In recent years, the shipbuilding market has shown a major shift towards the East, particularly Japan, Korea and China (the last two having attracted a large shipbuilding capacity since the mid-1990s). This movement has prompted the European Commission to issue a proposal for a Council Decision on the signing and conclusion of an International Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Korea relating to assistance of the world shipbuilding market (Com/2000/263, 3 May 2000 and Com/2000/0130, 26 May 2000). With the ban on single-hull tankers (see Chapter 20), there has been a boom in orders for building new double-hull tankers in the last six years. Furthermore, since the first edition of this book, there have been initiatives to improve the quality of new ships. The IMO has recently developed standards for shipbuilding called ‘the goal based standards’ and, in addition, there has been a tripartite dialogue between ship owners, shipbuilders and classification societies, through IACS, to discuss their mutual interest in ensuring that ships are fit for purpose. The discussions relate to shipbuilding standards, contractual relationships and yard capacity.