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REPORT     *
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9 July 2003
PE 314.781 A5-0254/2003
on the proposal for a Council decision concluding an agreement on maritime transport between the European Community and the People's Republic of China
(6049/1/2003 REV1 – COM(2002) 97 – C5‑0062/2003 – 2002/0048(CNS))
Committee on Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism
Rapporteur: Mark Francis Watts
PROCEDURAL PAGE
 DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

PROCEDURAL PAGE

By letter of 25 February 2003 the Council consulted Parliament, pursuant to Article 300(3), first subparagraph of the EC Treaty, on the proposal for a Council decision concluding an agreement on maritime transport between the European Community and the People's Republic of China (6049/1/2003 REV1 – COM(2002) 97 – 2002/0048(CNS)).

At the sitting of 27 March 2003 the President of Parliament announced that he had referred the proposal to the Committee on Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism as the committee responsible and the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy and to the Committee on Industry, External Trade, Research and Energy for their opinions (C5‑0062/2003).

The Committee on Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism appointed Mark Francis Watts rapporteur at its meeting of 19 March 2003.

The committee considered the proposal for a Council decision and draft report at its meetings of 12 June and 8 July 2003.

At the latter meeting it adopted the draft legislative resolution by 26 votes to 12, with 1 abstention.

The following were present for the vote Rijk van Dam acting chairman, Gilles Savary vice-chairman, Mark Francis Watts (rapporteur), Sylviane H. Ainardi, Rolf Berend, Philip Charles Bradbourn, Felipe Camisón Asensio, Christine de Veyrac, Jan Dhaene, Den Dover (for Luigi Cocilovo), Jean-Maurice Dehousse (for Danielle Darras), Alain Esclopé, Giovanni Claudio Fava, Catherine Guy-Quint (for Garrelt Duin), Georg Jarzembowski, Konstantinos Hatzidakis, Nelly Maes, Emmanouil Mastorakis, Erik Meijer, Bill Miller (Ewa Hedkvist Petersen), Enrique Monsonís Domingo, Francesco Musotto, Giorgio Lisi, Francesco Musotto, Peter Pex, Joaquim Piscarreta (for Dieter-Lebrecht Koch), Samuli Pohjamo, Reinhard Rack, Carlos Ripoll y Martínez de Bedoya, Dana Rosemary Scallon, Agnes Schierhuber (for Margie Sudre), Ingo Schmitt, Renate Sommer, Dirk Sterckx, Hannes Swoboda (John Hume), Joaquim Vairinhos, Ari Vatanen, Herman Vermeer and Brigitte Wenzel-Perillo (for James Nicholson).

The Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy and the Committee on Industry, External Trade, Research and Energy decided respectively on 3 July 2002 and 16 April 2002 not to deliver an opinion.

The report was tabled on 9 July 2003.


DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the proposal for a Council decision concluding an agreement on maritime transport between the European Community and the People's Republic of China

(6049/1/2003 – COM(2002) 97 – C5‑0062/2003 – 2002/0048(CNS))

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the proposal for a Council decision (COM(2002) 97)(1),

–   having regard to the draft agreement on maritime transport between the European Community and the People's Republic of China (6049/1/2003 REV1),

–   having regard to Articles 80(2) and 300(2), first subparagraph of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Article 300(3), first subparagraph, of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C5‑0062/2003),

–   having regard to Rules 67 and 97(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism (A5‑0254/2003),

1.   Approves conclusion of the agreement;

2.   Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council and Commission, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the People's Republic of China.

(1)OJ C 181E, {30/07/2003}30.7.2002, p. 176.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

I.   Background

The People's Republic of China is the EU's third largest trading partner outside of Europe, which makes the Chinese market particularly important for European shipping companies.

The past decade has brought steady progress in EU - China maritime transport relations.

A majority of Member States has already signed bilateral Agreements with China, but so far no Agreement on EU-level is in force. The Commission regards this proposal as a cornerstone for a further promotion of maritime relations on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.

II.   Key elements of proposal

The proposal aims at improving the conditions of maritime cargo transport operations in respect of the two contracting parties.

The Agreement therefore applies to international maritime cargo transport and logistic services (including multimodal operations involving a sea leg) between the ports of China and of the Member States of the European Community as well as to the international maritime cargo transport between the ports of the Member States of the European Community. It also applies to cross trades.

However, this Agreement does not apply to domestic transport between the ports of China or between the ports of one Member State of the European Union.

As regards access to ports and the use of infrastructure and auxiliary maritime services of ports, each contracting party shall ensure non-discriminatory treatment of vessels flying the flag of the other party. The same principle has to be exercised for related fees and charges as well as for customs formalities.

The Agreement furthermore enables each contracting party to establish wholly-owned or jointly invested subsidiaries, branches or representative offices providing international maritime cargo transport and logistic services. These subsidiaries, branches or representative offices shall also be entitled to employ key personnel, irrespective of their nationality.

The Agreement allows revenues of nationals or companies of one contracting party derived from international maritime transport and multimodal operations in the other contracting party to be settled in freely convertible currencies.

Finally the Agreement provides for enhanced maritime cooperation as regards authorities, shipping companies, ports, research institutions etc.

The Agreement is concluded for a period of five years and shall be tacitly renewed on a yearly basis. Thus the renewal is not based on a formal review process.

III.   Rapporteur's observations

Your rapporteur regards the proposed Agreement as reasonable and balanced. Based on the principles of freedom to provide maritime services, it covers all relevant aspects in this respect. This Agreement is a major step towards an ever closer cooperation between the two parties.

This Agreement will only "substitute" the "trade" provisions of the existing bilateral maritime Agreements between EC Member States and China, whereas other provisions of the bilateral agreements not covered by this Agreement shall continue to apply. Moreover your rapporteur would like to point out positively that if this Agreement is less favorable than these existing bilateral agreements, the more favorable conditions shall prevail.

If a European shipping company feels that it is discriminatorily treated, it can raise the issue directly with the Commission or with its Member State's authorities which then have to inform the Commission. In both cases the Commission is going to address the problem with the Chinese authorities and in this manner the affected company can avoid going to court.

Thus your rapporteur approves of this Agreement and does not suggest any amendments to the proposal for a Council decision.

Zadnja posodobitev: 29. julij 2003Pravno obvestilo