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News October 2020

Belarus announced sanctions against renowned figures (yet unnamed) from the European Union (EU), Canada and the United Kingdom, the withdrawal of its ambassadors in Poland and Lithuania, and the request to those countries to reduce their diplomatic staff in Belarus. Russia said it would follow Belarus sanctions on the EU, Canada and UK.

In addition, Belarus will withdraw its ambassadors on 5 October 2020 from Poland and Lithuania, two countries that it accuses of being directly involved in the organization, guidance and funding of violent actions by the opposition.

The measures were announced after the EU finally approved a list of major figures under sanctions earlier in the day.
After Cyprus finally lifted its opposition to the sanctions, the EU finally announced restrictive measures would be introduced against 40 individuals as well as travel bans and asset freezes on officials accused of involvement in the political crackdown in Belarus. Angela Merkel is quoted as saying: "The European Union is now taking action against those who are opposing democratic movements.”
World Trade Organisation (WTO) members expressed their support for Timor-Leste’s bid to become a member of the WTO and commended the work done so far by the authorities in Dili to facilitate a swift accession process. At the first meeting of the Working Party on the Accession of Timor-Leste, the Timorese delegation highlighted the historic significance of the meeting and said WTO accession will be fundamental to accelerate economic growth and improve living standards.



News September 2020

The United States notified the Dispute Settlement Body on 28 September 2020 of its decision to appeal the panel report in the case brought by Canada in “United States — Countervailing Measures on Softwood Lumber from Canada” (DS533).
The European Commission launched a new Customs Union Action Plan setting out initiatives in the areas of risk management, managing e-commerce, the promotion of compliance and customs authorities acting as one. The Commission has drawn up a plan for work with 17 actions for the period up to 2025.

The Commission will also, by the end of 2021, complete an interim evaluation to establish whether the Union Customs Code and the electronic systems completed by that date are still fit for purpose. The evaluation will support decisions on whether the Code and its implementing and delegated acts should be revised. It will in particular consider whether the Code is sufficiently flexible to deal with the management of customs formalities during crises such as COVID-19 and new business models such as e-commerce. The Commission also plans to carry out work towards more harmonisation in the systems for infringements and sanctions in Member States.

The Directorate General of Trade Remedies in India has started an review of imports of copper tubes and pipes from Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand shipped between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020 to determine whether producers in these countries were receiving unfair government subsidies.

If the investigation determines that unfair subsidies did assist the exporting markets then this could result in these imports facing countervailing duties,

The World Customs Organization (WCO) is pleased to announce two new partnerships with the United Kingdom (UK) Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). These partnerships will leverage the WCO’s instruments, tools, standards and delivery methodologies to advance the implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in both middle-income and lower-income countries respectively.
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On 1st September 2020, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) was formed from the merging with the Department for International Development[2] and the Foreign Secretary's responsibilities merged with that of the Secretary of State for International Development.

The FCDO is managed by Sir Philip Barton, who took office on 2 September 2020 as Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, he is also the Head of Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service.

By on October 3rd, 2020
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