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June 1, 2005

Norwegian shipowners look for Singapore tax breaks

More Norwegian shipowners are looking to move their business to Singapore, according to Oslo-based international maritime law firm Wikborg Rein.

"Recent years have seen a growing number of Norwegian owners show an interest in moving their business to Singapore due to the stable political environment and strong economic links with China, India and the ASEAN countries," says Are Zachariassen, partner at Wikborg Rein.

Zachariassen says "a number of mechanisms, when combined, may enable Norwegian shipping investors in Singapore to receive tax-free profits from shipping."

Under proposed changes to the Norwegian tonnage tax system, vessels involved in the petrochemical industry will no longer qualify for the Norwegian tonnage tax scheme. Meanwhile, in Singapore, recently introduced regulations now allow vessels such as drillships, jack-ups and semi-submersible units to fly the Singapore flag for the first time.

Singapore is already home to many leading shipping companies and service providers to the shipping industry. According to Stephen Fordham who heads up Wikborg Rein's office in Singapore, this only serves to make it even more attractive.


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