20th June 2017

1. Brexit update:  2. Leaving the EU: 3. HMRC update Approved Exporter applications: 4. Classification Decisions - latest Session of the HS Committee:  5. EU signs 2018-2020 customs cooperation agreement with China: 6. EU Renews Sanctions: 7. GCC partners put sanctions on Qatar: 8. EU works to strengthen trade relations with China: 9. Turkey-Russia Agreement: 10. EU-India trade deal possible after Brexit: 11. Nigeria Office for Trade Negotiation to Advise How to Resolve EPA Challenge: 12. OFAC penalty on Epsilon Electronics over-ruled


1. Brexit update: After the UK General Election the Brexit negotiations started in Brussels between the UK Brexit Secretary David Davis and EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday 19th June 2017.  Though there will be lots of comments in the press and on the internet don’t expect anything definite to come out on what is being discussed in the short term.  Remember this is not a negotiation to set up the trade agreement with the EU27 it is setting out the terms for the UK to leave.  If we do not get a transitional period or an extension to the exit date laid down in Article 50 the UK will cease to be a member of the EU at the end of March 2019.  The UK acknowledged that terms of the split will be addressed first and its future relationship with the EU will have to wait. Officials also made clear that the UK will be leaving the EU single market. Read More


2. Leaving the EU: Eractive Article says that more than half of all UK imports come from other EU countries, but if the UK imposes tariffs or standards diverge after Brexit consumers are likely to face higher prices for a wide range of products, from fruits and vegetables to electronics and cars. In addition, 44 percent of UK exports currently go to the EU market, but some estimates say the loss of access to the EU single market after Brexit could wipe out 30-50 percent of those exports. Similarly, UK exports to countries in which the EU has preferential access may fall once the UK is no longer part of the associated agreements.

The FT wrote that after Brexit the UK will need to renegotiate at least 759 treaties.  FT research reveals that agreements with 168 countries must be redone just for Britain to stand still READ MORE

3. HMRC update Approved Exporter applications: HMRC have updated the information and guidance on completing the Approved Exporter forms (related to preferential trade with the EU under FTAs and similar agreement).

·        Apply for approved exporter status using the print and post form

·        Guide for completing form C1454

·        Guide for completing form C1454 for Turkey only

·        Apply for approved exporter status online

4. Classification Decisions - latest Session of the HS Committee:  Below are the classification decisions taken at the last Session of the Harmonized System Committee (59th Session) in March 2017 which came into force on 1 June 2017: the Classification Rulings, the Amendments to the Explanatory Notes and to the Compendium of Classification Opinions.


5. EU signs 2018-2020 customs cooperation agreement with China: The agreement’s priority areas of focus are protecting citizens and combating illegal trade through effective customs controls while accelerating and reducing administrative burdens on legitimate trade. It will support continued cooperation on supply chain security while facilitating reliable traders, intellectual property rights enforcement, and the fight against financial and environmental fraud. Cooperation has also now been extended to e-commerce.[European Commission]

6. EU Renews Sanctions: EU has renewed or updated sanctions this month on the following countries/ areas:

·        The Russian Federation - until 21 January 2018 Read More

·        Syria - until 1 June 2018. See Council Implementing Regulation 2017/907 implementing Council Regulation 36/2012 and Council Decision 2017/917 amending Council Decision 2013/255/CFSP

·        Guinea Bissau – sanctions continue Read Notice

·        Central African Republic – amended Read More

7. GCC partners put sanctions on Qatar: On Monday, 5th June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and moved to close off access to the Gulf country, with an embargo on air, sea or land traffic to and from Qatar.  On the 15th June 2017 Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE have jointly designated 59 people and 12 entities as supporters of al-Qaida and associated organisations.  Read More and Shippers look for alternative routes to, from Qatar

8. EU works to strengthen trade relations with China: Speaking at an EU-China business summit before a formal gathering of political leaders, European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström regretted that EU companies continue to face barriers in China but acknowledged that it was time to depart from the old model of partnership in response to a changing world. “Reciprocity should be the guiding principle of our relations,” she said. [Read More - Euractiv]

9. Turkey-Russia Agreement: Turkey and Russia signed a joint declaration on 22nd May 2017 to remove trade restrictions between the two countries. Read More

10. EU-India trade deal possible after Brexit: Some analysts believe Brexit may make it easier for the EU to conclude an agreement since it will no longer have to take account of British concerns. Germany’s business lobby is urging the EU to restart negotiations that have been stalled for years over disagreements on agriculture, generic drugs, and worker movement.[Read more at Politico]

11. Nigeria Office for Trade Negotiation to Advise How to Resolve EPA Challenge: When it fully takes off, the newly-approved Nigeria Office for Trade Negotiation (NOTN) is to advise the federal government on how best to go about resolving the contentious Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah has said. The Federal Executive Council (FEC) recently approved the establishment of NOTN to act as the pivot for the negotiation of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements between Nigeria and other countries and agencies. The EPA, which is a response to continuing criticism that the non-reciprocal and discriminating preferential trade agreements offered by the European Union (EU) are incompatible with World Trade Organisation (WTO) to rules, is a scheme to create a free trade area (FTA) between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), but has been mired in controversy.


·        Full Article
New African economic partnership enters into force, critics still unconvinced
EPA Trade Deal With Europe Is a Form of Colonialism, Says Magufuli

12. OFAC penalty on Epsilon Electronics over-ruled: The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has overturned a $4million OFAC penalty on US audio product supplier Epsilon Electronics, and remanded the case back to the lower court with instructions for OFAC to reconsider the penalty.  OFAC said that Epsilon knew or had reason to know that it shipped around $3.4m of car audio and video equipment to a company that re-exports most of its products to Iran, although it did not find any direct evidence that the shipments made their way there.

The DC District Court had granted OFAC’s motion for summary judgment.  The Court of Appeals found that while 34 of the 39 shipments concerned violated US sanctions on Iran, 5 of the shipments did not and therefore OFAC should reconsider the monetary penalty it imposed. In addition, it found that while OFAC did not need to show that the goods ended up in Iran, only that they left the US, OFAC had not adequately explained its determination that Epsilon had reason to know that the goods would end up in Iran and so its final decision on liability was capricious and arbitrary.

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