Published and effective immediately on Feb 16th 2023, Bureau of Security and Control of China MOFCOM announced to sanction Lockheed Martin Corporation and Raytheon Missiles & Defense, for the two companies participating in the arms sales of Taiwan according to the foreign trade law of the People's Republic of China, the state security law of the People's Republic of China and other relevant laws, unreliable entity listing working mechanism on the basis of the unreliable entity list provisions in article 2, article 8 and article ten relevant provisions.
As the announcement stated the two enterprises were prohibited from engaging in import and export activities related to China; prohibited from making new investments in China; whose senior management personnel of the above enterprises are prohibited from entering China ; disapproving and revoking the work permit, stay and residence qualifications of the senior managers and above; The above enterprises shall be fined twice the amount of the arms sales contracts of each enterprise to Taiwan since the implementation of the Provisions on the List of Unreliable Entities within 15 days from the date of publication of this announcement, handle payment in accordance with relevant laws and regulations. If this decision is not implemented within the time limit, the unreliable entity List working mechanism will impose additional fines and other measures in accordance with the law. This is the very first time Provisions on the List of Unreliable Entities is referred in an enforcement, a Symbolic Event for China sanction.
Costa Rica has today removed a 10% tax on imported beers which had been discriminating against EU beers. This tax had put EU beers at a disadvantage by making them more expensive than local beers. With the removal of this tax, EU beers will now have equal access to the Costa Rican market, and benefit from growing EU beer exports to this Central American country. The EU has been working with Costa Rica in the framework of our Association Agreement to resolve this long-standing issue.
Until now, Costa Rica had applied a tax of 10% on the selling price of alcoholic beverages - except for Costa Rican beer. In a Joint Declaration annexed to the EU-Central America Association Agreement, Costa Rica committed to review its internal taxes concerning beer by October 2014. In the years following this commitment, the EU regularly pushed for this review to be carried out through discussions under the institutional channels of the Agreement, in bilateral ministerial meetings, and in discussions with members of the Costa Rican Parliament. Thanks to this persistent dialogue, enough support was created in the Costa Rican Parliament and the Costa Rican administration to see the tax removed, with the Parliament voting overwhelmingly (39-11) in favour on 15 December 2022. The president of Costa Rica, Mr Rodrigo Chaves, signed the law on 15 February 2023.
25th February 2023, On the sad commemoration of one year since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Council adopted a tenth package of additional restrictive measures giving another turn of the screw to the government of the Russian Federation and those responsible for Russia’s continuing war of aggression.
The decision imposes further export bans on critical technology and industrial goods, such as electronics, specialised vehicles, machine parts, spare parts for trucks and jet engines, as well as goods for the construction sector which can be directed to Russia's military, such as antennas or cranes. The list of restricted items that could contribute to the technological enhancement of Russia’s defence and security sector will now include additional new electronic components that are be used in Russian weapons systems retrieved on the battlefield, including drones, missiles, helicopters, as well as specific rare earth materials, electronic integrated circuits, and thermal cameras.
Dual use goods are also targeted. 25th February decision expands the list of entities supporting directly Russia’s military and industrial complex in its war of aggression by additional 96 entities, thereby imposing tighter export restrictions on them.
For the first time ever, this list will include seven Iranian entities manufacturing military unmanned aerial vehicles, which have been used by Russia’s military in its war of aggression including against civilian infrastructure.
Furthermore the Council decided to prohibit the transit through Russia of EU exported dual use goods and technology, in order to avoid circumvention.
Lastly, further restrictions are imposed on imports of goods which generate significant revenues for Russia, such as asphalt and synthetic rubber.
In order to address the Russian Federation's systematic, international campaign of disinformation and information manipulation intended to destabilise its neighbouring countries, the EU and its member states, the Council initiated the process for suspending the broadcasting licences of two additional media outlets: RT Arabic and Sputnik Arabic. These outlets are under the permanent direct or indirect control of the leadership of the Russian Federation and have been used by latter for its continuous and concerted disinformation and war propaganda actions, which legitimise Russia’s aggression and undermine support for Ukraine. In line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights, these measures will not prevent those media outlets and their staff from carrying out activities in the EU other than broadcasting, e.g. research and interviews.
25th February decision restricts the possibility for Russian nationals to hold any position in the governing bodies of EU critical infrastructures and entities, as Russia’s influence in these bodies could jeopardise their well-functioning and ultimately constitute and hazard for the provision of essential services to the European citizens.
The Council introduced the prohibition to provide gas storage capacity (with the exclusion of the part of LNG facilities) to Russian nationals, in order to protect the security of gas supply in the EU, and avoid Russia’s weaponization of its gas supply and risks of market manipulation.
In order to ensure the effectiveness of the asset freeze prohibitions, the Council decided to introduce more detailed reporting obligations on funds and economic resources belonging to listed individuals and entities which have been frozen or were subject to any move shortly before the listing. The Council also introduced new reporting obligations to the Member States and to the Commission on immobilized reserves and assets of the Central Bank of Russia. Moreover, aircraft operators will have to notify non-scheduled flights to their national competent authorities, which will then inform other member states.
In addition to economic sanctions, the Council decided to list a significant amount of additional individuals and entities. Three Russian banks have been added to the list of entities subject to the asset freeze and the prohibition to make funds and economic resources available. In the European Council conclusions of 9 February 2023, the EU reiterated its resolute condemnation of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which constitutes a manifest violation of the UN Charter, and has brought immense suffering and destruction upon Ukraine and its people. Russia must stop this atrocious war immediately.
On 1 March 2023, the European Union launched the second release of its Import Control System 2 (ICS2), the new advance cargo information and risk management platform, to further improve protection against security and safety threats from goods entering the EU. From 1 March 2023, all air carriers, freight forwarders, express couriers, and postal operators involved in the transportation of goods by air to or through the EU (all EU Member States, as well as Norway, Switzerland, and Northern Ireland) must provide a complete set of Entry Summary Declaration data on the goods, prior to their arrival at the EU external border. They must do this through the ICS2 system, which is gradually replacing the EU’s existing Import Control System (ICS) between 2021 and 2024. With the launch of ICS2 Release 2, air carriers currently filing advance cargo information into the Import Control System (ICS) will fully phase out from that system as soon as they start filing this data into ICS2.
Some EU Member States will not be able to connect to ICS2 Release 2 on 1 March 2023 and requested a legal derogation. The European Commission has therefore granted Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Greece, Croatia, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, and Sweden a derogation allowing them to connect to ICS2 Release 2 by 30 June 2023.
The Commission has proposed to renew the suspension of import duties, quotas and trade defence measures on Ukrainian exports to the European Union – known as the Autonomous Trade Measures (ATMs) – for another year. This is a continuation of the EU's unwavering support for Ukraine's economy and helps alleviate the difficult situation faced by Ukrainian producers and exporters because of Russia's unprovoked and unjustified military aggression. The main objective of the ATMs is to support Ukraine, but the measures are also mindful of EU industry concerns. To this end, and considering a significant increase in imports of some agricultural products from Ukraine to the EU in 2022, the renewed ATMs contain an expedited safeguard mechanism to protect the Union market if necessary.
The EU believes that more substantive deliberation of today’s trade issues at the World Trade Organization (WTO) can help avoid trade tensions by promoting converging approaches to policy challenges. Such deliberations can also lay the groundwork for future formal negotiations between WTO Members.
In a paper submitted to the WTO today as part of ongoing work to reform the organisation, the EU proposes three thematic areas for deeper deliberation by WTO Members: state intervention, the environment and inclusiveness. The EU’s submission will be presented at the WTO General Council on 6 March 2023 and provides a basis for further discussion on the matter ahead of the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference taking place in early 2024.
The EU has identified the following three areas as key for WTO deliberative engagement:
The EU continues to play a leading role in the WTO’s ongoing reform process, which was launched at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) in June 2023.
The Commission has adopted a Delegated Regulation updating the EU dual-use export control list in Annex I to Regulation (EU) 2021/821. On 23 February 2023, the European Commission adopted a Delegated Regulation updating the EU dual-use export control list in Annex I to Regulation (EU) 2021/821, in order to bring it in line with the decisions taken in the Australia Group – the multilateral export control regime in charge of preventing the proliferation of chemical and biological items – in 2022.
This update adds some emerging technologies in the biological sector to the EU Dual-Use List. In particular, the updated EU control list includes four new entries for marine toxins, namely brevetoxins, gonyautoxins, nodularins and palytoxin, which are naturally present in marine environments but can also be synthesised and used for biological weapons, for example. Other changes were mostly on removal and changes of references, and editorial changes. The update of the EU Control List was coordinated with US’ measures introducing the same controls for these emerging technologies through the Export Control Working Group of the Trade and Technology Council. Subject to the Council and the European Parliament raising no objections within a period of two months, the Commission Delegated Regulation (Ref. C(2023)1164) will be published and will enter into force on the day following that of its publication.
The European Commission welcomes Japan’s decision to join the Multi-party Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement (MPIA), which is open to all World Trade Organization (WTO) members. The MPIA is an alternative, stop-gap system for resolving WTO disputes, anchored in the WTO Agreement, set up by the EU and key partners, pending the restoration of a reformed WTO dispute settlement system. Including Japan, 26 WTO members currently participate in the MPIA. Existing WTO rules, which still govern the majority of our trade, are our best guardrail against global economic fragmentation. The EU therefore has a fundamental strategic interest in a strong and reformed WTO, and we must continue leading efforts to reform it. Japan's decision, along with that of other MPIA members, confirms the commitment of leading WTO players to the organisation's dispute settlement system and the rules that that system enforces. It is also a strong sign of support for the restoration of a reformed and fully functioning dispute settlement system, which WTO members have committed to putting in place by 2024.
The purpose of the meeting was to find the most effective and impactful ways to disrupt Russia’s revenue stream from the diamond trade. On 6 March 2023, European Commission Deputy Director-General and Chief Trade Enforcement Officer (CTEO) Denis Redonnet and US Sanctions Coordinator James O’Brien met the US and European offices of leading diamond retailers, manufacturers, laboratories, and industry trade associations. The purpose of the meeting was to find the most effective and impactful ways to disrupt Russia’s revenue stream from the diamond trade. The EU and the US remain committed to imposing economic consequences on Russia for its unprovoked war in Ukraine. This includes reducing Russia’s involvement in the global diamond trade, which still helps Russia earn billions of dollars.
Pursuant to Article 395(1) of Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on the common system of value added tax 1 (‘the VAT Directive’), the Council, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission, may authorise any Member State to apply special measures for derogation from the provisions of that Directive in order to simplify the procedure for collecting VAT or to prevent certain forms of tax evasion or avoidance. Pursuant to Council Implementing Decision 2020/647 of 11 May 2020, Italy is currently authorised to apply a special measure derogating from Article 285 of the VAT Directive to exempt from VAT taxable persons whose annual turnover is no higher than EUR 65 000 until 31 December 2024.
By letter registered with the Commission on 29 November 2022, Italy requested an authorisation to increase the threshold of the abovementioned existing measure, from EUR 65 000 to EUR 85 000, from 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2024.
As of 1 March 2023, Customs will temporarily adjust the working method for goods released for free circulation after outward processing. If goods are released for free circulation after passive distribution (procedure code 6121), we have to calculate the customs debt manually. As a result, it sometimes takes a long time before we can release the goods. The business community has asked for a solution to this problem. That is why we have decided to temporarily adjust the working method from 1 March 2023.
Have we accepted the declaration and have you not received a release notice from AGS or DMS 4 hours after the time of providing information for the manual calculation? Then the goods are deemed to have been released. The goods may then be taken away.
What conditions apply to the new working method?
The Emirati Federal Tax Authority has reminded businesses in the UAE of the upcoming deadline to file their VAT returns, which is on March 28. Failure to meet the deadline can result in penalties and fines, so businesses are urged to ensure that they submit their returns on time.
Vietnam extended the validity of existing marketing authorisations of pharmaceutical products until 2024. For the next two years, EU exporters of pharmaceuticals will thus avoid having to go through complex procedures for the renewal of their marketing authorisation. A more transparent and predictable system of marketing authorisation benefits both EU operators and consumers’ unhampered access to high quality pharmaceuticals. This positive result for EU industry and Vietnamese consumers shows the value of the free trade agreement between the EU and Vietnam, which provided the framework for solving this important market access issue. It comes after extensive constructive engagement with the Vietnamese authorities and follows decisions last October ending discrimination among EU regulatory authorities for pharmaceutical products. Together, both measures will considerably facilitate access of EU pharmaceutical products to the Vietnamese market.