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STTAS EU Trade Weekly

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Europe

Switzerland introduces new sanctions against Russia

The new measures seek to eliminate ways of bypassing the sanctions previously imposed by the European Union, of which Switzerland is not a member. They limit lending to five Russian banks and six companies and add to the sanctions list another 24 companies and individuals with whom it is not permitted to enter into new agreements. The list of restrictions on exports of military and dual-use goods was also expanded to cover another nine Russian companies. (Unian)

Protocol amending UK/Japan Double Taxation Convention comes into force

The protocol amends a 2006 treaty between the countries, adopting the authorized OECD approach for business profits attributable to a permanent establishment. The treaty reduces the threshold shareholding requirement for dividends exempt from tax in the source country from 50 percent to 10 percent and exempts interest from taxation by the source country in principle. (MNEtax)

Minor adjustments to EU-Canada FTA possible

Small changes in the investor protection clause in the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement are possible, says EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom. The clause is disputed, mainly by Germany, because it would allow companies to take cross-border legal actions against governments. A similar provision is expected to be included in the projected EU-United States FTA. (Euractiv)

Asia

ASEAN introduces pilot Customs Transit System

The ACTS is expected to reduce transaction costs, improve delivery times of transit cargo, provide electronic tracking of transit cargo and expedite the implementation of ASEAN transport facilitation agreements. Work on developing the pilot ACTS started on 20 October and is expected to take 18 months, followed by testing in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand from April to October 2016. (ASEAN)

Australia, China deepen ties with landmark free trade deal

The deal, which Australia called the best ever between Beijing and a Western country, will open up Chinese markets to Australian farm exporters and the services sector while easing curbs on Chinese investment in resource-rich Australia. (Reuters)

Middle East

Kuwait plans to spend $40bn to boost oil output to 4 million barrels per day by 2020

Kuwait plans to invest around $40 billion to boost its oil production capacity to 4 million barrels per day by 2020 from around three mbpd currently. OPEC  expects demand for its oil to fall in 2015 as higher supply outside the group, particularly in the U.S. due to its shale energy production, squeezes OPEC’s market share. (Trade Arabian Business News)

Saudi Arabia to double natural gas output by 2030, no exports planned

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, will double its natural gas output by 2030 but plans to keep all of it at home to fuel domestic growth, the country's oil minister said 12 November. Saudi Arabia has the world's fifth-largest natural gas reserves at 291 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. (Reuters)

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