The opening, during Hong Kong Shipping Week, was attended by the ICS Chairman and Secretary General as well as the Chinese Vice Minister for Transport, and was preceded by a dinner hosted by the Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive, Carrie Lam.
The new ICS Liaison Office reflects the great importance which ICS members attach to good relations with the Government of China and other major stakeholders within the Chinese shipping industry, including the China Shipowners’ Association (CSA). China is expected to emerge as the world’s leading maritime power during the next 10 years, in terms of the tonnage it controls, its shipbuilding capacity and its increasing influence at global regulatory bodies such as IMO.
China’s economy is on the verge of becoming the largest in the world. With regard to maritime imports/exports, it is already the most important due to its impact on global demand for maritime trade. With respect to ICS’s core objectives, maintaining China’s
strong support for a global system of maritime governance is seen as a critical issue during the immediate years ahead. The impact of Chinese domestic regulations on non-Chinese ships trading to China is also of increasing importance to ICS members.
The immediate function of the new ICS office will be to increase mutual co-operation and understanding between the Government of China and ICS with respect to important longer term regulatory issues being considered at the global level. In particular, such issues include the delivery of the ambitious IMO Strategy for the reduction of GHG emissions by international shipping, and the maintenance of maritime free trade principles and a rules based global trading system.