In preparation for its independent trade remedy framework, the UK government has launched a Call for Evidence on November 28, 2017 to identify UK businesses that produce goods currently subject to EU anti-dumping or anti-subsidy measures. Currently, all trade remedy activities applying in the UK (for example investigations, decisions, and monitoring) are undertaken by the European Commission under the EU’s common commercial policy.  Post-Brexit, the UK plans to operate its own trade remedy regime through the “UK Trade Remedies Authority”. (See here for our previous post on the trade and customs bills establishing these powers.) Continue Reading UK Government Seeks Views from Businesses on Maintaining Existing Trade Remedy Measures Post-Brexit

In November 2017, the UK Government took its first legislative steps in preparation for its post-Brexit trade regime.  On November 7, the Trade Bill was introduced for a first reading in the House of Commons.  Separate from the imminent trade deal it must strike with the EU (once progress on Brexit withdrawal negotiations are deemed satisfactory by all parties concerned), the UK is now sketching out its own international trade powers that will allow it to shape its relationships with partners worldwide.

Subsequently, on November 20, the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill (the “Customs Bill”) was introduced for a first reading in the House of Commons.  The core elements of these two bills are described below. Continue Reading UK Government Prepares for Post-Brexit Trade and Customs Regimes in Two New Bills

On October 17, 2017, the UK Government published legislative proposals that would give it greater powers to intervene in mergers that raise national security considerations or involve national infrastructure.  In the short-term, any transaction involving a party active in the manufacture or design of products for military use or in the “advanced technology” sector could face review on public interest grounds where the target’s UK turnover exceeded £1 million.  In the longer-term, an even wider set of transactions – including bare asset sales and investments in new projects – could be scrutinised on national security grounds and be subject to mandatory notification to the UK Government before being allowed to proceed.

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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

On September 13, 2017, the European Commission (the “Commission”) announced a proposal to set up a new EU-wide framework for screening foreign direct investment (“FDI”) into the European Union.  The proposal, set out in a draft Regulation, provides for: (i)  new foreign investment review powers for the Commission; (ii) a harmonized approach in screening FDI; (iii) specific criteria to be considered when reviewing investments; and, (iv) a cooperation mechanism between Member States and the Commission.  Continue Reading EU Plans Tighter Vetting of Foreign Investments

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

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

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