Foreign Nations Urged To Crack Down On Soviet Rate-Slashing

The National Maritime Council, Washington, D.C., has urged major foreign shipping line executives and foreign maritime labor union leaders in eight countries to press their own governments to crack down on Soviet rateslashing practices in oceangoing trade.

James R. Barker, chairman of the NMC board of governors, has written to maritime labor and management leaders in England, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, France, Sweden, Norway and Holland informing them that President Carter has signed into law the Controlled Carriers Act of 1978.

The act, he explained, empowers the Federal Maritime Commission to ascertain that statecontrolled ships trading in the United States must charge rates that are compensatory.

Mr. Barker said the new law is "aimed principally at the Soviet Union, which for the past few years has operated its vessels in our trades at rates so low as to make it impossible for free-nation lines to compete." He said this practice has been "common to the Soviet (merchant) fleet and Eastern European fleets throughout the world." Mr. Barker, whose organization represents major shipbuilders, operators shoreside, and seafaring unions in the U.S.-flag shipping industry, said "these unfair trading practices . . . constitute a serious threat to the economies and security of the nations outside the Soviet sphere." He asked his foreign counterparts "to urge the appropriate officials of your government (s) to act forcefully in taking steps to assure that the rates of the Soviet and Eastern European vessels in your . . . trades are fair and compensatory."

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 42,  Dec 15, 1978 Connecticut

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