On 13 October 2017, President Trump refused to “recertify” the international nuclear understanding with Iran (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA).

On 31 October 2017, 41 individuals and entities associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have been designated under US terrorism sanctions. These new designations are part of a growing trend towards unilateral US sanctions imposed without prior consultation or coordination at an international level.

In the following, we give an overview of this trend, taking the recent US developments regarding the JCPOA and the US sanctions on Russia as examples. We examine the potential repercussions of these US sanctions for EU companies and potential reactions by the EU.

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We are proud to have been announced as the winner in two categories of the prestigious JUVE awards on 26 October 2017 at a gala ceremony hosted by the legal publishing house JUVE at the Opera house in Frankfurt. BLOMSTEIN was awarded the Start-Up of the Year award and the Law Firm of the Year for Public Procurement Law already in our first year on the market. The JUVE Awards are considered the most prestigious industry awards in the German legal market.

„The Berlin based boutique that opened in 2016 has already become a well-established market player. Competitors rave about the ‘excellent legal expertise combined with international experience’ of the Freshfields-Spin-off. ‘Combining the practice groups Public Procurement, Antitrust and State Aid plays out extremely well.’“

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The control of foreign investments has become increasingly important in the last few years. In Germany, the Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance (Außenwirtschaftsverordnung – AWV) has recently been amended. Moreover, for the first time, foreign investments in Germany were prohibited. In the USA, prohibitions have increasingly been issued by CFIUS and extremely long durations of proceedings are being reported. On the initiative of Germany, France and Italy, the European Commission (Commission) has now also taken up the issue: On 13 September 2017, the Commission submitted a Proposal for a Regulation Establishing a Framework for Screening of Foreign Direct Investments into the European Union (Regulation Proposal).

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At this year’s Colloquium on Suspension and Debarment, hosted by The World Bank in Washington, D.C. on 14 September 2017, recent developments in suspension and debarment issues worldwide and their various uses in the context of procurement and anti-corruption were examined.

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BLOMSTEIN is proud to be shortlisted in two out of eighteen categories for the 2017 JUVE Awards: The Start-Up of the Year (Gründerzeit-Award) and the Law Firm of the Year for Regulated Industries. The winners will be announced on 26 October 2017 at a Gala ceremony hosted by the legal publishing house JUVE at the Opera house in Frankfurt. The JUVE Awards are considered the most prestigious industry awards in the German legal market.

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The idea of a nationwide “register of corruption” which, among other things, registers white-collar crimes and respective administrative offences has haunted the German procurement law world for years. A bill bringing this idea to fruition was recently passed. The register must be established by 31 December 2020 and will replace the existing registers of some of the German federal states. Before awarding a contract, contracting authorities must consult the register and may exclude companies with a high degree of legal certainty on the basis that the company is listed on the register. Besides administering registrations, the German Federal Cartel Office as the responsible registration authority will also evaluate whether a registered company has implemented sufficient self-cleaning measures. In this case, the company will be removed from the register and be able to participate in public procurement procedures again. The implementation of this bill will have far-reaching impacts on procurement law practice in Germany.

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In light of the recent media reports on possible cartel allegations against German car manufacturers, our partner Anna Blume Huttenlauch was interviewed by Deutsche Welle on the fine line between legal cooperations among competitors and illegal collusion as well as potential fines and other liability risks for companies involved in cartels.

Link to the interview in English
Link to the entire program in English

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The failure of the Doha Round and other multilateral efforts to liberalise trade has led to international trade policy occurring mainly on a bilateral level. The EU in particular has followed an active commercial policy in recent years. The aim of the resulting so-called “new generation” Free Trade Agreements is not only to facilitate cross-border trade of products, but also to develop international supply chains, to create mechanisms for the implementation and the enforcement of the law and to open the market as a whole. Hence, Free Trade Agreements include a wide range of regulations, which go beyond classic regulations to reduce tariff and non-tariff trade barriers.

The comprehensive regulatory content of bilateral trade agreements raises the question: does the EU have the competence to conclude such trade agreements? This question was the subject of the request for an opinion by the European Commission before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The proceeding concerned the Free Trade Agreement with Singapore. The court published its highly anticipated opinion on 16 May 2017 (C-2/15 – the Opinion).

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Extended Review Competence and Longer Review Periods for the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy

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BLOMSTEIN achieved an important success before the Higher Regional Court (HRC) Düsseldorf for the Falck-Group. On 12 June 2017, the public procurement division submitted several questions to the ECJ about the interpretation of public procurement law in order to clarify controversial and fundamental legal questions concerning the award of rescue services (Az VII Verg 34/16). The ECJ’s decision on these legal questions will significantly influence the market for rescue services. The ultimate aim is to clarify whether private service providers will have a realistic chance of fair competition concerning public procurement in this market segment in Germany.

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