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Federal Maritime Commissioners meet with European Maritime Attaches

March 28, 2017

Contact: John K. DeCrosta, (202) 523-5911

Federal Maritime Commission Acting Chairman Michael Khouri and three of his fellow Commissioners hosted a delegation of Washington-based foreign diplomats who specialize in maritime matters where a broad array of shipping policy issues were discussed.

Almost 20 officials from 13 different embassies attended an event held in the Commission’s Hearing Room on Thursday, March 23rd. This group of attaches who handle maritime affairs for their respective nations is commonly referred to as the "Cotton Club."

In addition to Acting Chairman Khouri, those attending the meeting from the Federal Maritime Commission were Commissioner Rebecca Dye, Commissioner William Doyle, and Commissioner Daniel Maffei.

Acting Chairman Khouri opened the session by noting this is the 100th year of operation under the Shipping Act, a law "… enacted in recognition that competition in international liner trade is different. Special consideration is warranted due to the important role of global commerce and the potential for competing—even conflicting—regulatory regimes of our international trading partners. The Federal Maritime Commission stands forward to safeguard America’s Supply Chain …."


FMC Acting Chairman Khouri and Pål Somdalen, Chairman of Cotton Club and Counselor at Royal Norwegian Embassy

Topics covered included a discussion of the Commission’s history, jurisdiction, and mission; the Commission’s Supply Chain Innovation Teams Initiative; the role and activities of the Cotton Club; business trends in the container shipping industry; international trade matters; and the global economic outlook.

"Because shipping is an international business, I appreciate these opportunities to get together with the embassy experts from our partner nations and discuss areas of common interest," stated Commissioner Dye. "In particular, it was valuable to me to discuss our Supply Chain Innovation Teams initiative and common concerns about port and supply chain efficiency."


Acting Chairman Khouri, Commissioner Dye, and Ida Bo Jørgensen, Royal Danish Embassy & Vice Chair of the Cotton Club

"It always a pleasure getting together with transportation experts from the various embassies to discuss maritime matters," said Commissioner Doyle. "The Cotton Club is a great organization for exchanging information and furthering understanding on international topics of interest."


Commissioner Doyle addressing the Cotton Club

"Despite the talk of an uncertain future for international trade and cooperation, in reality we are becoming more interconnected than ever when it comes to maritime issues," observed Commissioner Maffei. "We all face similar commercial and economic issues working in an industry that facilitates a globalized economy. In this context, discussions with maritime experts from other nations such as those belonging to the Cotton Club are exceedingly valuable in furthering our mission at the FMC."


Commissioner Maffei with Cotton Club members Laura Brogi, Embassy of Italy and Dr. Stephan Zass, Embassy of Germany

"The Commission enforces the Shipping Act and assures a competitive ocean transportation services marketplace for the benefit of the United States and American shippers. That noted, this is an international business and to make informed decisions, the Commission must be cognizant of what our counterparts at competition agencies in other major shipping states are doing," said Acting Chairman Khouri. "This meeting provided an opportunity to update the members of the Cotton Club on developments at the Federal Maritime Commission that may be of interest to their respective ministries and governments. Similarly, we benefitted from hearing from our guests what issues were of importance and curiosity to them. Consistent, frequent, and frank dialog in the context of global efforts to ensure a competitive marketplace only serves to remove impediments to trade and promote economic efficiencies."

Attaches present represented the nations of Belgium; Denmark; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Italy; the Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Spain; Sweden; and the United Kingdom.

Acting Chairman Michael A. Khouri’s statement to the Cotton Club

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