Key law enforcement and industry figures gather to debate coronavirus impact on illicit trade globally

For much of the year, the focus of governments across the world has been on facing down the challenges posed by coronavirus – a global pandemic and public health crisis unlike any seen for a generation. This challenge has had significant implications for law enforcement and government oversight globally, with governments and regulatory bodies struggling…

Illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol: EU renews sanctions by one year

The Council today decided to renew the sanctions introduced in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation until 23 June 2021. The restrictive measures currently in place include prohibitions targeting the imports of products originating in Crimea or Sevastopol into the EU, and infrastructural or financial investments and tourism services in Crimea or Sevastopol. Furthermore, the exports of certain…

Labour Reform in Vietnam Paves Way for Sustainable Development Change in EU-Vietnam Trade

The Vietnamese National Assembly has approved both the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement and ratified the International Labour Organisations (ILO)’s Core Convention against Forced Labour as part of a comprehensive labour reform. During the negotiation of the trade deal, the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament had led the drive to obtain important labour and…

EU-UK Trade: Festina Lente

By Denis MacShane One of the biggest red herrings in this year’s Brexit threnody has been the endless words wasted on the question of an extension at the end of June. A completely artificial argument has been created by supporters of Dominic Cummings’s hard / no-deal Brexit coterie, and those like Ed Davey and Caroline…

EU Mexico Seal Trade Deal

The European Union and Mexico have concluded the last outstanding element of the negotiation of their new trade agreement.  Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan and Mexican Minister of Economy Graciela Márquez Colín agreed by telephone on the exact scope of the reciprocal opening of public procurement markets and a high level of predictability and transparency in public procurement…

Between Scylla and Charybdis

Following the second round of negotiations on a new EU-UK partnership David McAllister MEP, Chair of the European Parliament UK Coordination Group, issued the following statement. “Today, the European Commission and the UK government concluded the second round of negotiations on a new EU-UK partnership via videoconference. I am concerned to hear Michel Barnier expressing…

OLAF Busts Smugglers

One of the biggest seizures in the EU involving fake spirits took place just two days before Christmas, it has emerged. A well-coordinated action in the Netherlands between OLAF and the Dutch customs authorities led to the seizure of more than 147,000 bottles of counterfeit rum, an equivalent of 10 containers.  The final destination of…

Protecting the EU’s IP

The European Commission published today the latest report on protection and enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in third countries. While developments have taken place since the publication of the previous report, concerns persist and a number of areas for improvement and action remain to be addressed. Intellectual property rights infringements worldwide cost European firms…

Wealth Effects of WTO Membership

A new report says that the USA, China and Germany are the countries that benefit the most worldwide from their accession to the WTO. They achieve by far the largest income gains, which are directly attributable to their membership in the trade organization.  For the United States, income gains amount to about 87 billion US…

Russia: EU prolongs economic sanctions by six months

Today, the Council prolonged the economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy until 31 July 2020. This decision follows an update by President Macron and Chancellor Merkel to the European Council on 12 December 2019 on the state of implementation of the Minsk agreements, to which the decision on maintaining sanctions is linked. Given that the…