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    • 14/07/2021
    • News

    Gabriele Coppo, Mats Cuvelier and Elyse Kneller participate in seminar on export control compliance

    On the first of July, Gabriele Coppo, Mats Cuvelier and Elyse Kneller spoke at a seminar, co-hosted by Van Bael & Bellis, on key compliance risks for companies exporting military goods and dual-use items, including intangible technology transfers. Their presentation also covered international and European regulatory initiatives related to corporate and social responsibility duties affecting trade. The seminar was part of a meeting of the Belgian Security and Defence Industries (“BSDI”), the national trade association bringing together companies in the defence, aerospace, (cyber-) security sectors. The seminar was the first in-person event BSDI had organized in more than a year, providing the VBB team with an eager and engaged audience.

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    • 28/06/2021
    • Articles

    The EU’s upcoming sustainable corporate governance rules: What can businesses expect?

    The growing political focus on the protection of the environment, human rights and labour rights may soon translate into additional obligations on companies in order to ensure the respect of such societal values throughout their entire supply chains. The European Commission (“Commission”) is likely to publish a legislative initiative on sustainable corporate governance,1 which would set out rules that require companies to address adverse sustainability impacts within their operations and international value chains. The Commission is also contemplating regulating the remuneration of corporate directors and enforcing them to integrate stakeholders’ interests and corporate sustainability risks into the implementation of the corporate strategy. This client alert sets out what businesses can expect from the upcoming sustainable corporate governance initiative and its potential impacts on company operations and value chains. In section 1, we explain what the sustainable corporate governance initiative is before turning to the rules that the Commission is considering in section 2. Finally, in section 3, we briefly discuss the effects that these rules might have on businesses.

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    • 10/06/2021
    • News

    Uğur Can Hekim moderates panel on “Redirecting the World Trade Organization” at the Horasis Global Meeting virtual event 2021

    Van Bael & Bellis lawyer Ugur Can Hekim moderated a panel titled “Redirecting the World Trade Organization” on 8 June 2021 at the Horasis Global Meeting – one of the foremost annual meetings of the world’s leading decision makers from business, government and civil society. The topics under discussion were current challenges in the multilateral trading system, expectations for the new DG’s tenure, the WTO's role in global health, environment and sustainable development in the midst of global crises as well as its position in the global interinstitutional order. The panel speakers were: Jonathan Fried, former Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the WTO, former personal representative of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the G20, Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and Senior Advisor at Albright Stonebridge Group, USA; Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, former Director of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD - Geneva), co-founder and former General Director, Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano (FFLA – Quito), permanent Colombian Delegate and negotiator for GATT/WTO, former Principal Adviser to the Colombian Minister of Economic Development and Chief of Administration at the office of the President of Colombia, and Strategic Adviser at Latin Trade Group, USA; and Kola Adesina, Group Managing Director of Sahara Group, a pan-Africanist entrepreneur who promotes regional integration and trade among the states of African states. Further information on the event is available here.

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    • 08/01/2021
    • Articles

    German Government prohibits Chinese acquisition under foreign direct investment rules

    On 2 December 2020, the German Government prohibited on public security grounds the sale of the German Institut für Mobil- und Satellitenfunktechnik (“IMST”), a specialist in satellite and communications technologies, to Addsino, a subsidiary of State-owned defence group China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (“CASIC”). This is only the second time that the German Government has decided to prohibit a transaction on the basis of the Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance, and is technically the first prohibition to take effect as the first transaction had been abandoned once it became clear that the prohibition was imminent.

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    • 25/11/2020
    • Articles

    EU publishes proposed amendments to the Dual-use Regulation

    On 10 November 2020, the European Council and the European Parliament agreed on the text of a long-awaited amendment to Regulation 428/2009 setting up an EU regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual-use items (“Dual-use Regulation”). The proposal widens the scope of the EU dual-use control regime to cover cyber-surveillance technology and the supply of technical services related to dual-use items. Changes also include new conditions to obtain an export authorisation and the introduction of national control lists. This Client Alert sets out the proposal’s key points.

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    • 30/10/2020
    • Articles

    UK and Japan sign Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement

    On 23 October 2020, the United Kingdom (UK) and Japan signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). The CEPA is based on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union (EU) and Japan. However, the CEPA also contains some enhanced provisions in areas such as rules of origin, financial services, and digital matters, and eliminates certain tariff lines earlier than the EPA. Once ratified, the CEPA is expected to enter into force as of 1 January 2021 and, as far as possible, provide continuity for trade between the UK and Japan after the EU-Japan EPA ceases to apply to the UK. Our overview of the UK-Japan CEPA highlights the key features of the agreement and identifies the main differences between the CEPA and the EPA relevant to stakeholders. Please click below to read our note on the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

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    • 20/10/2020
    • Articles

    EU Dual-use Regime

    Dual-use items are goods, software and technology that can have both civilian and military applications. The European Union controls the export, brokering and transit of dual-use items to third countries, as well as intra-EU movements of highly sensitive dual-use items. The dual-use regime aims to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, as well as circumvention of conventional arms controls and is guided by multilateral initiatives on export control, such as the Australia Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement, the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime. This VBB Insight sets out the key obligations under the dual-use framework and outlines the anticipated reform of the EU dual-use regime. Please click below to read our memorandum on the EU dual-use regime.

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    • 08/10/2020
    • Articles

    CJEU rules that it has jurisdiction over breaches by a Member State of WTO law

    On 6 October 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued its judgement in Case C-66/18. The case related to the infringement proceedings brought by the Commission against Hungary in relation to its treatment of the Central European University (CEU) and more in general the requirements which Hungary applied to foreign higher education institutions seeking to supply services in its territory. The Court ruled that its jurisdiction in infringement proceedings brought by the European Commission against a Member State on the basis of Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) extends to a Member State’s failure to fulfil its obligations under World Trade Organization (WTO) law. The CJEU found breaches of the national treatment obligation under the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), provisions relating to academic freedom, the freedom to found higher education institutions and the freedom to conduct a business in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and the freedom of establishment and the free movement of services.

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