Coast seems not so clear after Brexit

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY ILIAS BELLOS

Se­nior Bri­tish of­fi­cials are urg­ing the Greek ship­ping com­mu­nity to have faith in the City of Lon­don after the UK leaves the Euro­pean Union.

Bri­tain’s mar­itime min­is­ter, John Hayes (via a recorded mes­sage), and the chair­man of Mar­itime Lon­don, Lord Moun­te­vans, along with Bri­tish Am­bas­sador in Greece Kate Smith, on Wednesday ad­dressed an au­di­ence of some 100 Greek shipown­ers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of en­ter­prises in the sec­tor.

They were speak­ing at the 4th Greek-Bri­tish Ship­ping Fo­rum that the Bri­tish Em­bassy in Athens and Mar­itime Lon­don had or­ga­nized at the res­i­dence of the Bri­tish am­bas­sador at Kolon­aki, in the cen­ter of the Greek cap­i­tal.

They all cited the close re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two mar­itime coun­tries and the con­tri­bu­tion of Lon­don-based Greek shipown­ers to both the Bri­tish and Greek economies, stress­ing the prospects for fur­ther growth in their fi­nan­cial re­la­tions.

Nev­er­the­less, no clear an­swers were pro­vided as to what Brexit will mean for the for­eign­ers who work in ship­ping of­fices or the tax sta­tus of shipown­ers based in Bri­tain. The lat­ter ques­tion car­ries sig­nif­i­cant weight as it ap­pears for­eign­ers who have com­pleted 15 years in the UK with “non-dom” sta­tus (pay­ing a steady an­nual tax amount) will now be taxed as Bri­tish ci­ti­zens, even for their in­comes earned in the rest of the world.

Both the Bri­tish min­is­ter and Lord Moun­te­vans im­plied that Brexit could be used as an op­por­tu­nity to of­fer ad­di­tional in­cen­tives for at­tract­ing en­ter­prises to Bri­tain while safe­guard­ing cus­toms and other agree­ments with the 27 EU mem­bers as much as pos­si­ble.

They did stress, how­ever, that there will be new or im­proved bi­lat­eral trade agree­ments with some coun­tries that will not be af­fected by the tight re­stric­tions of the EU. This con­cerns states such as In­dia, the US, Canada and South Amer­i­can coun­tries, and will in­crease mar­itime trans­port and ac­tiv­ity at Bri­tish ports.

A key pa­ram­e­ter for whether ship­ping com­pa­nies re­main in the UK, leave or move there from other coun­tries will be the deal to emerge from the ne­go­ti­a­tions with Brus­sels on the free­dom of move­ment for on­shore and off­shore staff.

pa­ram­e­ter for whether ship­ping com­pa­nies re­main in the UK, leave or move there from other coun­tries will be the deal to emerge from the ne­go­ti­a­tions with Brus­sels on the free­dom of move­ment for on­shore and off­shore staff.

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