Relevant International Organisations, Laws and Conventions
The UK is a member of several international organisations and a signatory of a number of international conventions, laws and agreements. Many of these have a major influence on the maritime industry, especially export oriented sectors both directly or indirectly. Examples include:
International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The United Nations agency that was founded in 1948 (originally as the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organisation; IMCO) is specialised in shipping safety and prevention of pollution by ships. As a member of the IMO, the UK also adopted all its major international treaties and conventions, including the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).
World Customs Organisation (WCO). The WCO which was founded by 13 members of the Committee for European Economic Co-operation is another international organisation with a major influence on the UK maritime industry. One year after the foundation of the Study Group which is the predecessor of today’s WCO, the Committee for European Economic Co-operation also launched the Economic Committee and Customs Committee with the latter being the predecessor of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the former becoming the Customs Co-operation Council (in 1994, it changed its name to the World Customs Organisation).
World Trade Organisation (WTO). Launched in 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, the WTO succeeded the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The WTO regulates trade between member countries and offers a framework for trade agreements as well as resolution of conflicts according to the WTO agreements which have been adopted by all its member countries including the UK.
International Labour Organisation (ILO). The United Nations agency is specialised in labour issues, promotion of fair working conditions for all and establishment of international standards of labour. It is unique among the UN agencies in that it has a tripartite structure representing the workers, employers and the governments. The goal of such structure is to ensure open and free dialogue between all three parties.