The Office of International Activities is responsible for coordinating the Maritime Administration’s participation in international activities concerned with maritime transportation matters, and for keeping abreast of and engaged in foreign economic and political developments which may affect United States maritime transport interests.
It is the overall mission of the Maritime Administration’s Office International Activities to work on behalf of U.S. carriers and shippers, and the interest of the U.S. Government in seeking to improve maritime transport relations with certain countries and to ensure U.S. carriers’ participation in the transport of U.S. international trade cargoes, in a secure, safe and competitive transportation environment. A major focus of this effort is directed at facilitating carriers’ access to foreign trade cargoes and, if warranted, negotiating reciprocal foreign market access treatment for U.S. carriers in international trade, including access to port and cargo handling facilities and the ability to establish connecting inter-modal truck and rail services. The Office of International Activities also acts as the foreign affairs ombudsman to resolve diplomatic problems for the maritime industry. As a result of these efforts, the U.S. industry benefits through improved market access, increased revenues, and generally improved operating efficiency in international trade for carriers and shippers, as well shipbuilders.
The Maritime Administration participates as a member of inter-agency teams conducting multilateral activities at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Labor Organization (ILO), World Trade Organization (WTO), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Transportation Working Group and Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Committee on Ports (CIP). In conjunction with the United States Trade Representative and other government agencies, the Maritime Administration also frequently participates on the U.S. teams negotiating free trade agreements with other countries.
Bilateral agreements include direct contacts with foreign government or groups within foreign governments, on specific problems affecting the maritime industry.