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    • 01/07/2020
    • Articles

    European Commission’s White Paper on Levelling the Playing Field as regards Foreign Subsidies

    Key Takeaway: The EU (and Member States) may be given new, far-reaching powers to tackle the perceived harmful effects of third-country subsidies benefitting businesses operating in the EU. Remedies could be imposed limiting participation in all sectors of the internal market, including prohibiting businesses from making subsidised acquisitions and participating in public procurement in the EU. On 17 June 2020, the European Commission (the “Commission”) published a White Paper on how to respond to third countries giving subsidies to companies active in the EU (“foreign subsidies”). In an effort to level the playing field, the Commission proposes new tools to address what it perceives as unfair competition from foreign players in the EU’s internal market. The Commission considers that existing tools, in the areas of notably trade defence, competition law and public procurement, are insufficient to avoid distortions resulting from foreign subsidies. The proposed new tool box fits within the EU’s new policy of “open strategic autonomy”. It signals a more pro-active approach on the part of the EU in responding to unfair and abusive practices distorting the EU internal market and undermining the level playing field.

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    • 15/04/2020
    • Articles

    EU Customs Issues and Covid-19

    The EU Commission has published a Communication entitled “Guidance on Customs issues related to the COVID-19 emergency” providing practical information for day-to-day customs operations in view of the COVID-19 crisis. The Communication addresses various issues, namely: e-commerce - customs representation, customs decisions, customs debts and guarantees, entry of goods, customs procedures, transit, special procedures, and exit of goods. The attached memorandum provides you some of the points raised in the Communication.

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    • 08/04/2020
    • Articles

    Impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations in the EU

    On 13 March 2020, the European Commission published a Notice on the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak on antidumping and anti-subsidy investigations (the Notice). Pursuant to the Notice, the COVD-19 outbreak will affect the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations carried out by the European Commission as follows: 1. Suspension of verification visits The Commission decided to suspend all verification visits to the affected areas until further notice. Instead, the Commission will carefully examine the information provided by interested parties in the framework of the investigations and cross-check it with information available from other sources. Moreover, if the Commission considers the information submitted inaccurate or incomplete, it will base its findings on verified or other proven facts on the record of the investigation. In view of this, it becomes essential for all exporting producers cooperating with the European Commission to provide a complete, accurate and substantiated questionnaire response supplemented by all necessary annexes and worksheets in order to enable the Commission to verify and reconcile the data without visiting the company’s premises. 2. Extended deadlines Due to the extraordinary circumstances, the Commission may grant a 7-day extension to companies located in areas affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Furthermore, the Commission will consider granting a longer extension if the requesting company is particularly affected by additional substantial safety measures (such as quarantine periods and/or mandatory factory closures). In order to qualify for an additional extension, the requesting company has to provide a sufficient explanation on how the additional time would help to prepare a more comprehensive questionnaire response. It is also necessary to describe how the additional substantial safety measures affect the requesting company’s capacity to provide the required information. It must be noted that the Notice does not address the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the on-going second review of the steel safeguard measures. Therefore, it remains to be seen whether the timeframe of the review or any of its substantive aspects will be affected by the pandemic. Please click here to access the Notice.

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    • 08/04/2020
    • Articles

    New Italian measures to cope with covid-19 in light of EU and WTO law

    On 6 April 2020, the Italian Government adopted a Law Decree (so-called “Decreto Liquidità”) laying down additional measures to support companies negatively affected by the economic consequences of the Covid-19 outbreak. These measures aim at alleviating the devastating effects of the outbreak on the Italian economy. However, it would appear that some of the measures may raise issues in light of EU and WTO law. Since the final text of the Law Decree has not yet been published in the Italian Official Journal, this flash alert is based on the measures as described in the press release issued by the Italian Government on 6 April 2020.

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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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