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FMC Japanese Sanctions

September 4, 1997

FEDERAL MARITIME COMMISSION

FMC SANCTIONS FOR JAPANESE PORT PRACTICES
BECOME EFFECTIVE

NR 97-15

Washington, D.C. 20573

 


FOR RELEASE SEPTEMBER 4, 1997

A Federal Maritime Commission final rule imposing fees on Japanese shipping lines, issued in response to restrictive and unfavorable conditions facing U.S. carriers and U.S. commerce in the Japanese harbor services industry, became effective today. The decision to impose the fees, set at $100,000 per inbound voyage, was first announced by the Commission on February 26 of this year in FMC Docket No. 96-20.

The sanctions were originally scheduled to go into effect April 14, 1997. However, bilateral discussions covering many of the Commission's concerns were held between the United States Government and the Government of Japan, concluding with the signing of a "Memorandum of Consultation" by the two governments on April 11. In the Memorandum of Consultation, the Government of Japan committed to a framework for reforming the system of "prior consultation" -- a process in which shipping companies must seek pre-approvals from a waterfront organization for a wide range of operational matters -- by July 31, 1997. Based on this and other commitments, the Commission on April 13 postponed the effective date for the fees until September 4, 1997. Since that time, however, no reform plans for the prior consultation system have been agreed upon or implemented. Therefore, the Commission has taken no action to further stay the imposition of the fees.

The Commission is prepared to promptly review any further submissions in connection with this proceeding, and it remains hopeful that an acceptable resolution of this matter will be reached in a timely manner.

The Commission's final rule in Docket No. 96-20, as well as Commission decisions in other recent proceedings, are available online in the Commission's electronic reading room. To access these materials, first go to the Commission's home page (www.fmc.gov), choose "Public Information Available from FMC," select "Electronic Reading Room," then pick the type of document you wish to view.