BLOMSTEIN has successfully represented an energy company in a multi-million Euro excise tax dispute before the fiscal court Düsseldorf (FG Düsseldorf). After a long litigation over the taxation of a chemical product, the court upheld the company’s view in total.

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On 23 March the European Commission has adopted temporarily applicable State aid rules enabling Member States to support businesses particularly hit by the economic repercussions following the Russian military aggression against Ukraine. This includes economic consequences of sanctions imposed on Russia and Russia’s countersanctions.

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BLOMSTEIN advises Chinese terminal operator COSCO Shipping Ports Limited (COSCO) on foreign direct investment aspects relating to its entry into the German market. COSCO is acquiring a minority stake of 35 % in Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT) from the Port of Hamburg Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA). The deal is subject to various FDI and merger control clearances.

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Today, 17 December 2021, is the deadline for implementing the EU Whistleblower Directive. So far, only Sweden and Denmark have transposed the Whistleblower Directive into respective national regulations; Portugal managed to pass a law by majority vote of the parliament in time, but the Portuguese transposition law will not enter into force until mid-2022. Germany, on the other hand, is threatened with infringement proceedings as the coalition partners of the old government could not agree on a first draft bill, the so-called Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) of the Federal Ministry of Justice. However, the recently published coalition deal of the newly elected coalition picks up the issue again, so that new developments on the Whistleblower Protection Act seem to be underway. The coalition agreement commits to implement the directive, which creates a uniform legal framework for the protection of whistleblowers throughout the Union, in a “legally secure and practicable” manner. Germany plans to protect whistleblowers from legal disadvantages not only when reporting breaches of EU law, but also when reporting significant breaches of national regulations or any other significant misconduct, where disclosure is of special public interest.

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BLOMSTEIN has successfully advised Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited (Teva) on the German foreign direct investment aspects of its strategic licensing collaboration with MODAG GmbH (MODAG).

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A Comissão Europeia apresentou, em 17 de novembro de 2021, a “Proposta de regula-mento sobre produtos sem desmatamento” (Regulamento sobre Desmatamento ou Regulamento, cujos documentos relevantes podem ser encontrados aqui), com objetivo de evitar a comercialização em seu território de produtos associados a desmatamento ou degradação florestal. A lista de produtos é definida pelo art. 1º do Regulamento sobre Desmatamento, a saber: gado (seja o gado in natura, carne ou couro), cacau, café, óleo de palma, soja e madeira, bem como subprodutos, produtos que contenham ou que resultem dos mesmos (em conjunto, Produtos Relevantes). O Anexo I do Regulamento apresenta a lista exaustiva dos subprodutos e derivados sujeitos a suas regras.

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The common rules of origin and cumulation of the Pan-Euro-Mediterranean (PEM) Convention are a central instrument in the facilitation of trade and the integration of supply chains by way of preferential tariff treatment within the PEM zone, which stretches across the European Union to the other 24 contracting parties (EFTA countries, the Faroe Islands, Turkey and the Mediterranean countries of the Western Balkans, North Africa and the Middle East, including some of their neighbouring countries). The Contracting Parties have been negotiating a revision of the convention since 2012, in order for it to better reflect changing economic realities.

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BLOMSTEIN has represented Vodafone in a successful challenge to a merger clearance of a joint venture between Deutsche Telekom and EWE AG. Following an appeal by Vodafone and complex court proceedings, on 22 September 2021 the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf annulled the 2019 clearance decision issued by the Federal Cartel Office for “Glasfaser Nordwest”, a joint venture to expand the fibre network in the north-western part of Germany.

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Roland M. Stein was one of the speakers of the webinar: The Importance of Compliance Programs in World Bank Projects, hosted by the Brazilian Association of Infrastructure and Basic Industries (ABDIB) on 26 July 2021. The panel also had as key speaker Lisa Miller, Integrity Compliance Officer at The World Bank and as a mediator Thiago Jabor Pinheiro, partner at the Brazilian law firm Mattos Filho.

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Roland Stein and Bruno Galvão will be editing a column at the Brazilian legal journal JOTA. JOTA is a leading specialised legal journal in Brazil, with an average of one million readers each month.

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