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18 March 2002

China's New Shipping Regulations Concern U.S. Maritime Officials

(Administrator to lead U.S. delegation to China March 19-21) (420)
By Stephen La Rocque
Washington File Staff Writer
Washington -- U.S. maritime officials have expressed concern over
Chinese regulations and practices that appear to adversely impact
non-Chinese shipping companies, shippers, and intermediaries.
Maritime Administrator William Schubert will lead a delegation of U.S.
officials to China March 19-21 to discuss Chinese regulations that
appear to impose "sweeping new restrictions on U.S. and other
non-Chinese maritime companies," according to a March 15 news release
from the Department of Transportation.
Schubert's visit to the People's Republic of China (PRC) will also
focus on restrictive Chinese government controls on U.S. maritime
carriers' operations that have affected the carriers' ability to
deploy vessels, market services and conduct intermodal operations, the
release says.
China's maritime regulations were also the subject of a March 12
announcement by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC).
The FMC issued a Notice of Inquiry March 12 linked to investigations
"into restrictive practices of the PRC affecting shipping in the U.S.
trade with China," according to a news release issued the same day.
FMC Chairman Harold J. Creel, Jr. said the Commission is seeking
"information and comments from the public concerning the effects" of a
Chinese decree, "Regulations of the PRC on the International Maritime
Transportation," that became effective January 1 of this year.
"The Commission seeks to ensure that it has the most accurate
information with regard to these issues, so that it may determine
whether any current Chinese laws, rules, regulations or practices
merit the initiation of a proceeding under section 19 of the Merchant
Marine Act, 1920 or the Foreign Shipping Practices Act of 1988," the
FMC said.
Under Section 19 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, the FMC can issue
rules and regulations "to adjust or meet general or special conditions
unfavorable to shipping in the foreign trade."
Under the Foreign Shipping Practices Act of 1988, the FMC can also
impose "limitations on sailings, suspension of tariffs, suspension of
agreements, or fees not to exceed $1,000,000 per voyage" if it finds a
country's laws, rules, regulations, policies, or practices result in
conditions that "adversely affect the operations" of U.S. carriers and
that such conditions do not exist for foreign carriers of that country
in the United States.
(The Washington File is a product of the Office of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

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