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    • 12/06/2019
    • News

    Does your company recognize the importance of EU customs compliance?

    Brexit has raised awareness among economic operators of the relevance of EU customs law to their supply chain operations. Against that background, one legitimate and timely question is whether the importance of complying with EU customs law is sufficiently recognised within your company, and if so, where EU customs compliance sits – or should sit – within your company’s organigram. Both issues are addressed by Van Bael & Bellis partner Pablo Muñiz in this article recently published in The Global Legal Post. Although there is never a one-size-fits-all-solution, Pablo’s article may be helpful to initiate a debate about these issues within your company and hopefully lead to an interesting and challenging internal discussion. The article is available at http://www.globallegalpost.com/global-view/brexit-is-changing-the-rules-for-eu-customs-law-74291292/?utm_campaign=D1_07_06_19&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter_d1 Please feel free to contact Pablo Muñiz if you would like to discuss further.

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    • 14/05/2019
    • News

    Van Bael & Bellis hosts CEPANI40 seminar on investment arbitration and EU law

    On 8 May 2019, Van Bael & Bellis hosted a CEPANI40 seminar during which experts in EU and arbitration law discussed the intricacies of the relationship between investment arbitration and EU law. CEPANI40 is an organization founded by CEPANI, the Belgian Centre for Arbitration and Mediation, specifically aimed at young professionals with an interest in arbitration. The introductory keynote speech was delivered by Melchior Wathelet, formerly the First Advocate General and Judge at the Court of Justice of the European Union. Following this keynote speech, Van Bael & Bellis counsel Isabelle Van Damme then moderated a panel composed of Mrs Emily Hay (Hanotiau & van den Berg) and Mr. Tim Rusche (European Commission) which discussed the aftermath of the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Achmea. Van Bael & Bellis associate Quentin Declève then moderated a second panel composed of Mr. Colin Brown (European Commission) and Mrs Carinne Pochet (Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) which discussed Opinion 1/17 on the compatibility with EU law of the investment Court System contained in CETA. That panel also discussed the implications of Opinion 1/17 on the current reform of investor-State dispute settlement which is currently being negotiated at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law. Pictures of the event can be consulted here.

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    • 07/05/2019
    • Articles

    CJEU rules that CETA ISDS mechanism is compatible with EU law

    On 30 April 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decided in Opinion 1/17 that the chapter on investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada, of one part, and the European Union and its Member States, of the other part (CETA) is compatible with EU primary law. On 29 January 2019, Advocate General Bot had already reached the same conclusion (for an analysis, see here). Opinion 1/17 removes a significant obstacle to the ratification of CETA by the EU Member States and the ratification of investment protection agreements with, for example, Singapore and Vietnam, which contain similar chapters on ISDS. The Opinion also significantly boosts the European Union negotiating position in the ongoing United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) negotiations on ISDS reform. At the same time, the Opinion might, to some extent, tie the hands of the European Union in negotiating in that forum.

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    • 18/04/2019
    • News

    Ugur Can Hekim speaks at the Horasis Global Meeting 2019

    Van Bael & Bellis lawyer Ugur Can Hekim spoke on 8 April 2019 as a member of a panel at the Horasis Global Meeting in Cascais, Portugal. The topic under discussion was the future ideal regimes of regional trade groupings and their current impact on multilateral trade liberalisation in the era of globalisation. Other speakers on the panel were Mr. Mats Hellström, Sweden’s former Minister for Foreign Trade; Parvis Hanson, President of Manor Group; Michele Orzan, President of European Chamber; Pascal Anosike, Director of the Centre for African Entrepreneurship. The panel was moderated by Mr. Stiphan Beher, CEO of SpaceTek and the former Trade Advisor of Kyrgyz Republic. Horasis events bring together influential groups of business leaders to discuss collaborative approaches to addressing sustainable growth. The meetings are the foremost annual gatherings of business leaders from emerging markets and their global counterparts. The events are open to the Chief Executive Officers of the world’s leading companies. Further information is available here.

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    • 29/03/2019
    • News

    Van Bael & Bellis to host CEPANI40 seminar on investment arbitration and EU law

    Van Bael & Bellis to host CEPANI40 seminar on investment arbitration and EU law

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    • 30/01/2019
    • Articles

    Opinion 1/17 on CETA: Advocate General Bot finds that the investment court system in CETA is compatible with EU law

    On 29 January 2019, Advocate General Bot delivered his long-awaited Opinion (the Opinion) on whether the investment court system (ICS) in Chapter Eight, Section F, of the European Union-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is compatible with European Union (EU) law, in particular with the autonomy of the EU legal order and fundamental rights. The next step in the proceedings before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), initiated by Belgium following complications in its ratification process, is for the CJEU to deliver its Opinion on the same question. This client alert discusses the key elements of the Opinion and the implications of these CJEU proceedings on the European Union’s common commercial policy and its policy of advocating reform of existing investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) and the establishment of a multilateral investment court (MIC).

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    • 24/01/2019
    • News

    Isabelle Van Damme gives testimony to the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee of the UK House of Commons

    On 23 January 2019, Van Bael & Bellis counsel Isabelle Van Damme appeared before the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee of the UK House of Commons in the context of that committee’s inquiry into “Implications of the EU Withdrawal Agreement and the Backstop for Northern Ireland”. During a public evidence session, Isabelle responded to questions of Members of Parliament on, inter alia, the implications of the Withdrawal Agreement and, in particular, the Protocol on Northern Ireland, the future trading relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom and the relevance of WTO law. Isabelle’s appearance before the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Commission was reported in the press, including in the Irish Times and the Guardian. Isabelle previously gave expert evidence to the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee of the UK House of Commons in the context of that committee’s inquiry into “Brexit: Trade in food” on 14 February 2017 and 18 October 2017. Further information on Isabelle’s testimony is available here. The scope of the inquiry of the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee is available here. You can also watch the broadcast that was made of the session here.

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    • 05/12/2018
    • News

    Quentin Declève participates in African round table on the reform of investment protection

    On 22 November 2018, Van Bael & Bellis associate Quentin participated in a high level event on the reform of investment protection organized by the Belgian Federal Public Service of Foreign Affairs. The morning session brought together key stakeholders in the reform of the existing Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms as well as in the plans for a Multilateral Investment Court (MIC). European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, delivered a keynote speech laying out the EU’s plans for a multilateral investment court. This keynote speech was followed by two presentations: one by Meg Kinnear (Secretary-General of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)) and the other by Anna Joubin-Bret (Secretary of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)). Those presentations were followed by two panel discussions which brought together a broad range of stakeholders, including members of trade unions, the OECD and academia, as well as business and arbitration experts. The afternoon session gathered representatives from several African countries (Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, South Africa and Zimbabwe) and was aimed at further discussing the ongoing reform and the specific expectations of African countries. During that session, Quentin spoke about the pro bono technical assistance offered by Van Bael & Bellis to the Republic of Benin in the context of ISDS reform. Representatives from the European Commission, the government of the Netherlands and UNCITRAL also took part in the discussion.

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    • 23/11/2018
    • Articles

    Brexit: trade implications of the draft withdrawal agreement and the draft declaration on the future

    The draft declaration on the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, which was published on 22 November 2018, offers for the first time some insight into the legal framework that is likely to govern trade between the United Kingdom and the European Union after the transition period comes to an end. Van Bael & Bellis has prepared a brief note providing an overview of the trade implications and the timeline of the successive legal frameworks that are envisaged by the draft withdrawal agreement and the draft declaration on the future relationship.

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