Insights

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Tackling “fake” FDI: why China is clamping down on foreign acquisitions

Financial Services

At the end of November, the Chinese government indicated that it intended to exert greater scrutiny over Chinese outbound investment. Draft policy papers released online outlined a new policy whereby government approval would be required for foreign acquisitions valued over US$10 billion, or US$1 billion if the target was considered to be outside of the acquirer’s core…

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Trump, the Paris Agreement and the impact on climate change policy

Energy & Commodities

US President-elect Donald Trump has wavered very little throughout his campaign in his stance on climate change – calling it a hoax and threatening to roll-back all regulations and funding supporting it. The Trump win in the midst of climate negotiations left many wondering just how far Trump would aim to take the US away from any and all climate action, including the…

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General Politics

Austria – does the centre still hold?

General Politics

Once again, much of the European mainstream was relieved on Sunday evening, when – against expectations - the far-right FPŐ candidate was defeated by a 46-54 margin by the Green-backed independent Alexander Van der Bellen in the re-run of the second round of the presidential elections. Following the UK vote to leave the EU and Donald Trump’s election to the US presidency,…

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General Politics

David Davis blurs the government line on migration

General Politics

In the 12 months before the EU referendum, migration to the UK remained at historically high levels, with a record 284,000 new settlers from the EU contributing to a net intake of 335,000. While this reflects the buoyancy of the British economy compared to the rest of the continent, it will create a headache for Theresa May in trying to balance implementing a referendum…

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Europe’s Energy Union: the house that Maroš and Miguel built

Sustainability

This week’s ‘Winter Package’ of new energy and climate change legislation was described by an effusive European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič as “a Christmas present” for MEPs on the ITRE and ENVI committees. They will now be the envy of their legislation-starved peers. At well over 1000 pages it is a monster, with 11 main documents and a plethora of supporting…

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The decline and fall of regulatory empire-building

Financial Services

Global Counsel hosted an interesting seminar with Nicolas Véron of Bruegel recently about the future of international standards for financial regulation. This assessed the EU’s appetite for designing its rulebook to be attractive for other jurisdictions, and more specifically whether this might help the UK agree some form of ‘super-equivalence’ that could provide…

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BT and Ofcom – who will blink first?

TMT

Frustrated by the lack of progress in its attempt to reach a voluntary agreement with BT Group about the future of its Openreach subsidiary, UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom, this week raised the stakes. Chief Executive, Sharon White, notified the European Commission of its intention to impose legal separation between BT and Openreach, its infrastructure network. This…

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Trump, Iran and the future of the deal

Trade & Manufacturing

Donald Trump may be a deal maker, but on the Iran nuclear deal he is a wild card. He has said he would police the strict implementation of the nuclear deal with Iran, which is President Obama’s primary foreign policy achievement. He has also said his top priority is to dismantle it. Such contradictory statements are a Trump signature, but make understanding his Iran…

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General Politics

Donald Tusk plays Ukrainian trump card

General Politics

The EU-Ukraine summit in Brussels on Thursday just ended on an unusual note - and not just because Donald Tusk delivered some of his closing remarks in Ukrainian. He also officially said that the EU now bears the entire responsibility for successful completion of the visa facilitation process and the Association Agreement implementation impeded by the results of the Dutch…

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Protecting Tech – is it in the public interest?

TMT

"I am tackling the longstanding problem of our fastest growing technology firms being snapped up". So said UK Chancellor Philip Hammond this week. Yet the very next day it was announced that Skyscanner, one of the UK’s leading tech companies, had been “snapped up” up by Ctrip.com, the Chinese online travel company for £1.4 billion. Should we see this as an example of the…

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General Politics

How long will Rajoy put up with being in office but not in power?

General Politics

The Spanish parliament’s vote earlier this week to raise the minimum wage from 655 to 800 euros a month - despite the opposition of the governing People’s Party (PP) - highlights the unusual situation that the PP finds itself in, of having to govern in a parliament where a hostile opposition has a majority. 

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Could UK exporters miss the ECJ?

Trade & Manufacturing

GC has just published a report with colleagues from Herbert Smith Freehills and The Boston Consulting Group looking at some of the implications of a ‘hard Brexit’ for traders between the EU and the UK. Media coverage of the report has focused on the headline issue of tariffs being re-imposed on EU-UK trade. But, among many other things, the report flags the important…

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Trade Post-Brexit

Trade & Manufacturing

In collaboration with Herbert Smith Freehills and The Boston Consulting Group, Global Counsel has co-authored a paper looking at the meaning and implications of a hard Brexit for businesses, aiming to help them understand the role they may play in shaping this or an alternative outcome.

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The power of procedure: how might the UK parliament shape Brexit?

General Policy

A contest for control of the Brexit process is playing out between the government and parliament in the UK. The complex, opaque rules of parliamentary procedure have suddenly become central to the ability of either side to dictate the tempo and content of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Understanding these rules is key to understanding whether and how parliament can…

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General Politics

Russian economy minister arrested, but the ship sails on…

General Politics

Russia woke up this morning to news unprecedented in its modern history – a serving minister has been arrested for an alleged $2 million cash bribe over the 50% privatisation of Bashneft oil company by the powerful Rosneft. An operation led by the Investigative Committee and the Federal Security Service reminded some of infamous high-profile night-time arrests in the…

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Britain’s not quite open for business

Trade & Manufacturing

In Delhi last week I had the opportunity to hear how Indians see Britain and what they make of Prime Minister Theresa May.

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Will the LinkedIn case start a chain reaction for US tech businesses in Russia?

TMT

This week the Americans elected a new president who is portrayed by some as an agent of change for US-Russian relations and a potential advocate of large US businesses operating in Russia. Donald Trump was quickly congratulated by President Putin, who publicly sought to restore severed links with Washington. What happened within the next 36 hours to two large US tech…

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General Politics

Is Renzi making the same mistake as Cameron?

General Politics

Discussing Italy’s constitutional referendum with people in Milan this week, I was struck by the parallels with the UK, and the ways Matteo Renzi risks falling into the same traps as former UK Prime Minister David Cameron. Though a victory for the ‘Yes’ side led by Matteo Renzi cannot be ruled out given the large number of undecided and abstaining voters, Renzi now seems…

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