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Greece’s Tsipras Moderates Call to Abolish Ship Owner Tax Breaks

Greece’s Syriza party leader Alexis Tsipras asked Greek ship owners to agree tax policy with government, moderating his pledge to abolish tax breaks for ship owners given in a speech on June 1.

“We want a national agreement with ship owners,” Tsipras said in an interview with Bloomberg Television today. “We are aware of the difficulty of the state to tax ship owners.” To deal with these issue Tsipras said his party would seek bilateral agreements with other countries.

Greece’s estimated 762 vessel owners pay no tax on international earnings brought into Greece under rules incorporated in the country’s constitution since 1967. The Syriza party, which opposes Greece’s international bailout and is shown by polls as vying for first place before a June 17 election, has said it wants to abolish the tax breaks.

Ship owners enjoy “58 different tax exemptions”, Tsipras said. “We believe that many shipowners are understanding, and don’t have a complete lack of empathy with Greeks, and they will want to support Greece at what is a difficult moment for our country.”

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