The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules a Portuguese tonnage tax scheme. Under this scheme, maritime transport companies will pay taxes on the basis of the net tonnage (i.e. the size of the shipping fleet) operated in maritime transport activities rather than on the basis of their taxable profits. In addition, for certain more environmentally-friendly ships, companies can achieve an additional reduction of 10% to 20% of the tax base under the tonnage tax scheme. Moreover, a seafarer scheme exempts seafarers employed on vessels that are eligible under the tonnage tax scheme from paying personal income tax. It also allows them to pay reduced rates of contribution for social insurance. Both the tonnage tax and seafarer schemes will remain in force for ten years. More information is available here. The proposal of the scheme (Proposta de Lei 111/XIII) may be found here (in Portuguese).
Category Archives: International Organizations
Ministers of member states of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe have adopted a declaration entitled Inland Navigation in a Global Setting. This adoption took place at the International Ministerial Conference on Inland Water, on 18 April 2018. The declaration sets forth a number of strategic actions to improve the competitive position of inland waterways across the globe with the aim of creating a sustainable future for inland navigation. The declaration stresses, among other things, the need for an appropriate regulatory frameworks, and the role that the United Nations Conventions for the sector can play in developing them. The declaration may be found here and more information on the subject may be found here.
The Initial IMO strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships was adopted, 13 April 2018, by the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), during its 72nd session at IMO Headquarters (London, United Kingdom). Previously, MEPC 70 approved a roadmap for developing a Comprehensive IMO strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships, scheduled for 2023. The initial strategy includes reduction of carbon intensity (at least 40% by 2030, pursuing efforts towards 70% by 2050), and GHG emissions (at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008) for international shipping.
The European Commission (Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 TEU) has published on 19 March 2018 The Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community. The document highlights the progress made in the negotiation round with the UK of 16-19 March 2018, with reference to a previous draft of 28 February 2018 (available here). As stated by the UK’s Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, there has been an agreement on “specific safeguards when it comes to annual fishing negotiations”, adding that through 2020 the UK “will be negotiating fishing opportunities as an independent coastal state, deciding who can access our waters and on what terms”. The Draft Agreement may be found here.
The Legal Service of the Council of the European Union issued its opinion, 1 March 2018, Directive 2009/73/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas and repealing Directive 2003/55/EC – compatibility with UNCLOS, ST 6738 2018 INIT. The opinion states that:
“The Union does not have jurisdiction to apply energy law on unbundling, transparency, third-party access and regulated tariffs, which is unrelated to the economic exploitation of the EEZ, to pipelines crossing the EEZ of Member States. The application of the Gas Directive to the EEZ would be contrary to Articles 56 and 58 of UNCLOS as interpreted by the Court of Justice” (para. 21).
On the 14 February 2018 the Philippines Presidential Spokesperson issued a statement objecting to the submissions by China of names for undersea features in the “Benham Rise”, submitted to the Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN) of the International Hydrographic Organization. The Philippines will not recognize these names. During a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, 26 February 2018, a reason for the objection was the violation of the Philippines’ sovereign rights, resulting from the lack of consent given to undertake the hydrographic surveys at the basis of the submissions.