Spain Gives State Aid to Shipbuilding
 
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Spain Gives State Aid to Shipbuilding

      3/1/2004

The Spanish government has recently approved financial package worth up to 715 million euro ($897 million) to help make the country's shipbuilding sector more competitive. The package includes a 300 million euro credit line for building ships, 215 million euro in direct aid to research and development programmes in the sector, and a further 200 million euro in loans, also for R&D purposes.

"Spanish shipbuilding is going through a difficult phase, largely due to unfair competition from some Asian countries," the government said in a statement. The government wanted to help the sector enhance its competitiveness in international markets, the statement added.The European Commission last May launched an investigation into 1.5 billion euro of state aid for Spanish shipbuilder Izar, and deepened an existing probe into 515 million euro paid to help the firm restructure. Spain's new package is aimed at both civil and military shipbuilding, a spokesman at the Science and Technology Ministry said. He added that Izar, Spain's only major shipbuilder, would be able to benefit from the measures. The government statement cited new EU rules allowing certain types of aid to the shipbuilding sector that came into force at the start of this year.


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