10 February 2014

Did You Know? Issue 176

10th February 2014

1. Easing of EU Sanctions on Iran: 2. Bribery Act enforcement?  3. Report Shows Corruption Still Plaguing EU Nations:  4. Importing is good! It’s official: 5. Disappointing Update on Brazil & Carnets: 6. Update of EU Restrictive Measures document: 7. New address for CITEX: 8. Happy Birthday to Strong & Herd LLP9. Open consultation: Simplification of Intrastat: 10. Changes to UK OGELS:  11. China published its Tariff Nomenclature for 2014:
 

1.  Easing of EU Sanctions on Iran: The EU announced in January 2014 some amendments to the EU Sanctions on Iran (Council Regulation 2014/42/EU) which means some sanctions have been suspended for a period of 6 months (until 20th July 2014).  The amendments also increase the authorisation thresholds in relations to the transfers of funds to and from Iran
 

 
The vast majority of prohibitions contained in Regulation 267/2012 (as amended by Regulation 1263/2012) remain, in particular, prohibitions against the provision of insurance to certain Iranian persons, entities or bodies, the supply of key equipment and technology in the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors and prohibitions on dealings in aluminum, graphite, certain semi-finished metals and natural gas.
Iranian banks are no closer to dealing directly with EU banks and the asset freeze remains. The reality is that the easing of EU offers little real benefit today to most of our clients. For those clients for whom trade is legitimate today - in particular in relation to medical goods, pharmaceuticals, humanitarian matters, food and agriculture - they will continue to face the commercial challenges of actually getting paid.  EU banks are permitted to be involved in those legitimate transactions but choose not to. Until there is a change of heart by the EU banks to agree to do something they are in fact permitted to do, any relaxation in EU sanctions will have little real impact on the ground. It is suspected that the EU banks are afraid to incur the wrath of the USA.  Now that the US has released its “Guidance Relating to the Provision of Certain Temporary Sanctions Relief in Order to Implement the Joint Plan of Action”, it is not unrealistic to expect that if negotiations continue in a positive manner that the US stance will soften later this year and that the EU banks will consequently feel more comfortable to open themselves up to legitimate Iranian business.
 
2. Bribery Act enforcement?  Will the next 12 months bring us the first significant prosecution under Britain's Bribery Act? We asked the same question last year, and the answer turned out to be no. Through 2013 the Serious Fraud Office said it had several cases in progress. But none came to court. Then at the end of the year the SFO was hit by yet another high-profile courtroom humiliation. The trial of a £40 million ($65 million) bribery case against businessman Victor Dahdaleh collapsed after a key witness changed his evidence and two U.S. lawyers crucial to the case refused to testify.  How we can help.
 
3. Report Shows Corruption Still Plaguing EU Nations: Corruption remains a major and costly issue for the European Union’s member states, according to an EU Anti-Corruption Report released this week. The report, issued by the European Commission, said corruption costs the European Union roughly €120 billion each year. A survey released in conjunction with the report showed 76 percent of Europeans feel corruption is widespread in their country, and 56 percent said corruption has worsened over the past three years. “Member states have done a lot in recent years to fight corruption, but today’s report shows that it is far from enough,” Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said in a statement.
 
4. Importing is good! It’s official: Conventional wisdom that imports harm domestic production and employment needs to be rethought if Britain is to hit its target of doubling exports to £1 trillion by the end of the decade, it has been claimed.  Buying goods from abroad is key to this country’s export success, according to a new study out today from HSBC – but only if Britain is a “smart” importer. The bank’s Importing for Success report highlights how British technical expertise can have a “multiplier” effect, as UK companies source components abroad because it is cheaper than making them here. The companies then add value by bringing such parts together in more complex products that are then sold abroad.  Read More
 
5. Disappointing Update on Brazil & Carnets: It appears that Brazil has taken a step back in the process of issuing and accepting carnets. In August 2013 Brazil was entertaining proposals for an ATA Carnet national guaranteeing organisation. The deadline for proposals was 30th September 2014. However, only one candidate came forward, Brazil Confederation of Trade and Business Associations (CACB), and they were judged not to be suitable.  Many questions remain outstanding and little is known at this point regarding the reasons for CACB being deemed unsuitable but governing bodies have been contacted for additional information. Unless a national guaranteeing organisation can be established in Brazil within the next month it seems highly unlikely that we will be able to facilitate the use of carnets for the companies supporting the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in 2014.
 
6. Update of EU Restrictive Measures document: The EU updated on 29th January 2014 its Restrictive Measures (Sanctions) in Force document (previously updated 31stJuly 2013).  It does not include national legal instruments on restrictive measures or other national measures in response to the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) Decisions and UN Security Council Resolutions.  Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) provides a legal basis for the interruption or reduction, in part or completely, of the Union’s economic and financial relations with one or more third countries, where such restrictive measures are necessary to achieve the objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).  The document is attached here – be aware it is 111 pages long.
 
 
7. New address for CITEX (Customs International Trade and Excise) written enquiries:  With immediate effect enquiries should now be sent to
            HM Revenue & Customs
            CITEX Written Enquiry Team
            PO Box 30001
            GLASGOW
            G67 9EX
Alternatively you can make your enquiry on-line by using the Customs International Trade and Export on-line enquiry form at www.hmrc.gov.uk
 
8. Happy Birthday to Strong & Herd LLP: On the 13thFebruary Strong & Herd LLP will have been trading for 19 years – we would like to thank all our clients for making this possible and we are looking forward to working with you in the future.  We are also planning to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of our International Trade & Customs Business Support Helpline – known as OneCall – in August 2013.  As valued members of this service we’d love to hear from you with your comments – to let us know what you think of the helpline, make suggestions for further developments and ideas on how we should mark this anniversary, Click here.  If you are on LinkedIn why not follow our company page and learn more about us  
 
9. Open consultation: Simplification of Intrastat: UK HMRC have opened a consultation document and are inviting comments on EU proposals to reduce the burden on businesses required to submit Intrastat declarations, and seeks evidence on their impact on businesses and the statistical data made available to users. HMRC have also introduced a workable UK alternative to the EU proposals, and assess and compare the relative impacts, costs and benefits. They are after views from anyone who has an interest in this area, in particular businesses required to submit Intrastat declarations and users of trade data.  Closes 8th April 2014 Read more
 
10. Changes to UK OGELS:  The UK Export Control Origination (ECO) has amended a large number of OGELS recently – it is important that you check you are shipping under the correct cover.  Two changes relate to a) the requirement to complete the annual report of usage and b) the automatic expiry of your OGEL registration if you do not use in 2 years
 
11. China published its Tariff Nomenclature for 2014: According to the Announcement of GAC [No. 73, 2013], the new Tariff has come into effect since January 1, 2014. Economic operators are advised to update and manage their Duties & Taxes strategies accordingly. The major adjustments reflected in China Tariff 2014 involve both import and export duties. Details are available at:
http://www.questoud.com/xPu/Point131227.pdf

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