CANADA’s west coast maritime hub of Vancouver has joined the list of locations actively chasing Greek shipowners who are wary of possible changes to be made to the industry’s longtime friendly tax regime in Greece.
The newly re-established Vancouver International Maritime Centre is launching its international marketing effort at London International Shipping Week on Wednesday but will then head for a “second launch” in Athens at the Canadian Ambassador’s residence on Monday.
Shipowners in the UK, including a strong contingent ofso-called ‘London Greeks’ are themselves unsettled due to the British government’s promised changes to non-domicile tax laws, which are likely to push a number of longstanding international owners to seek another base by 2017.
However, the key prize on the radar of many aspirant maritime hubs is that of the Greece-based shipowning and shipmanagement community, the world’s largest.
Before resigning abruptly last month, the country’s left-wing Syriza government agreed conditions with international creditors for a new national bailout, including the phasing out of special tax arrangements for shipping. A proposal on this could feature in a new package of austerity measures and reforms expected in October.
However, first the country will go to the polls again on September 20 in a snap general election that is hard to call. The result will have an impact on the details of Greece’s economic policy.
Increased efforts to attract international shipping companies to Vancouver are the result of the federal government and the province of British Columbia partnering the International Ship-Owners Alliance of Canada.
British Columbia is contributing $1m to revitalise the VMIC and has pledged a further $2m in funding over the next two years.
The VMIC team can flaunt Canada’s extremely high ranking as a location for doing business as well as changes made last December to the country’s Income Tax Act that are said to have sharpened its appeal to the shipping community.
According to the centre, these have made Canada an “extremely competitive location” for shipping and foreign companies can manage their international shipping businesses from Canada without their activities being subject to tax in Canada. Read more