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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Roland Stein, Pascal Friton and Hans-Joachim Priess have been recognised as leading experts in international trade law and public procurement law in Germany and in the world in the Who’s Who Legal: Trade & Customs 2018, Government Contracts 2018 and Germany 2019 editions.

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Despite protest and all efforts to find a diplomatic solution, the US government has introduced punitive duties on steel (25%) and aluminium (10%) imported by European, Canadian and Mexican companies on Friday, 1 June 2018. The same day, the EU responded promptly and submitted a request to the World Trade Organization (WTO) for consultations under a dispute settlement procedure. Canada, the largest steel supplier to the US, has also initiated proceedings at the WTO. The Canadian Foreign Minister has announced to closely cooperate with the EU. Mexico has also expressed its intention to take action against the US.

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During Germany’s Foreign Minister Maas’ recent visit to Washington, D.C., President Trump announced that the US government would consider punitive tariffs on automobiles and automotive parts. This statement is just another step towards the US government’s efforts to isolate the US economy.

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Excise duty expert Hardy Bublitz joined BLOMSTEIN as independent Senior Excise and Trade Advisor in February 2018. Hardy Bublitz, 58 years old, is a renowned expert in excise duties, especially with regard to energy and electricity taxes. He began his career in 1982 in the Federal Customs Administration, where he worked inter alia as an auditor in the mineral oil industry. In 1985, Hardy Bublitz joined Shell, where he held various executive positions until the end of 2017 – most recently as Head of Indirect Tax Advocacy & Litigation DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland). Hardy specialises in European and national customs law and excise duty law as well as indirect tax compliance. He is a distinguished speaker at events and trade conferences, and an esteemed lecturer in excise duty trainings and in-house seminars.

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The European Court of Justice (ECJ) delivered a judgement with potentially far-reaching consequences for companies’ liabilities in public international law. On 27 February 2018 (Case C-266/16Western Sahara Campaign UK v Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), the ECJ ruled on the validity of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Morocco (the Fisheries Partnership Agreement or the Agreement). The Court concluded that the Fisheries Partnership Agreement was not applicable to Western Sahara and its adjoining waters. Although the underlying circumstances are rather specific, the case deals with general issues of public international law. Companies engaging in commercial activities in this region or other disputed territories should, therefore, carefully examine the judgement’s impact on their businesses. The case is a vivid reminder that trade and investment in disputed areas bear significant political and legal risks.

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