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Red Sea Crisis

Greek importers call for help with Red Sea rate hikes

Photo: Dimitri Houtteman - Unsplash Greek flag flying
Importers and exporters based in Piraeus Greece’s largest port have called on the Greek government to help ease the price hikes caused by the new longer routes being adopted by vessels as violence in the Red Sea continues.

The Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in a letter 17 January to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the Finance and Development Ministries, says hikes on transit costs to Europe will ultimately be paid by the consumer, highlighting the domino effect higher consumer prices will have on the economy.

“Prices of imported and other consumer products will surge to new heights in a European market already heavily burdened by inflation, with whatever this may mean for the Eurozone economy, and for the whole of European trade,” wrote the PCCI.

The PCCI pointed out that under the union customs code, a) the freight and b) insurance premiums of the goods are added to the customs value, i.e. CIF prices. This provision is based on the agreement on the implementation of article VII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

“The chamber believes immediate measures should be taken at a central European level so that, with appropriate directives, goods transported from Asia to Europe by ships circumnavigating Africa may not be subject to customs and tax charges at 100% of the current, and ever-increasing, rates, but be reduced to a percentage corresponding to the average levels of rates that would be paid when ships normally transit the Suez Canal,” said the PCCI.

The trade body called for “a type of ceiling” to rate charges, based on prices of 12 December for as long as the war in the Red Sea lasts.