Free Trade ensures Denmark's position
Free trade agreements are crucial for Denmark to maintain its position as one of the world's leading shipping nations. The Director of the Danish Shipowners' Association stated this at a debate with two very different members of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament.
Because you are a member of the same group in the EU Parliament, you do not have to agree on everything. Not even on fundamental issues such as the value of free trade agreements. It was quite apparent when the Danish Shipowners' Association had invited a Belgian and a Danish member of the Socialist group in the European Parliament to debate on the European Shipping Week in Brussels.
The Danish Shipowners' Association's position was already clear: The anti-globalization, protectionism and negotiations which drags on, could prove expensive for Danish shipping if countries close in on themselves and puts up barriers for global export companies such as shipping.
The Belgian Socialist Maria Arena belongs to the wing of her group that rages against the Canadian free trade agreement CETA and criticizes the TTIP agreement to be archaic and opaque:
"Today, CETA is called the trade agreement of the futur. But it is an old agreement. It was finalized in 2014, and although a new Parliament has emerged since then, it's still an old agreement, we will vote through, which we have not had any influence on," says Maria Arena and adds:
"I would like one day to have trade agreements with China and the US, but I do not want an old agreement, where we are not being heard."
Her colleague in the group, the Danish Social Democrat Ole Christensen, understands that the shipping companies are pushing to create more trade, both across the Atlantic and to Africa:
"Free trade agreements are good. CETA is the best trade agreement ever. I would like to have more good and secure jobs in Europe. We can do this with free trade agreements," said Ole Christensen, who added that he can understand investors' skepticism towards the future export market.
"I understand that investors on both sides of the Atlantic are a little afraid of politicians. Because they don't know the effect of the regulations. "
At the debate, the Danish Shipowners' Association emphasized the importance of free trade agreements and called them vital for Denmark to maintain its lead position in shipping.
"Maritime creates a global cohesion that creates growth and jobs. Danish shipping companies are dependent on the global market. Therefore it is necessary that the EU ensures free trade with these markets," said the Danish Shipowners' Association CEO Anne H. Steffensen.
Source: Danmarks Rederiforening / Maritime Denmark