On 11 October 2011 the European Commission decided on a proposal for an ordinance on a common European Convention on the Sale of Goods. The convention is set to further develop the single, standardized European market. At present, when it comes to cross-border trade between companies and overseas purchases by consumers, the 27 different national legal systems of the individual member states continue to apply in spite of the single market, which in practice represents a hindrance to both small-scale exporters and consumers.
By Michael Davidson, Haines Watts
More than one in three (35%) business owners in the UK fear that their management team will cause them to hit a growth ceiling. Their concerns are legitimate – over half (53%) of management teams have never helped grow a business prior to the one they now work in.
By Nan Sato and Jacopo Genova, Shimin Law Offices
The overall Chinese economy seems to be slowing down. Certain aspects of the economy, however, are growing fast. Fueled by an expanding middle class and the State government’s effort to transition from a manufacturing economy to a service one, the movie industry is growing at an extraordinary pace despite the downward pressure of the overall economy.
On May 8, 2013, the European Commission proposed a draft directive that is to enable every EU citizen to make cashless payments, by setting up a bank account. According to a current study, within the Member States of the EU around 58 million residents above 15 years of age do not have their own bank account, in spite of the fact that cashless payments are continually increasing in significance.
The standard form of foreign trade balance is facing criticism. The allegation is that the actual added value will no longer be mapped if the flow of goods and services is viewed as a whole each time it crosses a border. A method that takes the criticism into account will be applied in a database shared by the "club of the industrialized nations", the OECD and the World Trade Organization, WTO. This will compile only the added value that a country adds to an export product or to a particular service aimed at the external market.
The third Anti-Money Laundering Directive as a legal framework is based on standards established by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and states that it falls into the responsibility of the EU to protect the financial system against money laundering and terrorist financing. One of the obligations internationally agreed upon is that the EU Commission will review and appropriately adjust its legislation. In the meantime, a corresponding report has been approved by the Commission. The Commission plans to propose a fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive this autumn, following the conclusion of the public consultation period on June 13, 2012.
By Dr Gustavo Traversoni, Traversoni & Bengolea Abogados
For the first time in modern history, Argentina is being ruled by a non-traditional political party – neither Peronist nor UCR. The current government has a centrist profile and supports long term liberal policies; it is clearly promarket and has the strong determination to take the country back to the place it was wrongfully taken from owing to the populist policies of the last decades.
By Arman Varosyan, Art-Lar Finance and Accounting LLC
The activities of recent years prove that, even with limited resources, Armenia has managed to form a flexible economic system to some extent. However, the high speed of growth of public debt and a slowdown of economic growth still exist.
In the opinion of the EU Commission, the construction sector may become a motor to create new jobs in the union. Subsidising low-energy buildings is to be the key. Loans of around EUR 120 billion made available by the European Investment Bank in June 2012 for the Growth and Employment Pact are to be increasingly used for this purpose.
On average, it currently takes five weeks and costs about EUR 400 to reregister a car registered in a EU country in another member state. If the proposal of the EU Commission is followed, this procedure will get faster, easier, and cheaper in the future.
Eleven EU Member States have asked the European Commission to introduce a financial transaction tax (FTT) within the framework referred to as enhanced cooperation. The Commission gave the green light on February 14, 2013, since all legal requirements for the project were met. The eleven participating countries expect tax income of 30 to 35 billion euros per year. In addition, the financial transaction tax should ensure a fairer contribution by the financial sector to the national budgets.
On 18 July 2012, the EU Commission asked the 27 member states for a mandate to negotiate with Japan about a Japan-EU free trade agreement. This move is welcomed by the pharmaceuticals and food industries as well as the service sector, among others. Japan is the second-largest trading partner of the EU in Asia.
EU Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier, speaking in Straßburg on 15 November 2011, declared that ratings must no longer be allowed to aggravate market volatility. He presented EU Commission proposals for a directive as well as a regulation for the stricter control of rating agencies. No business is conducted on the bond market without a credit rating from a rating agency. This is not only a long-standing practice, but also demanded by government regulation in some countries – for example the provisions of the SEC regulatory authority in the USA.
On 12 March 2013 the European Commission in Brussels agreed on a draft mandate for negotiations with the USA about the planned transatlantic free trade agreement. Now the EU member states have to approve the draft in the European Council. Then the negotiations can begin. EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht explained the subsequent schedule: "I am very pleased that the European Commission has already prepared a draft mandate for future negotiations, just one month after the EU and the USA announced the decision to pursue this revolutionary trade agreement. I hope that the approval of the member states is going to follow quickly, so that working with the United States can begin even before the summer break."
The EU Commission is insisting on increased security when it comes to imported goods. Furthermore, the risk management procedures at the EU's external borders should be standardized. In particular, the relevant customs information should be made quickly and reliably available to all of the participating authorities in each member state.
So-called 'non-banks' are by no means demonized by the European Commission. In fact the contrary is true as, from the Commission's perspective, they represent an additional source of financing and offer investors alternatives to bank deposits. However, they also present a risk to the entire finance system. The EU wishes to counteract this risk potential by regulating the shadow banking system.
The EU Commission presented its proposal to combat dumping and government-subsidised imports on 10 April 2013. Plans are in place to modernise the system to protect against unfair trade practices of foreign companies, which has remained largely unchanged since 1995. The proposals merely require the consent of the European Parliament and Council.
The directive valid in the European Union governing the regulation of working hours dates from the year 2003. New legal regulations aimed at adjusting to suit the profoundly changing working world are considered overdue. This affects, among other aspects, on-call services, minimum rest times and the flexible calculation of weekly working hours. A proposal for a new directive is to be submitted by the end of 2012.
The development and expansion of a trans-European transportation network (TEN-V) is being subsidised with co-financing by the European Union. EUR 200 million is available this year for 74 projects selected by the EU Commission. Roads, waterways, rail links, airports and seaports are eligible in principle.
2012 will not go down as a growth year in the annals of the EU. In its autumn assessment presented on 7 November 2012, the EU Commission actually predicted a reduction in GDP by 0.3 percent for the EU economy in the current year. The EU Commission expects slight economic growth again in 2013. On the other hand, the assessment predicts that unemployment will remain at a high level.