News & Insights

  • 23/05/2019
  • News

Van Bael & Bellis launches the sixth edition of its “EU Anti-Dumping and Other Trade Defence Instruments"

The definitive book on EU trade defence law appears in a fully updated sixth edition. As comprehensive in its coverage as its predecessors, this new edition of the Van Bael & Bellis book on “EU Anti-Dumping and Other Trade Defence Instruments” provides incisive analysis and critical commentary on all relevant aspects of the EU trade defence instruments as actually applied by the EU Institutions against the backdrop of WTO law. The book covers every issue likely to arise in any trade defence matter and examines the numerous cases decided under the EU anti-dumping, countervailing, safeguard and trade barriers regulations, including all of the following and more: • determining the dumping and injury margins; • rules for the determination of permissible adjustments; • clarification of the terms ‘significant distortions’ and ‘distortions on raw materials’; • determining the subsidy margin; • determining the causal link between dumping or subsidy and injury; • determining if “Union interest” calls for intervention; • examining the differences between anti-dumping and anti-subsidy legislation; • procedural rules applicable to complaints, initiation of proceedings, investigations, protective measures, reviews and refunds; • conditions for accepting an undertaking; • measures that may be taken to prevent ‘circumvention’ of anti-dumping or countervailing measures; • rules governing the standing of various interested parties before the European Courts; • allocation and administration of quantitative quotas; and • surveillance measures. As a detailed and practical commentary on the relevant aspects of the EU trade defence instruments as actually applied by the EU institutions in the light of WTO law, the sixth edition of this book remains without peer as a guide to EU trade defence law. To order a copy of the book from Kluwer, click on this link.

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    • 06/04/2020
    • Articles

    Unemployment due to force majeure | Practical questions

    The Government recently decided that all employers facing economic difficulties due to the Covid-19 crisis may rely on the regime of temporary unemployment due to force majeure for their employees (See, our previous newsflashes of 10 March and 19 March 2020. In addition, the regime has been simplified so that the employer only needs to submit an electronic declaration to the authorities and the employees subsequently must fill out their personal details via an online form in order to receive payment of the unemployment benefits.

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    • 06/04/2020
    • Articles

    Belgian DPA Publishes Direct Marketing Recommendation

    In its first general recommendation of 2020, the Belgian Data Protection Authority published useful guidance for direct marketing activities. Direct marketing is marked as a “priority sector” in the recently presented strategic plan of the Data Protection Authority. In this context, the recent recommendation provides welcome clarifications for the challenging task of aligning direct marketing with the protection of personal data. The recommendation discusses the roles of the various players in the direct marketing field, defines key concepts and provides an overview of how the GDPR’s data protection principles can be applied to direct marketing. The Data Protection Authority illustrates its recommendation with practical examples and recent decisions by supervisory authorities in various EU Member States.

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    • 06/04/2020
    • Articles

    Dutch Competition Authority Accepts Roche Commitments Regarding Supply of Testing Materials for SARS-CoV-2 Test

    Autoriteit Consument en Markt, the Dutch competition authority (“ACM”), published on 3 April 2020 a press release expressing satisfaction with commitments made by Roche Diagnostics (“Roche”) regarding the supply of testing materials for the SARS-CoV-2 test (see, attachments). Roche, which ACM says has a “key position” for testing equipment and materials in The Netherlands, had been accused of withholding such materials, including lysis buffer solution, a reagent used to break open cells. On 26 March 2020, the Dutch second Parliamentary Chamber even voted a resolution which observed a shortage of that solution, attributed blame for the alleged shortage to Roche, and called on the government to compel Roche to share the recipe, if necessary by relying on a compulsory patent licence. Roche rejected the allegations and pointed out that it had not even claimed patent protection for the recipe. According to Roche, which pointed out that it developed the first SARS-CoV-2 test in record time, the issue had arisen because Roche could not guarantee the safety and reliability of test results if the reagents were produced in facilities not under its control. For its part, ACM made it clear that Roche had exhibited a “constructive attitude” by sharing the recipe for lysis buffer solution and helping in expanding production. This is why ACM did not consider further action necessary. In passing, ACM pointed out that it had worked closely with the European Commission as many Member States are grappling with similar problems.

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    • 02/04/2020
    • News

    Van Bael & Bellis successfully assists Hansol Paper in obtaining the annulment of the EU anti-dumping duty on imports of lightweight thermal paper from Korea

    Van Bael & Bellis successfully assisted the Korean company Hansol Paper in its application for annulment of the anti-dumping duties imposed on imports of Lightweight Thermal Paper (LWTP) from Korea. The General Court upheld 4 of the 5 pleas in law raised by Hansol Paper. The Court found that the Commission had erred in its determination of both the dumping margin (including the determination of the normal value) and the undercutting margin. The case is important since it confirms that the Commission’s undercutting margin calculation method is inconsistent with the case law of the Court and with the Basic Regulation. Jean-François Bellis and Benoit Servais assisted Hansol Paper in this matter. The judgment can be found here

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    • 31/03/2020
    • Articles

    Pharmaceuticals Remain Focus for Belgian Competition Authority in 2020

    The Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) has just published its annual policy note which sets out its enforcement priorities for the year (see, attachments). The pharmaceutical sector is once more one of the BCA’s principal targets for action and, as the BCA indicates, this is not different from an approach followed by other competition authorities around Europe. The BCA is known to be pursuing cases in the sector actively (see e.g., Van Bael & Bellis Life Sciences News alert of 8 October 2019). It also adopted several infringement decisions against a pharmacists’ association in 2019 (see e.g., Van Bael & Bellis Life Sciences News alerts of 5 June 2019, 24 June 2019 and 17 October 2019). Additionally, its chief prosecutor in competition matters had occasion to explain the BCA’s handling of the sector during a hearing of the federal Chamber of Representatives in October 2019 (https://www.dekamer.be/FLWB/PDF/55/0758/55K0758001.pdf). Apart from the pharmaceutical sector and in line with previous years, the BCA will target distribution, logistics, service providers and telecommunications and will continue to monitor procurement matters. Finally, it will also tackle the digital economy.

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    • 31/03/2020
    • Articles

    Data Protection Authorities Provide Guidance on Processing of Personal Data in Context of COVID-19 Outbreak

    The outbreak of the new Corona virus COVID-19 has caused various emergencies with novel challenges for many organisations collecting and processing personal data, such as: • Employers monitor employees working from home; request employees and visitors to report risk factors such as travelling or exposure to people with flu-like symptoms; may need to report that an employee is infected with COVID-19 to other employees; • physicians and pharmaceutical companies may wish to use data to investigate new treatments; • authorities enforce lockdown measures by video cameras and tracking phones; and • health authorities need detailed test results and other health data to map virus spreads and keep detailed statistics.

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    • 31/03/2020
    • Newsletters

    VBB on Competition Law, Volume 2020, No. 3

    The March 2020 issue of our newsletter, VBB on Competition Law, which covers major developments in competition law at both the European Union and Member State levels.    Click below to view and download the issue.

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    • 30/03/2020
    • News

    Gabriele Coppo speaks at the ERA Annual Conference on EU Environmental Law

    On 19-20 March 2020, Van Bael & Bellis partner Gabriele Coppo participated as a speaker in the online livestream Annual Conference on EU Environmental Law organised by ERA. Gabriele's presentation focused on linkages between EU trade law and environmental policy. Gabriele also spoke on a panel discussing Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in the wake of CJEU Opinion 1/17 and the Achmea Case (C-284/16). Other speakers included, inter alia, Valerie Fogleman, Professor of Law at Cardiff University School of Law and Politics, Franck Lecomte, Legal Secretary to Judge Toader, CJEU, Milena Novakova, Legal and Policy Officer, DG Environment, European Commission, Colin T. Reid, Professor of Law at the University of Dundee, Christoph Sobatta, Legal Secretary to AG Kokott, CJEU.

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    • 30/03/2020
    • Articles

    European Commission Offers Guidance on Foreign Direct Investment and Protection of Europe’s Healthcare Capacities

    On 25 March 2020, the European Commission (the Commission) published guidance to the Member States of the EU concerning the limitation of foreign direct investment (“FDI”) and free movement of capital from third countries in order to protect Europe’s strategic assets, especially its healthcare capacities (see, attachment). The Commission considers that, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, there could be “an increased risk of attempts from non-EU investors to acquire healthcare capacities (for example for the production of medical or protective equipment) or related industries such as research establishments (for instance developing vaccines) via foreign direct investment”. According to the Commission, if left unchecked, FDI could hamper the EU’s capacity to cover the health needs of its citizens. Since the responsibility for screening FDI lies with EU Member States, the Commission calls upon them to (i) make full use of their screening mechanisms “to take fully into account the risks to critical health infrastructures, supply of critical inputs, and other critical sectors”; and (ii) to set up a screening mechanism if they do not yet have one “and in the meantime to use all other available options”. EU Member States should thus avert FDI liable to “create a risk to security or public order in the EU, including a risk to critical health infrastructures and supply of critical inputs”. The Commission also refers to Regulation (EU) 2019/452 establishing a framework for the screening of FDI into the Union (FDI Screening Regulation), which will apply as of 11 October 2020. The FDI Screening Regulation lists critical health infrastructure among the factors which may be taken into consideration in determining whether FDI is likely to affect security or public order. The FDI Screening Regulation also sets up a cooperation mechanism between the Commission and Member States in order to tackle FDI that creates risks in several Member States. Finally, the Commission provides guidance on the possible justifications for restricting capital movements.

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