On March 16, 2018, the European Commission released a 10-page list of U.S. products it plans to impose “rebalancing” duties on, in response to the recently adopted US steel tariff measures subjecting imports of steel and aluminum to 25% and 10% duties, respectively (see here for our previous post on this).
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 fourth quarter of 2017.
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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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 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.
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 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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