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European Union

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On May 17, 2021, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai, US Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo and European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis announced the start of discussions to address global steel and aluminum excess capacity. During a virtual meeting the previous week, the leaders acknowledged the need for effective solutions that preserve our critical industries, and agreed to chart a path that ends the WTO disputes following the US application of tariffs…

As part of its updated 2020 Industrial Strategy, the EU Commission noted that the pandemic has highlighted the trading bloc’s technological and industrial strategy dependencies, which need to be analysed and addressed as part of Europe’s economic recovery. The Commission presented the findings of a review of products imported into the EU on which the EU is highly dependent in notably sensitive sectors, along with the results of six in-depth reviews providing insights on the origin…

On 10 May, the Council of the European Union adopted a revised version of the EU’s Dual-Use Regulation. This is the first major reform to the structure of the EU’s export control regime since 2009. The text, which was passed by the European Parliament on 26 March, has been under negotiation for five years and was agreed in November 2020 (see our previous blog post). Key changes include two new general export authorisations, stricter controls on cyber-surveillance and technical assistance,…

The European Parliament has adopted a non-binding resolution in the event of Russian troops entering Ukraine. The resolution proposes that imports of oil and gas from Russia to the EU be immediately stopped, that Russia should be excluded from the SWIFT payment system (used for international bank transfers) and that assets in the EU of oligarchs close to the Russian authorities and their families should be frozen in the event of Russian troops entry into…

The EU, as a result of the United States’ failure to bring the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act (‘CDSOA’) in compliance with its obligations under the World Trade Organization (‘WTO’) agreements, was authorised to impose an additional customs duty on certain products of the United States. In conformity with the WTO authorisation to suspend the application of concessions to the United States, the Commission is to adjust the level of suspension annually to the…

On 5 March 2021, the European Commission published guidelines on the practical implementation of Article 4 of Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 (“Market Surveillance Regulation”). From 16 July 2021, Article 4 will prevent distance sellers based outside of the EU from selling certain types of CE marked products (including toys, electrical goods and PPE) to customers in the EU where there is no EU-based economic operator responsible for compliance. This is of particular relevance to sellers using online marketplaces to sell…

On March 26, 2021, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced the next steps in its Section 301 investigations of Digital Service Taxes (DSTs) adopted or under consideration by ten US trading partners. In January, USTR found that the DSTs adopted by Austria, India, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom were subject to action under Section 301 because they discriminated against US digital companies, were inconsistent with principles of international taxation,…

On March 26, 2021, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) posted an advance copy of a Federal Register notice terminating, as of March 26, 2021, the Section 301 investigations of Digital Services Taxes (DSTs) under consideration by Brazil, the Czech Republic, the European Union, and Indonesia because these jurisdictions either have not adopted or not implemented a DST during the period of investigation. As of March 25, 2021, Brazil, the Czech Republic,…

On 22 March 2021, the EU imposed restrictive measures on eleven individuals and four entities in relation to alleged human rights violations, including: four individuals and one company with links to the large-scale arbitrary detentions of Uyghurs in Xinjiang;two individuals and one company in the DPRK, responsible for implementing repressive security policies and other human rights violations;two officials in Libya and the armed Libyan militia, responsible for serious human rights abuses including extrajudicial killings;two Russian individuals involved in violations of LGBTI…

Further to our previous blog post, the EU has responded to the recent military coup in Myanmar with restrictive measures on eleven individuals. This adds to pre-existing restrictive measures that have been in place since April 2018, as detailed in our previous blog post. These measures included an embargo on arms and equipment that can be used for internal repression, an export ban of dual use goods for use by the military and border guard police, and export restrictions…