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TIN news:   The 2nd Naftemporiki Shipping Conference, which was held on Tuesday January 26th, 2016, at Divani Apollon Palace & Thalasso, in Vouliagmeni, Athens focused on four challenges that the Greek shipping industry currently faces: employment, environment, financing and the shipping hub of Piraeus.
Representing the Hellenic government, Minister of Economy, Competitiveness and Tourism Giorgos Stathakis reckoned in his address that in 2016 Greece’s economy will register a significant growth rate, whereas recession will remain much lower than expected. New Democracy (N.D.) vice-president Adonis Georgiadis stepped up to the challenge and reminded all that in 2015 “we expected a 2,7% growth rate” and stressed that “even if it is assumed that we will achieve 0%, we are still -2,7% of what we would have had”.
Minister of Shipping and Island Policy Theodore Dritsas came to support Mr Stathakis vis-à-vis the attack by Mr Georgiadis and said, when talking about the “dashing” N.D. vice-president: “When one is so stressed to register successes or identify failures and deconstruct opposing initiatives and government policies, then one must be more restrained”.
Earlier, the President of the Union of Greek Shipowners Theodore Veniamis stressed that “we stated, right at the onset of this crisis, that shipping might be the way-out in a society ridden by unemployment, since it creates new jobs under terms always compliant with international standards. We were however faced with narrow-minded trade unionism and political confrontations depriving our fellow-citizens from their right to work“.
Both Greek government and shipowners, in excellent collaboration, say “no” to changes in the tax regime of Greek-owned shipping that will undermine its competitiveness. That was something made crystal clear during the conference by Alternate Minister of Finance Trifon Alexiadis and the President of the Union of Greek Shipowners Theodore Veniamis. “If shipping taxation in Greece goes beyond the point its competitiveness may endure, then this will be to the benefit of other interests”, said Trifon Alexiadis.
 In his introductory remarks, Naftemporiki’s General Manager Yannis Perlepes commented on shipping’s multifaceted contribution to national economy, since, “it involves investments by shipping companies on various activities, not limited to their industry’s domain” and “thus, it is both a necessity and a task of ours to enable its representatives to be heard”.
The President of the Union of Greek Shipowners Theodore Veniamis, after making clear that the Hellenic government provides consistent and daily evidence that they fully acknowledge this strategic, as well as financial dimension of Greek-owned shipping, and the need to preserve its close ties with our land, he attacked those who suggest that if Greek-owned shipping is hit, then their own national economies and shipping industries will benefit as a result of relocation.
“This is a short-sighted policy”, Mr Veniamis pinpointed, “since Greek-owned shipping is a European one and, therefore, this will be a hit on European economy… This reiterated argument that our tax regime, allegedly, is particularly favorable, it collapsed when we presented the government with comparative financial data showing that taxation on vessels and ship management in Greece is more expensive, particularly in recent years following voluntary doubling of the tonnage tax. In fact, it is nothing but outright hypocrisy for European law-making and auditing bodies to accuse the Greek tax system, which themselves used as a model –and developed furthermore- to save European shipping and not let it end up like the European shipbuilding industry. Certainly, such actions will compromise the competitiveness of European shipping as a result of their legal uncertainty and directly undermine overall European policies for the creation of a competitive, business and investment environment that will greatly benefit member-state economies”.
“European politicians, perhaps as a result of erroneous and uncoordinated political moves, do offer another gift to hospitable Far East countries. In any case, I would like to inform our competitors and all those undermining Greek-owned shipping about the following: Greek-owned shipping has been, is and shall remain the top one in the global shipping arena”, Mr Veniamis stressed.

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