Spain denounces ‘selective’ Dutch leasing system
Two Spanish marine organisations have denounced the Dutch financial leasing system for vessels which it calls ‘selective’ and have presented a paper to the European Commission on the issue.
The Association of Maritime Industries of the Basque Country (ADIMDE) and The Basque Maritime Forum, have warned that Dutch shipyards, in spite of accounting with a tax lease system which violate the European Union laws, have been “conducting random attacks" against the legitimate interests of the Spanish shipbuilding sector.
They say that this is with the intention of eliminating Spanish shipyards from the European and international markets.
The organisations want activity in 2009, 2010 and 2011 investigated in order to determine whether selectivity has been taking place and if this, together with other tax incentives for the acquisition of vessels in Holland, constitutes state aid that could translate into a 35% subsidy of the cost per vessel.
Spain itself has been criticised in the past for similar favourable treatment of its own shipbuilders. In June 2011 and as a consequence of an EC investigation procedure in relation with the Spanish Tax Lease System, Spanish shipyards were deprived of the opportunity to compete under the same conditions as other European shipyards.
Since then, The Netherlands has emerged as Spain’s stiffest competition. Before June 2011, ADIMDE says the country had only contracted four vessels for an amount of US$200m, however, after the opening of the investigation in Spain, The Netherlands closed the year with a 29 vessel order book and a billing of US$1600m.
Spanish shipbuilding is suffering – six shipyards have shut down and three are currently undergoing insolvency proceedings – add to this the amount of marine businesses that have also folded because of their reliance on the shipyards and it amounts to worrying times for the country.
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