[lbo-talk] Germany targets Greek shipping industry under cover of austerity

Marv Gandall marvgand2 at gmail.com
Fri Aug 7 10:29:17 PDT 2015

Those who scoff at the possibility of Greece successfully leaving the eurozone neglect the fact that the Greek shipping industry is a world leader which, as today’s Wall Street Journal reports, has been “extending its dominance” over its German rival. The privately-owned Greek shipping lines account for 7.5% of Greece’s GNP and employ 200,000 workers. The Greek left has called for nationalization of the industry, both to redirect its profits to public use and to break the political power of the Greek oligarchy. Instead, the Syriza government has agreed to measures, at the behest of the German-led troika, designed to make the Greek industry less competitive.

According to the Journal, “as part of early talks with its creditors, Athens has agreed to increase its tonnage tax—a flat, annual rate, based on a ship’s capacity, that is now roughly harmonized across the European Union. Greece also would gradually abolish some tax benefits that other EU countries also offer…shipowners say that if the tax changes are enacted, Greece would become one of the most expensive countries in the EU in which to own a ship. That could lead many owners to abandon the country for other shipping centers, such as London, Dubai and Singapore.”


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