Insights

Sustainability icon

Three ESG policy trends to watch in 2021

Sustainability

Elizabeth Beall
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2020 marked a step change in how both corporates and investors consider ESG, driven in large part by policy and regulatory changes. 2021 is set to be a year where ESG will start to have real bite. With greater regulatory and market scrutiny, increased reporting and thus greater data, the bar on what is considered as ‘good’ ESG performance will continue to rise. 

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Energy and commodities icon

Prospects of a transatlantic deal on energy and climate change

Energy & Commodities

Giorgio Corbetta
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Climate and energy policy will be a dominating feature of Biden’s cabinet. Decision-making will be more systematic but could also be complex given the high seniority of the (at least) seven cabinet members who will be involved in energy policy (all awaiting Senate confirmation except for John Kerry and Gina McCarthy). Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, as Energy…

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Financial services icon

The progressives strike back: Biden nominates FTC Commissioner as CFBP Director

Financial Services

Erin Caddell
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This week US President Joe Biden nominated Rohit Chopra, currently a Democratic commissioner with the Federal Trade Commission, as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the lead US consumer-finance regulator, heralding a more activist period for the CFPB following the more business-friendly approach of the Trump era. Kathleen Kraninger, the Trump…

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General Politics

Europe’s post-2008 political fragmentation is being tested

General Politics

Alessandro Gangarossa
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The emergence of fragmented political landscapes has been an increasingly shared phenomena in European capitals in the past decade. The financial crisis was a profound shock for many European traditional centre-left and centre-right parties, which were dropped by the electorates both for their handling of the crisis and its aftermath. In their wake, smaller, often less…

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Reconciliation alone won’t revive the GCC’s economic project

General Policy

Thomas Gratowski
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Saudi Arabia and Qatar agreed to settle their dispute at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in al-Ula earlier this month. Despite uncertainty until the last minute, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE followed the Saudi lead and grudgingly restored land, sea and air transport links with Qatar. Riyadh’s willingness – and in the end eagerness – to end the crisis was prompted…

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Is the UK about to go its own way on gene editing?

General Policy

Ana Mendes
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Earlier this month, the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) launched a consultation on the regulation of genetic technologies, prompting speculation that gene editing (GE) in agriculture may, in the coming years, be permitted in the UK. As the UK settles into its newly acquired independence from EU regulation, there is an opportunity for it to…

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Budget reconciliation puts Biden agenda in play despite tight Congress

General Policy

Miranda Lutz
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The Democrats’ historic win in the Georgia Senate races on January 5th was largely overshadowed by the violent storming of the US Capitol the next day. While the implications of that attack will continue to reverberate throughout American politics, it is worth zeroing in on how Georgia Democratic candidates Raphael Warnock’s and Jon Ossoff’s wins impact President-elect…

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The strategic logic behind the EU’s investment deal with China

General Policy

Gregor Irwin
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In late December, the EU concluded a comprehensive agreement on investment (CAI) with China. The deal is controversial, not so much because of its economic content, but because of what it says about the EU’s priorities and because of its potential geopolitical implications. Are these concerns valid?

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Trade and Manufacturing icon

Retail and Rules of Origin after Brexit

Trade & Manufacturing

Stephen Adams
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With UK-based distributors in retail and other sectors facing EU tariffs on products originating outside the EU, UK Politics and Policy Practice Lead Alex Dawson and Senior Director Stephen Adams examine how Rules of Origin requirements will affect eligibility for tariff-free access after Brexit and what this means for businesses.

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Financial services icon

New US consumer debt collection regulations are a boon for larger players

Financial Services

Erin Caddell
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Unnoticed by most amidst the tragedies and dramas of 2020, US regulators last month completed a years-long effort to update the rules surrounding the unglamorous but important function of collecting delinquent consumer debt. Effective November 2021, the new rules are a positive for larger US-based debt-collection firms, which buy or service non-performing loan portfolios…

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General Politics

Brexit Deal - what we know so far - 24 December 2020

General Politics

Stephen Adams
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This conversation is based on publicly available information and previous draft texts at 5pm on Christmas Eve 2020.

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Global Counsel Holiday Reading List 2020

General Policy

Benjamin Wegg-Prosser
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At the end of each year, the Global Counsel team has a tradition of sharing among ourselves a selection of our favourite articles (or podcasts) from the past year for Christmas consumption. We started sharing the list with our network in 2017, and the response has been positive enough for us to continue. 

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Ukraine’s tech plans - high hopes and ambivalent expectations

TMT

Alexander van der Wusten
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Ukraine, known for its skilled IT workforce, has recently suffered from a brain drain of young IT talent. The government now hopes that the launch of its ambitious IT project in mid-2021 will stem the flow by both promoting Ukrainian tech start-ups and attracting foreign investment. In January, the Ministry of Digital Transformation expects a parliamentary debate on a…

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General Politics

Reviewing Germany’s EU presidency with Olaf Scholz

General Politics

Peter Mandelson
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On a recent Global Counsel digital event, Lord Mandelson and German Vice Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, discussed the work of the German presidency, the EU’s strategic autonomy and German politics. 

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Is there any room left for progressives in Biden’s cabinet?

General Policy

Ben Bassett
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Although less than half of President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet has been announced, progressives are already becoming impatient. “Joe Biden’s Cabinet Is a Lost Cause for the Left” reads the headline of a recent article in the New Republic, a liberal-leaning magazine. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), a prominent progressive, has criticised Biden’s choices as lacking a…

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Growth and sustainability of MedTech SMEs

General Policy

Tom Smith
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Promoting the growth and sustainability of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) has long been a UK government priority with a compelling policy story: alongside recognisable corporate giants in the life sciences and MedTech sectors, the UK will be wanting to continue to support the vibrant ecosystem of entrepreneurialism with a wide range of SMEs contributing to the R…

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Biden picks Congressional staffer for top trade post

Trade & Manufacturing

Miranda Lutz
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President-elect Joe Biden has reportedly decided to nominate long-time Congressional staffer, Katherine Tai, to be the US Trade Representative (USTR), the lead trade negotiator for the administration. Tai has served as the Chief Trade Counsel for Democrats on the House Ways & Means Committee, and previously worked at the USTR under both the Bush and Obama…

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What we can learn from the rush to repay the business rates relief

General Policy

Felix Cazalet
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Last week, the UK supermarket chain Tesco decided to repay £585m of business rates relief received in the covid-19 pandemic. Other major UK supermarkets and retailers rapidly followed. By Friday, they had vowed to return a total of £1.8 bn. Tesco’s chairman John Allan argued that “giving this money back to the public is absolutely the right thing to do” and was widely…

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