On 29 November 2017 Edwin Vermulst gave evidence to the International Trade Committee of the House of Commons at its one-off evidence session on the recently introduced UK Trade Bill. Edwin answered questions from Members of Parliament on the trade remedy provisions in the Trade Bill and the recently presented Customs Bill of 20 November 2017. He observed, among others, that the Customs Bill sets out only rudimentary rules and that important dumping and injury concepts present in the Anti-Dumping agreement and the primary trade remedies’ legislation of many WTO members are left for – yet to be formulated – secondary legislation.
He further noted that the call for evidence published by the DIT on 28 November 2017, https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/call-for-evidence-to-identify-uk-interest-in-existing-eu-trade-remedy-measures, setting out DIT’s intentions as regards EU trade remedy measures in force and soliciting input from interested parties seemed a good first step in determining which, if any, EU trade remedy measures could be maintained post-Brexit, it being understood that reviews might be necessary to determine whether and how much injurious dumping occurred in the UK market.
More in general, he noted in response to a question that properly applied trade remedy instruments are not protectionist, but that it might be recommendable for UK legislators to await the outcome of pending WTO litigation on the controversial ‘non-market economy’ issue before legislating on that.
VVGB partner Edwin Vermulst was interviewed by Xingua about his views concerning the EU’s new anti-dumping rules that were adopted in trilogue on Tuesday 3 October. Mr. Vermulst noted, among others, that the new methodology for calculating dumping margins is repackaged non-market economy methodology and that, although it appears to be non-discriminatory, it in fact continues to target China. He further observed that the inclusion of labor and environmental standards as a relevant element (as a result of pressure from the European Parliament) introduces a new element in anti-dumping law and practice that no other WTO member has ever incorporated or used.
The full interview can be found at : http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-10/05/c_136659666.htm
On 4 February 2016, the European Court of Justice issued a landmark ruling in Joined Cases C659/13 and C34/14 (Clarks & Puma) by invalidating the anti-dumping duties paid on imports of certain footwear from China and Vietnam from 2006 until 2011. Between 2006 and 2011 the EU imposed anti-dumping duties on footwear from China and Vietnam of 16.5% and 10% respectively. The European Court of Justice has now confirmed that the Regulations imposing the duties are invalid in so far as the European Commission did not examine the Market Economy Treatment and Individual Treatment claims duly filed by certain cooperating Chinese and Vietnamese footwear exporters. The court found that the Commission was under a legal obligation to examine these claims and its failure to do so led the Court to conclude that the ‘footwear Regulations’ were invalid where imports from those suppliers are concerned. The invalidity of the Regulations effectively extinguishes the original debt and allows importers who have made duly substantiated claims within the legal time limits to continue these reimbursement proceedings. VVGB lawyers Edwin Vermulst and Juhi Sud represent Puma and a coalition of 25 footwear brands and importers claiming reimbursement of the AD duties on the same legal grounds, many of whom had suppliers treated identically to the litigants in these cases.
VVGB lawyers Edwin Vermulst and Juhi Sud obtained a zero duty for their client Chia Far in the EU anti-dumping proceeding concerning stainless steel cold-rolled flat products from China and Taiwan. The definitive determination was published in the EU’s Official Journal on 27 August 2015 and a copy is attached.
On 12 June 2015, the Investment Treaty Forum of the British Institute for International and Comparative Law (BIICL) organized a meeting on ‘Europe as an Investment Treaty Actor’ in Stockholm, in cooperation with the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, Mannheimer Swartling and Uppsala University.
This meeting brought together speakers from government, business, academia and civil society to examine the European Union as an investment treaty actor. It included a keynote dialogue among members of the Swedish and European Parliament which discussed the political context, as well as panels looking at the role of the European Commission in shaping the EU’s investment treaties and the substance of the deals which Europe is negotiating. Freya Baetens was a speaker on the latter panel, putting forward a proposal for a European Most-Favoured-Nation Clause.
Among the central questions raised by this meeting was whether the investment chapters in Europe’s treaties with Canada, Singapore and the United States (TTIP) are likely to be good for European economic growth or whether they are more likely to expose Europe and its Member States to a future of litigation from foreign investors.
For more information see: http://www.biicl.org/event/1109
VVGB partner Benjamin Haberkorn acted as legal advisor to the EURO-DIESEL management and minority shareholder with respect to a EUR 68 million investment by 3i.
Press release 3i invests in Euro-Diesel – 19052015
On 19 May 2015 the EU published the outcome of its nine months’ investigation into the circumvention of the anti-dumping measures applicable to Bicycles originating in China.
While the 48.5% duty applicable to Chinese bicycles was extended to Cambodia, Pakistan and the Philippines, the two Cambodian producers A and J and Smart Tech and the Philippines’ producer Procycle, represented by VVGB lawyers Edwin Vermulst, Juhi Sud and Simon Van Cutsem, all three received exemptions from this duty on the basis of the Commission case team finding that none of them had engaged in circumvention practices.
As a result, the 48.5% anti-dumping duty will not apply to them. The Commission Regulation with the findings is attached.
Read more : 20150519 Bicycles AC
VVGB partner Benjamin Haberkorn and associate Deeliah Chakowa advised Belgian market leader in optimizing digital advertising campaigns Semetis’ founding shareholders in the sale of a majority stake to Omnicom Media Group (OMG).
VVGB clients Van Miert and Mieki Hunsel obtained an exemption from anti-dumping duties imposed on frozen bone-in portions of fowls of the species gallus domesticus by the International Trade Administration of South Africa (ITAC). On 27 February 2015 South Africa imposed definitive anti-dumping duties ranging between 3.86% and 73.33% on imports of frozen bone-in chicken portions originating in or imported from Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. ITAC calculated a margin of minus 1.08% (hence a negative dumping margin) for VVGB’s clients Van Miert and Mieki Hunsel, which are therefore exempt from the duties. Dumping occurs when the export price is lower than the normal value (usually the price in the exporting country). The difference between normal value and export price expressed as a percentage constitutes the dumping margin. A negative dumping margin occurs when the export price is actually higher than the normal value. It is essentially a finding of no dumping. Pluimveeslachterij C. Van Miert BV and Pluimveeslachterij Mieki Hunsel BV were assisted by VVGB partner Edwin Vermulst and senior associate Simon van Cutsem.
The report of the final determination can be consulted in the attached document Report-No-492.
On 26 February 2015, the Brussels Court of Appeal rendered a significant judgment in the field of private enforcement of competition rules in Belgium. Base/KPN Group and Mobistar had initiated a damage action for abuse of dominance against the incumbent mobile operator Belgacom. The Court of Appeal of Brussels confirmed that in the late 90s – early 2000s Belgacom held a dominant position on the retail market for mobile telephony in Belgium and possibly engaged in several abusive practices vis-à-vis Mobistar and Base/KPN Group (loyality rebates, predatory pricing, marging squeeze and exploitation of network offices).The Court firmly stated that a finding of ‘abuse’ would as such give rise to ‘fault’ giving rise to tort liability.The Court of Appeal enlarged the number of abuses that must be examined by the appointed experts.The final expert is due by the end of March 2016.
VVGB partners Anne Vallery and Yves Van Gerven acted as counsel to Mobistar in connection with these proceedings.
Further information is available in Mobistar’s press release: http://corporate.mobistar.be/go/en/media_center/news/news_details.cfm?news_id=656