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State Council approves shipbuilding stimulus plan

State Council approves shipbuilding stimulus plan

Beijing:  China's State Council, the Cabinet, adopted a boosting plan Wednesday for the country's shipbuilding industry.
The plan was reviewed and approved at a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao.
The meeting agreed to increase credit support by an unspecified amount for ship buyers. It also decided to extend the existing financial support policies for oceangoing vessels until 2012. These policies include tax rebates on key imported components for domestically owned oceangoing ships.
Importantly, it said construction of new docks and the expansion of slipways should be suspended for three years to facilitate industrial restructuring. This moratorium gives a clue as to how long the mandarins in Beijing believe shipping's malaise will last.
The State Council also recommended investment in research and development of facilities to build high-technology ships and maritime engineering equipment and promote technical innovation.
It is understood that the meeting also urged greater consolidation in the sector and there is a chance further rulings will be promulgated if the industry continues to falter, including cutting the mandatory age for scrapping ships on the mainland, which is up to 10 years longer than the international norm.
The China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry estimates new orders this year will slide by 50% this year.  [12/02/09]

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