Global trade is undergoing fundamental change.
Brexit, tensions between the US and China, and Asia's determination to play a greater role in globalisation will have a dramatic impact on trade for years to come. Trade agreements are notoriously slow and complex for governments to negotiate, and during this period of uncertainty, our trade experts can help our clients to manage the impact on their businesses.
Trade in 2023
2023 is likely to be a crucial year in establishing the course of global trade policy for the coming decade, with radical changes to domestic rules on permitted state subsidies, supply chain regulations, cross-border data transfers, environmental-related tariffs and foreign investments possible in many jurisdictions. Questions also remain over the future of multilateral trade architecture, with proposals for ambitious trade agreements and WTO reform at critical junctures in the coming months. Explore our seven trends for businesses and governments to consider in 2023.
An isolated case or a precedent after all? – The WTO decision on the suspension of patent protection
In October 2020, India and South Africa submitted a widely noticed proposal to the WTO: Patent protection should be temporarily suspended for all technologies aiming at preventing, containing, and/or treating COVID-19, arguing that the patents would reduce the ability of countries to ensure the supply of vaccines as well as medical devices necessary to combat COVID-19. Read about the WTO decision on the suspension of patent protection.
Semiconductors - Increasing governmental and regulatory scrutiny
Semiconductors are essential for many aspects of our lives – work, communication, energy production, healthcare and travel – as well as national security systems and military hardware. A global shortage of semiconductors and increasing protectionism means that the industry is of major strategic and geopolitical importance to governments. We take a look at increasing regulation, what it means for M&A and some of the challenges that lie ahead. Read more about semiconductors - increasing governmental and regulatory scrutiny.
WTO makes progress at this year's ministerial conference (MC12)
After years of stalled negotiations, the World Trade Organization agreed a suite of deals at its bi-annual Ministerial Conference (MC12) held in Geneva in June. These include: an IP rights waiver concerning COVID-19 vaccines; an Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies – the first new WTO Agreement signed since 2013 (and also the first ever sustainability-focused WTO agreement); and an extension of a moratorium on applying customs duties to electronic transmissions. The package shows that WTO Members remain capable of agreeing new multilateral trade rules, even if the substance of such rules left some WTO Members disappointed. Here, our experts assess what came out of MC12. Read about the WTOs progress at this year's ministerial conference (MC12).
UK & EU
Tariff sweetener not a subsidy: The first test of the UK's post-Brexit-subsidy control regime
This briefing provides an overview of the High Court decision in R (on the application of British Sugar Plc) v Secretary of State for International Trade, which provides guidance on the scope, role and interpretation of EU and WTO jurisprudence under the UK's post-Brexit trade and subsidy regime. Read about the tariff sweetener not a subsidy: The first test of the UK's post-Brexit-subsidy control regime.
Streamlining foreign investment and CFIUS processes: What you need to know
Navigating foreign investment regimes can be critical to the success of a transaction. Foreign investment scrutiny is increasingly being applied to global M&A transactions. The global trend towards protectionism has led to more restrictive government measures. This requires a more strategic and co-ordinated approach towards foreign investment rules. Explore our guide on foreign investment and CFIUS processes.