To give you a quick overview of important news from the field of foreign trade and export promotion as well as developments in legislation, we have summarised current developments on the topics of foreign trade and export promotion for you. In addition, our members are welcome to register for our monthly newsletter "AuWi News" (in German) so as not to miss any important news.
Following the meeting between US President Joe Biden, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Council President Charles Michel on 15 June 2021, a partial success has been achieved in the Airbus-Boeing dispute over subsidies, which has been going on for 16 years. The mutually imposed punitive tariffs will be suspended for a period of five years.
SPECTARIS welcomes the agreement reached in the Airbus-Boeing dispute and the associated longer-term suspension of the reciprocal punitive tariffs as the punitive tariffs have also significantly affected the German camera and photographic technology industry and their business operations in the United States. Together with other trade associations, SPECTARIS has been fighting for a long time for the abolition of the punitive tariffs for uninvolved industries.
Petition for the Abolition of Punitive Tariffs
More information on the agreementPress Statement Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR)Press Statement EU-Commission
On 11 June 2021, the Recast Dual-Use Regulation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union as Regulation 2021/821. The Regulation, which comes into force on 9 September 2021, will replace the current Dual-Use Regulation introduced in 2009.
Key changes of the regulation include two new EU General Export Authorisations, new requirements for internal compliance policies and due diligence, amended controls on cyber surveillance and technical assistance, certain broader definitions (e.g. the definition of exporter has been expressly extended to cover ‘hand carries’), a clearer licensing gateway for non-EU exporters, as well as provisions allowing for increased coordination and transmissible controls between Member States.
More information:European Commission: Dual-use trade controls
On 11 June 2021, the Bundestag adopted the Federal Government's bill on corporate due diligence in supply chains, also known as the "Supply Chain Act", as amended by the Committee on Labour and Social Affairs. The Bundesrat already voted in favour of the law in May. The law will thus come into force on 1 January 2023.
The Act will apply to companies from all sectors having their head office, principal place of business, administrative headquarters or registered office in Germany and employ a minimum of 3,000 employees. From January 2024 the area of affected businesses will encompass businesses with 1,000 or more employees.
The supply chain comprises all supply chain activities of a company inside and outside of Germany that are required to manufacture goods or provide services. In-scope companies are obliged to
More Information:The Federal Government of Germany: Supply Chain Act (Lieferkettengesetz)Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development: Supply Chain Law FAQs
The Federal Cabinet adopted the 17th Amendment of the Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance (Außenwirtschaftsverordnung, AWV) on 27 April 2021. The new regulations came into force on 1 May 2021, one day after their announcement in the Federal Gazette. The 17th Amendment concludes a series of measures, including the Amendments of the Foreign Trade and Payments Act (Außenwirtschaftsgesetz, AWG) as well as the 15th and 16th Amendments of the AWV, aimed at tightening rules on foreign direct investment. As a result, more investment projects may be subject to the reporting obligation, leading to a potential increase in restrictions for or prohibitions of acquisitions.
The Amendment Ordinance slightly changes some of the existing definitions of critical sectors and significantly expands the number of critical sectors. The focus of the 17th AWV amendment is on the newly added regulations on foreign direct investment in future and high-tech sectors such as artificial intelligence, autonomous driving, semiconductors, optoelectronics or quantum technology. It is positive that the review threshold and the associated reporting obligation have been raised, as suggested by SPECTARIS in its comments on the draft, to at least 20 percent. For investments in critical infrastructures and in the armaments sector, the inspection threshold for a reporting obligation remains at 10 percent.
The 17th AWV amendment also explicitly regulates that renewed investments by the same investor in a company are also relevant for review - but in future only if certain clearly regulated thresholds (20%, 25%, 40%, 50% or 75% of the voting rights) are exceeded. This removes the existing legal uncertainties in the current audit practice and leads to a relief for investors and companies.
More information:Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy: Investment Screening
In recent years, the Indo-Pacific region has gained considerable economic and political importance. In August 2020, the German Federal Government set the course for its future policy with the countries in the Indo-Pacific with the Indo-Pacific Guidelines.
There are many areas in which Germany wants to cooperate more intensively with the states of the region - be it in strengthening the rule of law and human rights or in cultural, educational and scientific exchange. The security sector has a special role to play here.
Economic relations are also to be expanded - among other things, by concluding EU free trade agreements with other Indo-Pacific countries. It is also important to avoid one-sided dependencies by diversifying partnerships. Other topics include digitalisation, networking or visionary future technologies - issues that are important for Germany's global competitiveness. This also includes the social discourse on free access to information and protection against misinformation.
With the Guidelines, the Federal Government aims not least to promote a European strategy on the Indo-Pacific. For this reason, the strategy takes up European policy approaches and offers points of departure for closer cooperation at the EU level as well.
More information:Federal Foreign Office: "Germany – Europe – Asia: shaping the 21st century together”: The German Government adopts policy guidelines on the Indo-Pacific region"The Federal Government: "German government adopts guidelines for the Indo-Pacific region"