BDP Trendwatch: WTO on ‘Thin Ice’ with Metals-Tariff Ruling, US Trade Chief Says; USTR Extends China Tariff Exclusions Another 9 Months; Suez Canal Authority, MACN Sign Agreement to Provide Cooperation Framework

WTO on ‘thin ice’ with metals-tariff ruling, US trade chief says

The World Trade Organization “is getting itself on very, very thin ice” by ruling that the US violated trade rules with Trump-era steel and aluminum tariffs, Trade Representative Katherine Tai said, adding that the finding “challenges the integrity of the system.”

The WTO ruling, issued earlier this month, “really challenges the integrity of the system,” Tai said Monday. That’s because it “gets deep into creating requirements and parameters for what is or is not a legitimate national-security decision.”



USTR extends China tariff exclusions another 9 months

The U.S. Trade Representative extended existing tariff exclusions on 352 products from China that were slated to end at the end of 2022.

The exclusions had been reinstated in March. The latest extension, announced on Friday, will last an additional nine months

The products are exceptions made to tariffs on imports from China instated by the Trump Administration in 2018. The tariffs were enacted through a “Section 301 Investigation” that found the country’s policies and practices around technology transfer and intellectual property were unreasonable and discriminatory.

Supply Chain Dive


Suez Canal Authority, MACN sign agreement to provide cooperation framework

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) to provide a framework for cooperation in common fields, affirming the authority’s keenness to interact with international institutions to ensure transparency and enhance integrity procedures and standards of maritime transactions and related port operations.

According to MACN, the MoU aims to establish an official communication channel between the two bodies.

Container News


Operation disruptions at Rotterdam continue, Maersk announces contingency plans

There are still significant disruptions at the Port of Rotterdam operations due to ongoing industrial action across multiple terminals at the Dutch port caused by Collective Labour Agreement (CLA) negotiations that are taking place between unions and the Hutchinson Delta II and Maasvlakte II terminals.

Maersk said in a recent customer advisory that it expects its TA1 and TA3 services to be affected immediately subject to extension depending on how the situation develops.

Container News


Supply chain disruptions continue to plague Australian container ports

According to a report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the COVID-19 pandemic, and other developments, have continued to cause significant congestion and delays in the container freight supply chain in Australia throughout 2021–22. The report cited three factors that have exacerbated these effects: low shipping schedule reliability, increased size of ships calling Australian container ports, and labor shortages throughout the supply chain.

Stevedores have informed the ACCC that low vessel schedule reliability is a critical factor contributing to congestion and has resulted in ‘vessel bunching’ at ports. While global schedule reliability improved over 2022, it remains well below pre-pandemic levels. This creates significant peaks and troughs for stevedores in handling containers.

The Maritime Executive


Digital symbiosis: the engine for powering sustainable shipping

In the biological world, many species have symbiotic relationships, mutual dependencies, with other species to increase their ecological fitness. We aver that there can be a similar symbiotic relationship between digitalization and collaboration in business and society. Neither can exist without the other, because they co-determine economic fitness. Furthermore, the combination can drive significant economic and societal capital creation. Successful partnerships co-evolve their collaboration through cooperative digitalization to contribute to an emerging era of digital symbiosis.

We assert that all industries need to emphasize the interrelationship between collaboration and digitalization to create economic and societal value through enhancing human and social capital and preserving and restoring natural capital. This mindset can take shipping to higher levels of digital symbiosis.

The Maritime Executive


EU moves forward including shipping in ETS to reduce carbon emissions

The European Council and the European Parliament agreed to move forward on the broad plan to introduce and expand the efforts to reduce carbon emissions across a broad range of industries, including placing the maritime sector under the EU Emissions Trading System. The outcome of the negotiations is part of the ongoing effort to finalize the package known as Fit for 55. The final agreement, which only requires formal adoption by the two governing bodies, raises the EU’s overall targets and introduces additional funding to support the transition while incorporating shipping following the terms of the agreement reached at the end of November.

The EU Emissions Trading System is a carbon market based on a system of cap-and-trade of emission allowances for energy-intensive industries and the power generation sector. The sponsors promote it as following the principle that the polluter pays as the EU seeks to reach carbon neutrality. Under the financial agreement reached on December 18, emissions in the ETS sectors must be cut by 62 percent by 2030, compared to 2005, which is one percentage point more than proposed by the Commission. To reach this reduction, there will be a variety of mechanisms aimed at industry sectors, but also required some agreement for more free allowances early on and accelerating the cuts in later years. As they are bringing more industry into the program, more funding will also be provided through an Innovation Fund to support the development of technologies required for the transition.

The Maritime Executive