The tax benefits described in 'cheap' flag regulations are very influential in the registration of marine vessels. Countries or territories that operate open vessel registers are, as a rule, tax havens. This also means that the registration of marine vessels is currently just one source of income for tax havens thanks to preferential tax regulations. Sea transport is dependent to a far greater extent on tax havens than other branches of the economy. This is due to the character of the maritime economy as well as the tradition of registering vessels under 'cheap' flags. Competition among countries interested in the development of their own maritime economy is very characteristic, and open vessel registers are one such form of competition. This phenomenon is not only apparent among OECD and third world countries, but also among the 'cheap' flag countries. This competition is largely characterized by international tax competition.
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