This Trade Summary provides an overview of WTO dispute settlement decisions and panel activities, and EU decisions and measures on commercial policy, customs policy and external relations, for the third quarter of 2017.
On October 3, 2017, the EU Parliament, the Council, and the Commission reached an agreement on changes to the EU anti-dumping and anti-subsidy legislation. (See our previous posts on China’s status and the public consultation.) Concurrently, however, the 2013 Commission’s proposal on the Modernization of Trade Defense Instruments (covering inter alia amendments to the “lesser duty rule”) is still undergoing internal negotiations.
On September 6, 2017, Belgium requested an opinion from the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) on whether the investment protection rules set out in Chapter Eight of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (“CETA”) conform to EU Treaties. This request stems from the last-minute deal between Belgium and its regional governments on October 27, 2016, which essentially sought to appease Wallonia’s concerns regarding investor protection and the new Investment Court System (“ICS”) and unblocking domestic opposition to the signing of CETA.
In a “Future Partnership Paper” released on August 15, the UK presented two options for a customs regime upon its exit from the EU.
On August 2, 2017, President Donald Trump signed a bill imposing new sanctions on Russia. Days earlier, the proposed legislation sparked a vigorous reaction in the European Union.
On July 26, 2017, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned of “unintended unilateral effects that impact the EU’s energy security interests”. In the same vein, the French government opined that the extra-territorial reach of the text appears to breach international law. The German and Austrian governments also issued a joint statement disapproving of the proposal’s encroachment into European energy supply matters. Continue Reading EU Reacts to Impact of Russia Sanctions Bill on European Energy Investments
On July 6, 2017, the EU and Japan announced an “Agreement in Principle” on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (“EPA”). Negotiations on “the world’s largest, free, industrialised economic zone” began in 2013, and have now culminated in a political agreement which sets out the commitments of both Parties on numerous topics. While parts of the draft text have been published, many issues remain under negotiation. Nonetheless, the EPA provides useful guidance on what European and Japanese businesses can plausibly expect from this deal. A summary of key issues is set out below. Continue Reading Opening Up European and Japanese Markets: What the EU-Japan Trade Deal Means for Businesses
Fifteen years ago, China joined the World Trade Organization (“WTO”). To alleviate concerns of cheap Chinese goods flooding international markets at that time, China agreed to allow other WTO members to continue conducting their anti-dumping calculations in a special way, thereby recognizing the concerns of certain members that prices of Chinese goods could be distorted due to state interference. This methodology considered China as a “non-market economy” (“NME”). In a nutshell, this means other countries can disregard Chinese prices or costs, and can use “alternative methods” (external benchmarks, such as hypothetical costs of a third country) to determine the margin of dumping in an investigation. In doing so, authorities will typically end up levying higher anti-dumping duties on Chinese goods.
It took eight years to get to this point, but the dramatic rollercoaster of Canada-EU free trade negotiations will soon start to bear fruit. On May 11, 2017, the Canadian Senate passed Bill C-30, the CETA Implementation Act. Royal Assent was received on May 16. Earlier, on February 15, 2017, the European Parliament approved the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (“CETA”). This means that the path will very soon be clear for most of the agreement to be applied on a provisional basis, pending institution of relevant Canadian regulations.
In recent times, the EU and its trade partners have cranked up momentum on the establishment of a multilateral investment court, with the aim of replacing ad hoc arbitration provisions in investor-state dispute settlement (“ISDS”) for the protection of investors. In our previous post, we noted that this has caused some debate in the Canada-EU trade deal, where this provision led to objections by numerous member states, as well as last minute blocking of Belgium’s approval to the trade accord.
On March 30 – 31, 2017, Cleary Gottlieb hosted a conference on The Future of Trade Defence Instruments: Global Policy Trends and Legal Challenges. The event was jointly organized together with the University of Passau, the Europa-Institut Saarbrücken, the Institute of European and International Economic Law & the World Trade Institute – University of Berne.