MARAD, CHINA BEGIN MARITIME TRANSPORT AGREEMENT DISCUSSIONS
U.S. Maritime Administrator William G. Schubert and China’s Vice Minister of Communications Hong Shanxiang signed a memorandum of consultation in Washington Wednesday to begin negotiations on a new maritime transport agreement between the countries.
The officials focused their initial discussions on general issues of concern, including non-vessel-operating common carrier bonding, filing of confidential freight rates, branch offices, logistics services and controlled carriers.
Schubert said he was “impressed by the constructive discussions” and referred to it as a “very good beginning” to what will likely be a long process to form a new U.S.-China Bilateral Maritime Agreement.
In his first year at MarAd, Schubert emphasized the need for the agency to renew its bilateral maritime agreement with China. The last bilateral maritime signed between the two countries was concluded in 1988.
Last year, Schubert led a delegation representing U.S. maritime interests in the development of China’s new international maritime transportation regulations. The administration, as well as the industry, was concerned the new rules would give the Chinese government authority to regulate commercial ocean shipping beyond international standards. The rules became effective March 1.
Schubert entered similar bilateral discussions with Russian State Maritime Administrator Vyacheslav V. Ruksha on Dec. 4.
MarAd may also hold talks this year with the Brazilian government regarding the renewal of the maritime access agreement between the countries.
In addition, the agency plans to remain active in international maritime activities at the International Labor Organization, International Maritime Organization, World Trade Organization, and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.