On 17 July 2020 2020, the Foreign Trade and Payments Act (Außenwirtschaftsgesetz) entered into force (AWG-Amendment) , resulting in further tightening of investment controls. The amendment has the aim to implement the EU-Screening-Regulation 2019/452 (EU-Screening-Regulation) and corresponds to Germany’s industrial strategy 2030 (Industriestrategie 2030), which was announced in November 2019 by the Federal Minister for Economics Peter Altmaier (Bundeswirtschaftsminister). The AWG-Amendment is accompanied by an adjustment to the Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance (Außenwirtschaftsverordnung, AWV), which was hastily initiated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and has since come into force. A second amendment with the aim of harmonizing the AWV with the new amendment to the Foreign Trade and Payments Act (AWG) is expected for summer 2020.

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With the 15th amendment of the Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance (AWV), the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy will soon extend its control over acquisitions of German companies by EU foreign companies. The amendment is perceived as the Federal Government’s direct reaction to the COVID-19 crisis, due to its concern in large part to protect the healthcare sector. The case of the Tübingen-based company CureVac, involving a US purchaser and raising the question of the right of prohibition, may have also contributed to this development. The 16th amendment to the AWV is expected to comprehensively expand and adapt investment control in foreign trade law. It is aimed at uniformly implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/452 (*_EU Screening Regulation*_), which came into force in April 2019, and the amendment to the Foreign Trade and Payments Act (AWG) adopted already by the Cabinet on 8th April 2020. Since the latter remains under discussion in the committees of the Bundestag, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has brought forward what it considers to be particularly urgent adjustments.

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The German government has been pushing for stricter national rules on foreign direct investment control. This is against the background of the “Industrial Strategy 2030” presented by Mr Altmaier, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, in November 2019. In parallel, the EU FDI Screening Regulation 2019/452 came into force in April last year. For the first time, it sets binding requirements with respect to investment control for member States. In light of these developments, in January, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) presented a draft bill for legislation amending the Foreign Trade and Payments Act (FTPA). The German Cabinet adopted this draft in its meeting on 8 April 2020. It will now proceed to the German parliament.

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27 March 2020
The current Covid 19 pandemic has long since developed into an economic crisis, the full impact of which cannot yet be predicted. The crisis also affects those companies that are active in so-called systemically important areas and whose commitment is particularly important for the protection of public health. In the opinion of the EU Commission, it is therefore particularly important to prevent a “sell-out” of companies and technologies that are critical and key to the health sector.

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The outbreak of the coronavirus in Germany has a direct impact on the operational export control of companies. While some export control departments are no longer able to work at full capacity and also the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle – BAFA) had to significantly reduce its services, such as its telephone hotlines, the risk of procurement efforts by unintended recipients of goods and technology is increasing.

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On 29 November 2019, the German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier presented the final version of his “Industrial Strategy 2030”. In the strategy, the Ministry announces a practically relevant amendment to the Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance (FTPO). At the press conference on the strategy, Mr Altmaier indicated that manufacturers of “critical technologies” may also be included in the list of particularly security-relevant companies. The background to this development is the concern about the sale of high technology to China and other countries classified as critical.

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On 30 July 2019, the European Commission published the EU Guidance on Internal Compliance Programme (ICP) for dual-use trade controls, which directly addresses companies involved in the trade of dual-use items. With these legally non-binding guidelines, the Commission has formulated certain expectations on corporations when it comes to their internal compliance programme for trade control regulations.

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The Practicioner’s Handbook on Art Law (Praxishandbuch Recht der Kunst) has been released by legal publishing house C.H. Beck. Reinhart Rüsken has contributed to the publication as an author.

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The chapter Roland Stein and Leonard von Rummel have contributed to the 8th edition of “Getting the Deal Through (GTDT): Foreign Investment Review” is now available.

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The 8th edition of Getting the Deal Through: Foreign Investment Review has just been published. Roland Stein and Leonard von Rummel contributed the chapter on the German foreign investment review regime.

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