International Trade Associations

International Chamber of Shipping

Q. What is ICS? What is its field of operation?
Ans. The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is a very important international trade association for the shipping industry, established in 1921, representing shipowners and operators in all sectors and trades.  ICS deals with technical, legal, employment and policy related issues of international shipping. ICS membership comprises National Shipowners’ Associations in Asia, Europe and the Americas.  A major percentage of the world’s merchant tonnage are connected to ICS.  ICS represents shipowners who have impact on shipping, including the IMO. ICS has consultative status with a number of other intergovernmental bodies such as World Customs Organisation, the International Telecommunications Union, the Union Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and the World Meteorological Organisation. The ICS also has interactive relationships with shipping, ports, pilotage, the oil industry, insurance and classification societies, etc. The Asian Shipowners’ Forum and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations are Regional Partners of ICS. ICS also publishes various practices and guidance material.

Q. Name some publications.
Ans. ICS is responsible for many valuable publications:

  • The Bridge Procedures Guide is a very important principal industry guidance on safe bridge procedures.
  • The ICS Tanker Safety Guide (Chemicals) with useful inputs from expertise throughout the industry is a valuable publication. The new edition incorporates 2014 amendments to the SOLAS Convention and includes inerting of chemical tankers and changes made to the FSS Code.
  • Current ICS/ISF Guidelines on the Application of the ISM Code includes latest IMO amendments and guidance. It includes expanded guidance on Safety Management Systems, environmental Management, risk management, safety culture and the role of the Designated Person Ashore (DPA).
  • ICS Guide to Helicopter/Ship Operations reflects current best practice in the international shipping and aviation industries. It has guidance regarding the role and responsibilities of both the ship and helicopter. Latest IACO (aviation) requirements for the safe location/marking of landing and winching areas; transfer of bridge pilots; direction to the bridge wing; actions in respect of helicopter incidents; helicopter landing/operating plans for transmission from the ship to the helicopter operator; etc. are considered.
  • The BIMCO and ICS Manpower Reports are regarded as detailed assessment of global supply of and demand for seafarers.
  • Guidance to demonstrate full compliance with the ISPS Code and to assist shipping companies prepare Ship Security Plans that comply with the IMO, provided by ICS is valuable.

World Trade Organization

Q. What is the most distinguishing feature of World Trade Organization? What are the main areas of operation?
Ans. The World Trade Organization is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. It is a forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements. The WTO started under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 123 nations in 1994.It replaced the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948. The WTO deals with regulation of trade between participating countries by
1. providing a framework for negotiating trade agreements; and
2. providing a dispute resolution process.

Q. In what way WTO helps countries improve their trade practices?
Ans. The WTO agreements are negotiated and signed by several trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. WTO helps countries resolve their trade barriers. The WTO agreements, provide the legal ground rules for international commerce. They are essentially contracts, binding governments to keep their trade policies within agreed limits, helps producers, exporters, and importers conduct their business in a smooth way. The WTO maintains regular dialogue with non-governmental organizations, parliamentarians, other international organizations.

Q. How WTO resolves the business disputes caused in the International business dealings?
Ans. Countries bring disputes to the WTO if they think their rights under the agreements are being infringed. Judgments by specially appointed independent experts are useful in resolving disputes. The most harmonious way to settle the differences caused in contracts is through some neutral procedure based on an agreed legal foundation. WTO uses the experience from previous trade negotiations, especially from the Uruguay Round. The Doha Development Round, which was launched in 2001 focuses on developing countries.

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