ICS URGES NZ TO RETAIN ANTI TRUST IMMUNITY FOR LINER TRADES

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The International Chamber of Shipping has urged the New Zealand Government to consider the benefit of current practices in other parts of the world when it considers making changes to its maritime competition regime.

In a paper submitted to the New Zealand Productivity Commission, ICS comments: “We believe that New Zealand should take full account of the recognition given by other competition authorities to the benefits of current practices, such as liner conferences and consortia, in terms of efficiency of world trade, and the implications for national economies and the interests of consumers. We respectfully suggest that this is especially important for nations such as New Zealand that have such a very high dependency on the availability of reliable maritime services in order to maintain their position as major trading economies.”

ICS highlights current practices in Australia, the United States, China and other Far Eastern countries, pointing out that “whatever might be decided for reasons of national competition policy, ship operators trading to and from New Zealand are part of a global shipping market, and that the various maritime competition rules that apply in the Asia Pacific are currently broadly in alignment.

“We suggest that whatever New Zealand decides should be consistent with the APEC Guidelines Related to Liner Shipping adopted by the APEC member economies in June 2011 in Brisbane, ” it urges in its submission.

ICS says it believes there is “a very strong case” for the exemption of liner trade practices such as conference and consortia agreements from the competition provisions of the NZ Commerce Act.

“They allow shipping services to cope better with the severe and sudden imbalances in trade flows that are a feature of global shipping markets, including intense seasonal fluctuations,” it states. “Co-operation amongst liner companies helps them to commit to the long term investments required to operate their high value assets.

“Reliable and stable shipping services have been the backbone of world trade and it is important that they continue to be so in the future.”

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