The members of the Popular Party Group in the Parliament discussed and listened to the claims of the nautical entrepreneurs in a recent meeting with the heads of the principal nautical associations.
During a two day event at the headquarters of CEOE in Madrid the first edition of this forum was held in an attempt to get all the mayor players of the industry together.
Organized by the National Association of the Nautical Enterprises (ANEN), the congress enjoyed the patronage of the Barcelona Boat Show and Volvo Penta Spain, with the collaboration of Yachtsman (boat insurance), Yamaha Spain, Register A Yacht.com, Iusavant and CGI Finance.
Nautical legislation. Objetive: to continue developing own framework
In this section two drafts of a law were discussed, firstly the Bill of Law of Maritime Navigation, which – as explained by Julio Fuentes (the Subdirector of the Legislative Policies of the General Technical Secretariat of the Justice Ministry), incorporates and regulates for the first time the recreational nautical activity by differentiating it from the merchant marine. This achievement is a fruit of the work carried out by ANEN with this administration.
The future Ministerial Order that regulates the Recreational Boating Qualifications was another prominent theme in the discussions. According to Benito Nuñez Quintanilla (Adviser of the Director General of the Merchant Navy), the new normative is very complex to draft, for its ambitiousness and because it introduces profound reforms to adapt the legislation to the current reality and to meet the international standards. Amongst the main modifications to be introduced stand out the reduction of nautical qualifications, the elimination of the boat length limitation in the qualifications, the extension of navigation areas and the increase of practical training on the cost of theoretical learning , as well as an update of course subjects.
New route of collaboration between the sector and the Department of Custioms and Special Taxes
The export and import procedures of recreational vessels occupied the debate in the second panel discussion of the congress. After an explanatory speech about the differences between the temporary importation rule and tourist registration, the General Subdirector of Inspection and Investigation of the Customs and Special Taxes Department, Maria Angeles Marín listened to the various problems the companies in the sector face when processing the paper work relating to these issues. The Subdirector expressed her willingness to cooperate through ANEN to solve these difficulties and even to revise the current normative.
For his part, Gabriel González, the Director of RegisterAYacht.com, explained the different international nautical registrations for recreational vessels. Very useful information, which is the “talk of the town” in the sector since the possibility opened up for a Spanish fiscal resident to flag his/her boat in any European registry (provided all the corresponding taxes are paid).
Why the Spanish companies don´t export more?
The national export figures are one of the economic indicators to measure growth, and exports could be an important avenue to to battle the crisis. However, the small and medium size companies in Spain do not export, as Antonio Fontanini ( the Director General of the CEOE International) declared in his intervention at the congress, and affirmed that it is a problem of attitude and fear to take a step out of the box.
Fontanini presented the program CEOE has started to overcome this reluctance by helping small and medium enterprises in their export processes, in a way that each company can be assessed individually according to the market where it intends to export its goods and services. Without a doubt a very interesting tool for the nautical sector.
Sharing the vision of Fontanini that in Spain we don´t believe in our own capabilities, Fernando León (the Head of the Department of Promotion of Services of ICEX), explained all the tools ICEX has available for the companies. He highlighted the “a la carte services”, personalized help that is offered through the economic and commercial network of ICEX offices to the companies who make an effort to extend their business abroad.
The panel discussion about International Markets and Competitiveness was rounded up with two practical cases. One of them was explained by the Director of Marketing of the Fira de Barcelona, Albert Planas, who shared the success story of the international commercial strategy of this institution. He illustrated this strategy with the examples of the the fairs organized by Fira which have become international model cases like the Mobile World Congress or CONSTRUMAT, amongst others.
Victor González, the Director of Yamaha Spain, presented the successful trajectory of his company and insisted in the necessity to “adapt to its environment” as one of the fundamental principles of a company.
What is so harmful about recreational yachting as to be levied a special tax?
This blunt question was put forth by Raúl Burillo, an Inspector of the Tax Office in his speech at the congress. Burillo, who has a vast knowledge of the taxation system that affects the sector following his job as the Special Delegate of the Balearic Tax Office until the year 2010, described the matriculation tax to be unfair and provided some hints as how the sector can try to justify the suggested modifications to the Administration.
The matriculation tax is an unfair tax, Burillo pointed out, as it burdens the recreational yachting which stimulates the tourism and drives other the economical sectors related to tourism. However, it is penalized with a lot higher tax rate than in any other country nearby (12% on the purchase of vessels over 8 m for private use, or in the case of charter boats it is applied to vessels over 15 m).
How the communication, marketing and opportunities for the nautical sector have evolved in the age of internet
This was the topic of the last panel discussion of the congress, in which Carmen Herrero (responsible for the strategy 2.0 of ANEN) addressed the change in the ways and means of communication and marketing during the last five years. Herrero highlighted the opportunities the social media offers in the way of marketing and sales tools, a challenge that the nautical sector should not let pass.
Closing speech by the Director General of the Merchant Navy
Once again the Direction General of the Merchant Navy has expressed his support and involvement with the sector, with the participation of it´s Director General, Rafael Rodriguez Valero, who ratified the words of their Advisor referring to the future normative of the nautical qualifications.
The Director general of the Merchant Navy declared that the team he leads is working intensively so that the new rules will become reality before the end of the year 2013. At the same time, he took the opportunity to express the support of the Direction General to ANEN, in the quest find a solution to one of the main burdens to the sector, the matriculation tax.