Category Archives: Legal developments

New contribution on Rules of Origin

Professor Petros Mavroidis of University of Columbia Law School in New York and VVGB partner Edwin Vermulst recently published an article in the authoritative Journal of World Trade on “The Case for Dropping Preferential Rules of Origin”. The article argues that the world trading system could do without preferential rules of origin. Preferences can be granted on the basis of MFN rules of origin anyway. Empirical literature suggests that, if the purpose for enacting preferential rules of origin was to facilitate commerce or promote inward investment, then their implementation has in practice defeated the purpose. Beneficiaries of preferences often prefer to trade using MFN rules of origin, rather than going through cumbersome procedures to show that they can ‘benefit’ from preferential rules. Thus, in the end, preferential rules of origin are neither necessary for preferences to be granted, nor have they facilitated trade or investment. Our policy recommendation for the negotiators of the Harmonised Working Programme (HWP), which aims to establish common rules of origin for all WTO members, is to also decide to outlaw preferential rules of origin.


20180130 JWT 52-1 Mavroidis Vermulst RoO

VVGB partner Edwin Vermulst moderates SAWTR trade remedies’ workshop at the WTO public Forum

On 28 September VVGB partner Edwin Vermulst moderated the workshop “The Evolving Nature of Trade Remedies – Challenges to ad Opportunities for Development Goals” with Panelists Johann Human, Andrea Weiss Ballassiano, V. Lakshmikumaran and Nataliia Isakhanova. The session was hosted by SAWTR, the Strategic Alliance for WTO and Trade Remedies Law and Practice, a grouping of 20 trade remedies’ specialists spread out over 19 active user countries. The workshop analyzed how effective trade remedy measures have been in creating a “level-playing field”. It examined if WTO members have been able to achieve desired results by using trade remedy measures and whether such measures are being imposed in consonance with their aim or whether they are misused, or used in a way that is detached from the realities of the changing nature of global trade. Additionally, the workshop assessed whether the use of trade remedy measures is giving rise to latent effects – both facilitating or distorting trade. Third, the workshop examined if the trade remedy laws are responsive to the social, political and economic changes around the world.


28 09 2017 SAWTR trade remedies workshop

Edwin Vermulst participates in 2017 EUI conference on WTO case law of 2016

VVGB partner Edwin Vermulst participated in the Conference WTO case law of 2016, organised by Chad Bown, Bernard Hoekman and Petros Mavroidis at the European University Institute in Florence on 14 and 15 June 2017. The conference reviewed all Appellate Body reports and un-appealed panel reports issued in 2016 on the basis of papers, each prepared by a lawyer/economist team. Mr. Vermulst commented on the papers prepared by Mike Moore and Marianna Karttunen on DS456 India – Solar cells and by Phil Levy and Ilaria Espa on DS397 EC – Fasteners (21.5).

Edwin Vermulst and Connie Yang publish article on EU TDI anti-circumvention rules

Edwin Vermulst and Connie Yang published an article on EU anti-circumvention law and practice in TDI proceedings in 23:1 Journal of International Economic Law. The article gives an overview of the EU’s anti-circumvention law and case law with special emphasis on the many EU AC cases there have been against Chinese producers / exporters during the past 20 years. Chinese producers / exporters are the main target of these cases, with the EU itself being one of the leaders in conducting anti-circumvention investigations worldwide. A copy of the article is attached.

Edwin Vermulst, Juhi Dion Sud and Simon Evenett publish contribution to the China MES debate in Global Trade and Customs Journal

The 11:5 issue of the Global Trade and Customs Journal features the contribution of Edwin Vermulst, Juhi Dion Sud and Professor Simon Evenett to the China MES debate. Titled “Normal Value in Anti-Dumping Proceedings against China Post-2016: Are Some Animals Less Equal Than Others?”, the article argues that from 12 December 2016, WTO Members can no longer use the analogue country or similar methodologies as the basis for normal value calculations in anti-dumping proceedings targeting China and should rather use Chinese domestic prices or costs. However, contrary to what some would like decision-makers to believe, this does not mean that the EU or other WTO Members will have no defense against genuine Chinese dumping practices. Other provisions in either the ADA or the SCM Agreement offer sufficient guarantees against that. Finally, the authors consider that the assessment of the manner in which the Commission has conducted MES reviews casts doubt on the quality of the evidentiary base used, on the apparent willingness to give some trading partners the benefit of the doubt but not to others, and on the utility of the review process as a lever to encourage reforms in transition economies, such as China.

Global Trade and Customs Journal 11:5

EU MP Christopher Fjellner and VVGB partner Edwin Vermulst call for more transparency in EU TDI proceedings

European Parliament Member Christopher Fjellner and VVGB partner Edwin Vermulst appeal for more transparency in EU TDI proceedings through adoption of an APO system in their recent GTCJ contribution “An APO System in EU Trade Defense Investigations: No Guts, No Glory”. The contribution is attached with thanks to Kluwer Law International.

GTCJ 10-4_Edwin Vermulst & Christofer Fjellner

Schizophrenia in the EU about International Law

There is a lot of concern about a mechanism in international treaties that allows private parties to challenge government meaures before ad hoc arbitral tribunals (‘ISDS’).  In response to these concerns, EU officials and Members States are now suggesting that such treaty-based claims may be best handled by national courts.  This is astonishing.   For decades governments in the EU have been trying to block private appeals to international law in our courts.  VVGB partner Marco Bronckers challenges this outburst of schizophrenia in a recent blog post: