the EU aimed at standardising the conditions of competition at comprehensive, to ensure fair State aid and to provide the sector with European trade defence instruments.
They also call for action to stimulate domestic demand. and to safeguard jobs in Europe, stimulus - they specify SEA Europe and IndustriAll - which is indispensable for ensure the existence of European shipyards and the work of their highly qualified employees. This, in the opinion of the two organizations, could be implemented with a dedicated program of renewal of fleets with the introduction of innovative zero-engine ships emissions, retrofitting of ships already in service and construction of ships and ecological technologies, as well as through the continuation of the stimulus to research and development.
For SEA Europe and IndustriAll, these initiatives should be supported by an increase in investment in the non-sector only in the field of research and development, but also for ensure greater support for retraining and upskilling, in particular 'green' skills and digital, as well as an increase in investment in infrastructure to ensure that shipyards can decarbonise and that green energy is made available to ships. In addition, for the two organizations, the green and digital transition must not leave anyone behind, no construction site, no region and no workers, and social dialogue must be respected throughout this phase.
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