EC TOUTS SUCCESS OF MARITIME FORUM

EC TOUTS SUCCESS OF MARITIME FORUM

The European Community Commission said its initiative to boost the EC's maritime industry is reaping dividends.

The Maritime Industry Forum established by the commission in late 1991 had created synergies between different sectors of the industry, said Martin Bangemann, industry commissioner.The forum, essentially a talking shop for different maritime sectors ranging from shipping and shipbuilding to ports and equipment manufacturers, has made "real progress," he said.

The EC's maritime industry, which had been in decline and on the defensive, is now a dynamic, high-technology sector able to meet international competition, Mr. Bangemann said.

The forum published its first report last June calling for an EC supported action program to boost coastal and feeder shipping and to link them with other transport modes.

The report also called on the EC to make a global accord on shipbuilding subsidies in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development a priority.

The commission said it is considering the establishment of a permanent secretariat to assist the Forum.

Mr. Bangemann and Abel Matutes, EC transport commissioner, will attend a high level meeting of the forum today in Trieste, Italy.