Freeman Cebu Business

Cebu team recommends to repeal Cabotage Law

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu's export sector's long standing clamor to repeal the Cabotage Law has been presented to the incoming decision makers of the new Philippine government.

Business leaders in Cebu included the concern of exporters here in its discomfort on the Cabotage Law, which prohibits foreign vessels from moving cargoes and people between islands.

This export related concern is part of the recommendations submitted by Cebu team during the recently concluded consultation of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s economic managers with the country's business community.

"We know that our local shipping lines can compete well with foreign vessels, so we need to appeal to the government that they be given incentives to modernize and be granted tax exemptions and better incentives enjoyed by foreign companies, as well as more incentive packages to acquire new and modern vessels," reads recommendation from Cebu.

The Cebu team was led by Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

 The local export sector reiterated its call for the government to interfere and compel shipping lines to immediately return container deposit once containers are returned back to its designated container yard, in order for business to plow the money back to business operations.

Cabotage Law refers to transit of a vessel along the coast of a nation for the purpose of trade from one port to another within the territorial limits of that nation.

The provision in our Tariff and Customs Code which states that maritime transportation of goods and passengers within the country is reserved to Philippine registered marine vessels is generally regarded as the Cabotage Law.

Passengers or goods arriving from abroad on foreign vessels may be carried by the same vessel to any port in the Philippines, and passengers departing from the Philippines or articles intended for export may be carried in a foreign vessel through a Philippine port, only with the approval of the Commissioner of Customs.

Reportedly, the right of domestic vessels to exclusively engage in coastwise transportation dates back to the 1900s when the country was under American rule.

The authorities then believed the protectionist policy was necessary to promote the development of the local shipping industry.

They also felt that, as against foreign sailors, the familiarity of Filipino ship operators with maritime and weather conditions in the country contributes to safety in local sea travel. (FREEMAN)

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