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As announced last week, BLOMSTEIN is publishing a series of briefings introducing into European and German legal defence matters. In preparation for the new year, our defence team got together and identified the topics that we believe will be relevant for companies in the security and defence industry in the EU and Germany in international trade law, ESG, antitrust law and public procurement law:

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Seit dem 1. Januar 2023 ist das deutsche Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz (LkSG) in Kraft. Bisher betraf es inländische Unternehmen mit mindestens 3.000 Mitarbeitenden. Ab dem 1. Januar 2024 erweitert sich der Anwendungsbereich auf Unternehmen mit mehr als 1.000 Beschäftigten. Der Kreis betroffener Unternehmen wird damit erheblich größer. Für neu betroffene Unternehmen haben wir die zentralen Pflichten des LkSG im Überblick zusammengenfasst, die unmittelbar seit Anfang Januar 2024 gelten. Außerdem geben wir einen Ausblick auf die neusten Entwicklungen zu dem geplanten EU-Lieferkettengesetz.

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The EU introduced the Regulation establishing an EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). Under the CBAM, importers into the EU of carbon-intensive goods (mainly cement, electricity, fertilizers, iron and steel, aluminum, and hydrogen) will be required to pay a charge for the carbon emissions embedded in those products. This charge will be gradually phased in from 2026 to 2034.

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Over the last three months, BLOMSTEIN has assisted the American Chamber of Commerce in Moldova (AmCham) to improve the Moldovan screening mechanism for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). This was achieved in close cooperation with the CELIS Institute, in particular its Executive Director Prof Dr Steffen Hindelang. AmCham was on its side supported by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). The team’s main aim was to improve the already existing provisions, render them more effective and align them with EU requirements as well as best practises in EU member states.

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EU importers should be aware that CBAM legislation may have a significant impact on their operations, supply chain, and logistics. They need to quantify their carbon footprint and prepare for the financial obligations and administrative measures required by CBAM. The first CBAM report about the embedded greenhouse gas emissions is due by 31 January 2024. Here is an update of what EU importers will have to do, what help is available, and if fines are due when the report is not submitted in time.

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The 12th package of EU sanctions against Russia, aimed at further increasing economic pressure in response to Russia's continued aggression towards Ukraine, entered into force on 19 December 2023. It includes additional listings of Russian individuals and companies as well as new trade restrictions, such as the long-awaited import ban on Russian diamonds and prohibitions related to enterprise management software. Of particular practical relevance are additional measures against the circumvention of long-standing sanctions, including a new obligation for EU exporters to contractually prohibit the re-export of certain sensitive goods to Russia.

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Wenn Sie sich für die neuesten Entwicklungen und Herausforderungen im Bereich des Investment Screening und dessen Auswirkungen auf die deutsche Wirtschaft interessieren, sollten Sie die Investment Screening Conference von BDI und CELIS German Chapter, in Kooperation mit BLOMSTEIN und Hogan Lovells am 20. Februar 2024 im Haus der Deutschen Wirtschaft in Berlin nicht verpassen.

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The EU Commission (Commission) consulted stakeholders during the summer to evaluate the Regulation (EU) No 2019/452 (EU-Screening Regulation) and recently published the survey’s results. The consultation is part of the EU’s ongoing evaluation of the current FDI screening framework and follows the recent release of its third "Annual Report on the screening of foreign investments into the Union", as we noted in an earlier briefing. As the Commission is expected to formally propose revisions to the EU Screening Regulation by the end of 2023, the survey’s results highlight the various stakeholders’ views on the framework, which are likely to inform the upcoming changes. Key findings include the following:

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The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) released its report on the evaluation of the current legal framework for the screening of foreign investments (“Evaluation of the First Act Amending the Foreign Trade and Payments Act as well as of the 15th - 17th Ordinance amending the Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance”) in September this year. The European Commission (“Commission”) followed shortly thereafter and released its third “Annual Report on the screening of foreign investments into the Union” on 19 October 2023. Both underline that there is an ongoing need for an effective screening of foreign investments, especially during times of crisis, such as Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

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On August 9, 2023, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, signed an Executive Order on Addressing United States Investments In Certain National Security Technologies And Products In Countries Of Concern. The Executive Order is the first step towards a so-called outbound investment control, which is to complement the export control and inbound investment control of the U.S. Can the U.S. outbound investment control serve as a model for the EU?

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