Yard Anti-Subsidy Bill Advanced By House Panel

Bills to combat foreign shipbuilding subsidies and to impose access fees on users of the Federal Maritime Commission's computerized shipping rate-filing system were approved recently by the House's tax-writing committee.

Action on the foreign shipbuilding subsidy bill is intended to send a message to negotiators at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, who have been trying for over two years to draft a bill phasing out shipyard subsidies. Vessel operators are required by the bill to certify that construction subsidies either were not paid or paid back before their ships are allowed to enter U.S. ports.

Approval of a fee to gain access to FMC tariff information was included in legislation to repeal Coast Guard decal fees on recreational boaters. Earlier this year, a fee of 35 cents a minute on both primary and secondary users of the automated system, which goes into operation next year, was proposed by the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee as an alternative revenue source to offset the Coast Guard decal fee.

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