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.

If you have any questions regarding the above, do not hesitate to contact fclaprevote@cgsh.com or tmuelleribold@cgsh.com.

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.

Continue Reading EU Reaches Political Agreement On New Anti-Dumping Methodology

As the implementation of China’s first comprehensive cybersecurity law (the “CCL”) progresses, concern is mounting in the international business community regarding the law’s expansive scope, prescriptive requirements and lack of clarity on a range of critical issues. Vocalizing such concern, on September 25, 2017, the United States government asked China to halt its implementation of the CCL and highlighted potential issues with the CCL to members of the World Trade Organization. Since the CCL’s passage, several regulations have been released by the principal agency responsible for its implementation that were intended to implement the provisions of the CCL, but in some cases appear to have further expanded its scope while leaving some critical questions unanswered. In the face of such uncertainties, foreign companies operating in China are advised to familiarize themselves with the requirements of the CCL and its implementation rules and adopt measures to enhance their preparedness for the full implementation of the CCL.

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For additional coverage of topics related to cybersecurity and privacy, we invite you to subscribe to our Cybersecurity and Privacy Watch blog, here.

On September 20, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13810, imposing additional sanctions against North Korea.  Most notably, the new Executive Order provides for a “secondary sanctions” regime, threatening to impose U.S. sanctions against persons engaging in targeted transactions (whether or not they have any connection to the United States). Continue Reading United States Imposes Secondary Sanctions on Dealings with North Korea

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.

Continue Reading Belgium Requests Opinion on Legality of Investment Court System in CETA

On August 25, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order severely restricting transactions in debt and equity of the Government of Venezuela and of state-owned entities; including Petroleos de Venezuela; S.A. (PdVSA). Simultaneously with the Executive Order; OFAC issued a number of general licenses and Frequently Asked Questions relating to the new sanctions. These new actions build on sanctions targeting Venezuelan officials; discussed here; and continue the trend toward targeted “bespoke” sanctions short of full blocking of all transactions with a targeted regime or country.

The new sanctions:

  • Prohibit dealings in existing debt of the Government of Venezuela (and its controlled entities) by U.S. persons or within U.S. jurisdiction; subject to an extensive list of exceptions for specified issuances;
  • Prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within U.S. jurisdiction in new debt of the Government of Venezuela with a duration of longer than 30 days and of PdVSA with a duration of longer than 90 days; or new equity of any state-controlled entity;
  • Bar the purchase of securities from the Government of Venezuela within U.S. jurisdiction; other than permitted new debt; and
  • Bar all distributions of profits and earnings within U.S. jurisdiction to the Government of Venezuela by state-owned entities.

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On July 30, 2017, new Federal Law No. 165-FZ of July 18, 2017 entered into effect, introducing amendments (the “Amendments”) to Federal Law No. 160-FZ “On Foreign Investments in the Russian Federation” of July 9, 1999 and Federal Law No. 57-FZ “On the Order of Accomplishing Foreign Investment in Entities Having Strategic Importance for Procuring State Defence and Security” of April 29, 2008 (the “FSIL”). The Amendments, among other things, granted the Government of the Russian Federation a discretionary power to decide whether a transaction by a foreign investor in respect of any business entity incorporated in Russia is subject to a prior governmental control in accordance with the procedure set forth by the FSIL, even if such transaction does not involve any strategically important Russian entity. Significant changes were also introduced into the FSIL. The alert memorandum summarizes the key provisions of the Amendments.

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Background

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