U.S., BRAZIL SIGN 3-YEAR MARITIME TRADE AGREEMENT
U.S. and Brazilian officials have signed a new, three-year bilateral
maritime trade agreement, officially ending two years of strained
relations. The agreement also nails down a number of agreements reached between the two
countries in February.
Under the agreement, the Brazilian government will dismantle a special
ship registry which gave tax breaks to shippers using Brazilian-flag
vessels and will also eliminate an industrial production tax on Brazilian
government-controlled cargoes transported by U.S. carriers.
The agreement also ensures each country’s national flag shipping lines
equal access to commercial cargoes and to each other’s
government-controlled cargoes, except defense and agricultural assistance cargoes.
The agreement calls for the liberalization of maritime trade and
provides that each nation will not discriminate against the other’s
carriers with respect to maritime-related services and facilities,
including shipping taxes.
U.S. and Brazil’s maritime relationship goes back 30 years, said
Maritime Administrator Clyde Hart, who led U.S. negotiators on the new accord.
By removing a number of trade barriers and opening up Brazilian markets
to both U.S. shippers and carriers, trade between the two nations is expected to
continue its strong growth, reaching the $15 billion mark by the end of this year, Hart
said. This represents continued growth, since 1993, when the trade was valued at $7.5
billion, and 1996, when the trade reached the $12.5 billion mark, Hart said.
Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater said the agreement represents "a
win-win situation on all counts" for the United States and Brazil.