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Study of the EU’s 2008 Repeal of Liner Shipping Competition Law Exemption Released

February 16, 2012

NR 12-03

Contact: Karen V. Gregory, Secretary (202-523-5725)

The FMC today released its Bureau of Trade Analysis’s Study of the 2008 Repeal of the Liner Conference Exemption from European Union Competition Law. The primary issue addressed in the multi-year Study is: What impact has the repeal of the liner conference block exemption in Europe had on U.S. liner trades? The study was launched in response to concerns that the European Union’s (EU’s) repeal might produce freight rate reductions in EU liner trades relative to U.S. liner trades. Seeking input on the issue from the shipping public, the Commission issued an EU Study Notice of Inquiry in November 2010.

The Study’s primary finding is that through 2010, "The repeal of the block exemption does not appear to have resulted in any negative impact on U.S. liner trades." Rates "declined to the same degree in both U.S. and EU import trades," and "increased to a similar degree in both U.S. and EU export trades being compared." The Study recommended further review of trends following the 2006-2010 time period examined.

Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Richard A. Lidinsky, Jr. stated: "I want to thank the Commission’s Bureau of Trade Analysis for their hard work and thorough analysis on these important issues for the world’s liner shipping industry. We hope the Study will provide a sound, fact-based point of reference for policymakers examining liner shipping regulatory regimes both here and abroad."

The Federal Maritime Commission is the independent federal agency responsible for regulating the nation's international ocean transportation for the benefit of exporters, importers, and the American consumer. The FMC's mission is to foster a fair, efficient, and reliable international ocean transportation system while protecting the public from unfair and deceptive practices.