Industry and globalisation

106th meeting of the Council Working Party on Shipbuilding, 3-4 July 2008


At its 106th meeting held on 3-4 July 2008, the Council Working Party on Shipbuilding (WP6) considered the following items:

Election of Officers of the Working Party

The results of the election for the WP6 Bureau for 2008, which were:

- Chairman:  Ambassador Harald Neple (Norway)

- Vice-Chairmen: . Mr. José-Esteban Pérez (Spain)

                         . Mr. Hideaki Saito (Japan)
                         . Dr. Sung Cheong Kang (Korea)
New WP6 member:

WP6 Delegates welcomed back France which rejoined the Working Party from 1 July 2008.

Funding Arrangements for the WP6

The Shipbuilding Programme operates within Part II of the OECD Budget, which means that those OECD members that wish to support that programme must make special contributions to cover its budget.  The 18 members of the WP6 Delegates considered the funding arrangements and unanimously agreed to support the programme over the next biennium (2009-10).

Renewal of the WP6 Mandate

The WP6 mandate expires on 31 December 2008, and WP6 Delegates considered and agreed on a revised mandate for the period until the end of 2013. The revised mandate, which has been transmitted to the OECD Council for final endorsement, retains the key elements of the existing mandate, with work towards the identification and progressive reduction of factors that distort normal competitive conditions in the shipbuilding industry remaining its primary focus.

In addition, while reaffirming the importance of work on supply and demand conditions in the industry, the WP6 Delegates agreed not to renew the mandate of the Sub-Group on Supply and Demand, which had not met for some years.

Programme of Work and Budget (2009-10)

The WP6 considered a draft Programme of Work and Budget (PWB) for the 2009-10 biennium.  The highest priority in the PWB has been given to preparations for the possible resumption of the negotiations on a new Shipbuilding Agreement. The PWB and also includes activities focusing on the impact of environmental and climate change issues on the shipbuilding industry, the analysis of supply and demand and further examination of subsidies and other support measures. This draft PWB has been forwarded to the OECD Council for consideration in its broader deliberations on the Programme of Work and Budget for the OECD as a whole.

Sector Understanding on Export Credits for Ships (SSU)

The WP6 Delegates received a report from Mr. Yang-Hyun Lim, the Chairman of the informal expert group established to consider certain issues related to the Sector Understanding on Export Credits for Ships.  Delegates heard that an initial meeting of the expert group had allowed participants to lay out their basic positions on the various issues under discussions, and had agreed on an information gathering exercise on current practices with respect to export credits for ships, and the identification of key issues. A further meeting of the expert group has been set for 2-3 December 2008.

The WP6 Delegates were also advised that New Zealand had requested to become a participant to the Sector Understanding on Export Credits for Ships, and that existing participants to the Sector Understanding had agreed to that request.

Interaction between the ship repair/conversion and shipbuilding industries

The WP6 considered a report examining the relationships between these sectors, and noted that the ability (and relative ease) with which yards specialising in one sector could move to another sector, meant that actual, global shipbuilding capacity was very difficult to estimate accurately, and that this could have implications for demand/supply analysis.  Delegates also noted the potential importance of these interactions in any future negotiations on a new Shipbuilding Agreement.

Report on the Shipbuilding Industry in China

Delegates considered a report on the shipbuilding industry in China that had been prepared with the assistance of the China Shipbuilding Economy Research Center. Delegates noted the extent of shipbuilding facilities in operation or under construction, and acknowledged the increasingly important position of China in world shipbuilding.

Analysis of Support Measures

The WP6 considered the final Inventory of support measures (covering the period 2004-06) as well as some associated analysis. The Inventory is considered to be an important tool to ensure transparency and strengthen the likelihood of measures being taken to bring about more competitive conditions in the shipbuilding market.  They also noted the positive signs in the analysis that indicated a significant reduction in the absolute levels of support between this and an earlier Inventory covering the period 1998-2000.

Workshop with non-OECD economies, December 2008

Delegates considered and approved a revised framework for the Workshop with non-OECD economies to be held on 4-5 December 2008. The theme of the Workshop will be “The changing structure of the world shipbuilding industry”, and will contain the following sessions:
- Session 1 - Supply/Demand forecasts and historical price developments
- Session 2 - Changing structure of the world shipbuilding industry
- Session 3 – Government policy responses to those market and industry changes

In addition to topics that had been approved earlier, the Workshop will now also cover input costs and environmental issues. Invitations to the Workshop will be sent to governments and industry in early September 2008.

Report on the Shipbuilding Industry in Vietnam

Delegates considered a report on the shipbuilding industry in Vietnam, prepared with the assistance of the Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (Vinashin). Delegates noted the apparent heavy participation of government in the Vietnamese shipbuilding industry, and endorsed efforts to engage Vietnamese authorities in the work of the WP6 in order to demonstrate the benefits that could be expected from allow the industry to operate on a more commercial basis.

Date of next meeting

The next meeting of the Council Working Party on Shipbuilding will be held in Paris on 4 December 2008.

For further information please contact Mr Danny Scorpecci at




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