Last updateΔευ, 01 Ιουλ 2024 7am

Back Βρίσκεστε εδώ: ΑΡΧΙΚΗ Conference Conference 2018: The Global Impact of Shipping Ambassador Smith Remarks for The SeaNation Conference

Ambassador Smith Remarks for The SeaNation Conference

SMITH KATE 655x823 1

Ευχαριστώ πάρα πολύ, κύριε πρόεδρε, κύριε αντιπρόεδρε της Νέας Δημοκρατίας, αξιότιμοι καλεσμένοι, esteemed colleagues, κυρίες και κύριοι, ladies and gentlemen.I will speak in English this morning. It’s a great pleasure to have the opportunity to address such a distinguished audience today and I’d like to thank the organizers very much for their invitation. Shipping, of course, remains at the core of our work at the British Embassy in Athens and today’s conference is a valuable opportunity to learn more about developments and challenges in the global arena, both for Greek shipping and for international players in this vital and, all too often an unsung sector.
But let me open my remarks today on a different subject: Europe, and I say Europe, not the European Union and not Brexit although I might come back to that later. But Europe as a global economic and maritime power.

Greek shipping is deservedly acknowledged as the success stories internationally. As we heard already almost 20% of the worlds carrying capacity is in Greek hands.

But I think an even more impressive figure, perhaps is that 50% of the European fleet is Greek owned. That is an extraordinary asset for Greece, but it is also a hugely significant asset for Europe. And thanks largely to the Greek presence the European owned fleet comprises 40% of the global total together with fleets from the major sea faring nations such as Norway, Germany, Malta and Cyprus. And those figures represent something important.

Despite the fact that 85% of goods traded internationally originate from outside Europe, and that 90% of global economic growth will come from outside the EU in the next 10 to 15 years, it means the continent still has a vastly disproportionate role in the critical activity of transporting those goods, and that trade.

So, Europe has a significant jewel in its crown, in the form of Greek shipping. And Greek owners and the Greek government should never tire or be resident in reminding us all this. Even as in recent years when Greece has seen difficult times as president Veniamis reminded us earlier, this global leadership has continued undimmed and this primacy, I believe deserves the widest possible respect and recognition.

And as a country with such strong historic ties to the Greek maritime sector, the UK has long appreciated that role and our intention is, even when outside the European Union, to continue to cooperate and coordinate closely with Greece bilaterally, as well as in international fora.

For example, in the area of maritime education which so many speakers have eluted to this morning, it is evident that there is an ever-growing need for efficient, modern minded and qualified seafarers. Both Greece and the United Kingdom are conscious that we need to attract more young people into the profession, more naval architects, cadets, technical officers, safety experts and skilled seafarers will be needed by the industry in the future. And in that context, I want to congratulate the Minister and his colleagues for their achievement in the confirmation of the hundred new teaching positions in the Greek academies that was announced this morning.

The United Kingdom, ladies and gentlemen, has both the technical and the academic expertise to respond to this challenge. Our government funding from maritime training, it’s just been announced, is doubling, and our colleges, universities and other experts and government bodies stand ready to cooperate with Greece in this vital area. And already, there exist partnerships between British universities and Greek institutions in maritime education in the private sector, are here already.

Secondly, and as we leave the EU as well, the UK will in the future become an independent voice at the International Maritime Organization. And like Greece, we firmly support the primacy of the IMO in addressing environmental and safety concerns, which represent the major challenges for modern shipping. We intend to work in partnership with Greece and the EU collectively in that all-important forum in the future.

So, ladies and gentlemen, environmental standards, safety, skills and education. Maintaining excellence and high standards in these areas is a continuous challenge in a highly, competitive industry. Shipping services as we’ve heard already today are increasingly mobile in a world of fast and easy communications.

And the best way to stay competitive in an open global market is to swiftly adapt to change, to innovate and evolve. And Greek owners know this and are responding. As you all know the average age of the Greek owned fleet is among the lowest in the world. Greek owners are investing in the new capacity and in the most innovative technologies and highly developed systems on the world market. Both for new builds and for existing vessels.

This has to be the future for all European owned fleets, so it can continue to lead the world.

And I am happy to say the same approach is being adopted in the UK. Britain may no longer be one of the largest ship-owning nations but our maritime industry, far from being a story of the past, is thriving success, worth about 15 billion pounds a year to our economy and supporting a quarter of a million jobs.

The UK remains a powerful player with the world leading and resilient cluster of maritime services provided out of London. And the British government is determined to work with the maritime industry to ensure that London continues to occupy its predominant position in the shipping world, notwithstanding the competition from centers outside Europe such as Shanghai, Singapore and others. And I am delighted to, that, even in the face of that competition, London remains the maritime center of choice for Greek shipping companies. And its great to see so many valued customers and clients represented here today.

No-one can underestimate the importance of this special bilateral relationship. Greece is the forth largest market in London for legal services and almost exclusively from shipping. Lloyds of London is the biggest single seller of underwriting insurance services to Greek shipping interests and the p&i clubs based out of the UK are market leaders.

And London is still home to a significant and valued Greek shipping community. And of course, we would like to see more Greek shipping companies expanding their presence in the UK taking advantage of the investment opportunities in London. Just as many UK firms offer services here in Athens and Piraeus.

And this need not be a zero-sum game, the scope for both centers to flourish and for their offers to complement each other.
Ladies and gentlemen, of course the maritime like every other sector in our economy will be influenced by the UKs exit for the European union. And so, will be the shape of our future trade relationships around the world.

Its axiomatic that the interests and livelihoods of this audience and all those you represent and employ depends on trade. And Britain has a long and proud tradition as a champion of free trade and our exit from the European Union offers an opportunity to reshape our own trading ambitions. But it is also an-
opportunity of us to make the case again for open markets around the world. It is important to remember that the UK was a world leading outwards facing maritime nation before we joined the EU and we will be after we leave.

Because the economic argument for open markets is indisputable and needs to be made ever more strongly, the more the threat of protectionism materializes. The fact is free trade works, statistics show that the more a country increases trade exposure, income per capita rises. When free trade agreements are reached the positive effect on businesses, industries and economies is playing to see.As emerging economies liberalizes trade practices they’ve seen impressive growth of industry and job and wealth creation. And those positive effects of course are also felt by consumers and householders who enjoy greater choice and lower prices.

Supposed Brexit Britain will become also an independent member of the World Trade Organization. Our aim is to offer leadership in defense trading rights and freedoms, we intend to help promote the liberalization of those areas of global trade that remain closed and protected. And that leadership will also mean championing flexibility and agility in trade policy. Exercising our own independent trade policy, we will be ready to consider multi country alliances of different kinds and of course bilateral arrangements.

And as the world’s fifth biggest economy for whom the share of exports to non-EU markets continuous to rise, it is now 57% outside Europe, this have to be a plus for the growth of world trade in general.

But ladies and gentlemen although 50% of our exports goes outside the EU that still means 43% within the European Union, I am preserving and maintaining that trading relationship will depend on the ease with which UK and EU businesses can continue to move the products around the continent after Brexit.

On March the 2nd our prime minister Theresa Mae set out clearly that after we have left the EU we will be outside the Schengen market and the customs union. But we’re determined to secure a deal with the EU which keeps our trade as frictionless as possible. As you all know anything that creates delays, complications and barriers will add cost and time both to supplies consumers and of course to shippers. We want to avoid that, and we believe we can.

Either through an innovative customs partnership or a highly streamlined customs arrangement. Both approaches would benefit all those involved in the movement of goods between the UK and the European in the future and we are looking forward to discussing the details of those proposals with our European partners in the near future.

As we are in an area of equal interest to the shipping sector, services where we believe we have an opportunity to break new ground. Yes of course outside the Schengen market our access will need to be different, but we believe new barriers should only be introduced when absolutely necessary, of course we don’t want the EU to discriminate against the UK service providers but the UK does not want to discriminate against EU, including Greek service providers either, and its worth reminding ourselves that by far the largest proportion of Greek exports to the UK are in the services sector, by a proportion of well over three to one.

So, we want to limit the number of barriers that can prevent UK firms from setting up in the EU and vice versa and agree an appropriate labor mobility framework that enables UK businesses and self-employed professionals to travel to the EU to provide services to clients in person and that allows UK businesses to provide services to the EU over the phone or through the internet and we want to do the same for European firms providing services to the UK.

And given UK qualifications are already recognized across the EU or vice versa, it would make sense to continue to recognize each other’s qualifications in the future. This principle of mutual recognition of professional qualifications, I know it is important for a great many of you here today, your employees and your partners who provide London based services out of bases in Athens and Piraeus.

This brings me back to the subject of London itself, which so many of you know and work with closely. The fact is that the city of London financial services hub is not just a British asset, but a European asset too, supporting businesses and citizens across the EU, serving the whole of our continent, as well as the world beyond.

It is an asset unparalleled in its history, its scale, its complexity, its agility and its connectivity to the economies of Europe and the world.
Its been described by the IMF as a global public good. So, and this is my key message for today, London is in effect to financial and professional services what Greece is to shipping.

A global and a European asset which Europe should recognize, celebrate and protect and avoid any temptation to undermine.

Despite the EUs own best effort in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks, financial services have never been included in a free trade agreement to date. But we have some ideas on how we can do this, and it is in all our interest to explore these. With good will and creativity and basing ourselves on the principles of mutual recognition, reciprocal regulatory equivalence and with proper governance structures and dispute resolution, all this is possible.

Ladies and gentlemen this is the spirit in which we are negotiating with our European partners and it’s the spirit which will govern our cooperation with the shipping sector through and beyond Brexit too. Indeed, if we could all work together with some of the vision, imagination and agility which has characterized Greek ship-owning over the centuries, I have no doubt that we will emerge for these negotiations with an agreement which serves the interest of both sides, which supports global trade and prosperity and maintains and develops the very special relationship between Greece and the UK in the shipping sector.

Thank you very much.

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