EU Shipyard Subsidies 'Staggering'
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EU Shipyard Subsidies 'Staggering'


The European Union is under attack for handing subsidy worth up to 100M to shipbuilders at a time when prices for new vessels are soaring. The council of ministers announced recently that a 6% subsidy for European shipbuilding yards would continue until March next year. A meeting of enterprise ministers voted to extend a "temporary defence mechanism" protecting certain types of shipbuilding.

The subsidy was introduced to protect EU yards from unfair competition from yards in South Korea, one of the world's three main shipbuilding countries. The EU is in dispute with South Korea over claims that its yards undercut the market by as much as 20%. The controversy comes at a time when the commercial ship market is booming, fuelled by demand for iron ore in China and coal for power producers in Europe. The EU subsidy only applies to three types of ship: container ships, chemical tankers and oil product carriers. The Brussels-based Committee of European Union Shipbuilders' Associations defended the subsidy. It said that "less than 100m" had been shared between 15 to 20 yards in Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Denmark.


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