On 1 March 2023, the EU’s General Court delivered its judgment in Case T‑540/20, Jushi Egypt for Fiberglass Industry v Commission, ruling that the EU’s anti-subsidy Regulation does not preclude the countervailing of subsidies that are granted by a foreign state to companies in a third country, which can be attributed to the government of the country of origin or export of the products concerned. The Court’s ruling confirmed the Commission’s interpretation in Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/870, which imposed a definitive countervailing duty on imports of continuous filament glass fibre products (‘GFR’) originating in Egypt.

Continue Reading EU Court recognizes transnational subsidies are countervailable

On February 21, 2023, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans‑Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) formally entered into force for Chile, after undergoing an intense, four-year legislative process.  The CPTPP covers the full range of modern trade agreements, including market access for goods and services, public procurement disciplines, temporary entry, and investment protection, among others.  Despite the CPTPP’s entry into force, the future of investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) in Chile remains a point of controversy.

Continue Reading The CPTPP Enters into Force for Chile – but Mind the Fine Print

Canadian, Mexican and United States investors considering bringing a claim under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) against a NAFTA State Party should be aware that the three-year window for notifying their claim will soon come to an end.  They must therefore take quick action to notify their claim by the end of March 2023 to be in a position to submit their request for arbitration before July 1, 2023, the final deadline for the submission of legacy NAFTA investment claims.

The NAFTA was terminated on July 1, 2020, with the entry into force on that same date of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The USMCA Parties recognized the importance of a smooth transition from the NAFTA to the USMCA, particularly with regard to investors who had invested on the understanding that NAFTA’s Chapter Eleven (Investment) protections would be in place.  Annex 14-C of the USMCA therefore maintains NAFTA provisions on the protection and promotion of legacy investments for a period of three years post entry into force of the new agreement.  These provisions are consistent with the practice of Canada, the United States, and Mexico to provide a sunset period for investment protection under their bilateral investment agreements. 

Continue Reading The Window for Putting a USMCA State Party on Notice of a NAFTA Legacy Investment Claim Closes at the End of March

On 14 December 2022, the Council of the EU (“Council”) and the European Parliament (“Parliament”) adopted Regulation (EU) 2022/2560 of the European Parliament and of the Council on foreign subsidies distorting the internal market (the “Foreign Subsidies Regulation” or “FSR”), which was published in the EU’s Official Journal on 23 December 2022. The FSR gives the European Commission (“Commission”) substantial new powers to investigate “financial contributions” granted by non-EU governments to companies operating in the EU and, where necessary, take measures to redress their distortive effects. Specifically, the Commission will be able to conduct such investigations through three new tools: two notification-based tools to investigate concentrations and bids in public procurements above certain thresholds and a general tool to investigate all other market situations and lower-value mergers and public procurement procedures.

Continue Reading The EU’s Foreign Subsidies Regulation Gets Adopted

On November 18, 2022, the Department of Commerce (“the Department”) published a notice of advanced proposed rulemaking seeking public comments with respect to its methodology in determining the existence of a particular market situation (“PMS”) that distorts the cost of production in the ordinary course of trade in the context of its antidumping duty (“AD”) proceedings.  This PMS provision was added to Section 773(e) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, through the Trade Preferences Extension Act in 2015.  As a result of several adverse court decisions since the passage of this amendment, the Department intends to reconsider its approach to determining the existence of a PMS, and to issue a new regulation to identify the types of information that should be considered when determining whether a PMS distorting the cost of production exists.  Comments are due no later than December 18, 2022. 

Continue Reading The Department of Commerce Seeks Comment on Its “Particular Market Situation” Practice

Last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce (“DOC”) concluded that the Russian Federation will be considered a non-market economy (“NME”) for future antidumping duty (“AD”) proceedings.  This decision reversed the DOC’s 2002 conclusion that Russia was a market economy country, a conclusion that had been reaffirmed by the DOC as recently as 2021.  This decision could have significant consequences for companies importing products from Russia subject to AD orders as, generally speaking, the use of the NME methodology results in higher AD margins.  As a result, companies involved in certain industries, particularly in the steel, fertilizer and chemical sectors, could feel an impact from this decision after it begins to take effect.

Continue Reading U.S. Commerce Department Concludes Russia Is a Non-Market Economy for Antidumping Proceedings

The United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom are increasingly using trade policy tools as a means to promote certain sustainability goals related to human rights and the environment.  For instance, Steptoe covered in a previous post the trade restrictions proposed at the end of 2021 aimed at illegally deforested products.  More recently, amidst increasing concerns regarding forced labor in certain regions, the EU has proposed legislation which would ban making available within the EU, and exporting from the EU, products made with forced labor – resembling, to some extent, the forced labor ban that is in place in the US. Meanwhile, the UK has adopted a more piecemeal and geographically targeted approach through the adaptation of existing legislation focused on export controls and the prevention of modern slavery.

Continue Reading Measures Banning Products Made with Forced Labor: US, EU and UK Approach

On September 19, 2022, the European Commission (“Commission”) presented the Single Market Emergency Instrument (“SMEI”), a crisis management framework designed to secure supply chains of “identified, strategically important goods and services” within the European Union (“EU”) during times of emergency.  The SMEI was introduced as a response to the significant structural issues in the EU’s supply chain of critical goods and services, which were highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Comments on the Proposed Regulation are currently due on December 17, 2022.

Continue Reading The EU Single Market Emergency Instrument: Comparing the SMEI Against the U.S. Defense Production Act  

On October 12, 2022, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced it would be seeking public comments regarding the effectiveness of the actions related to the Section 301 investigation of China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation.  The two specific actions under review are the imposition of additional tariffs under Section 301 on products on List 1 and List 2 (covering $34 billion and $16 million in imports as of 2018, respectively), which were subsequently modified by the imposition of List 3 and List 4A (totaling $325 billion in imports as of 2018).  This notice marks the next step in the USTR’s “review of necessity,” a statutory-mandated four-year review process.  A portal for submitting these comments will open on November 15, 2022, with a deadline of January 17, 2023. Continue Reading USTR Announces Next Steps in Statutory Four-Year Review of China 301 Tariffs

On September 24, 2022, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced the successful resolution of a labor complaint brought under the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).  This case marked the fifth time that the RRM has been invoked since its inception in 2020. The RRM represents the most tangible aspect of the Biden Administration’s worker-centric trade policy. As the number of these cases goes up, companies with production activities in Mexico–and particularly those in the automotive sector–should be mindful of their commitment to their workers’ labor rights. Continue Reading The USMCA’s Rapid Response Labor Mechanism: An Increasingly Important Component of the Biden Administration’s “Worker-Centric” Trade Policy