TDI Yearly 2020 – a vibrant conference on trade launches the 3E Research Centre of BSoG
On Friday 19 February 2021, the 3E Research Centre for Environment, Economy and Energy officially launched its activities under the new umbrella of the Brussels School of Governance (BSoG). The event marking the launch was the TDI 2020 Annual conference. For the third time already, this unique yearly gathering of over 150 trade law and policy experts convened for a lively exchange on the latest developments in the field. This year, the event was organised online, yet maintained the successful format of the previous years.
In the key note speech, the Chief Trade Enforcement Officer of the EU, Mr. Denis Redonnet, gave insights on how this new position reflects a more assertive DG Trade, actively defending the EU’s economic and sustainability interests globally on the basis of competitive neutrality. He underlined the new focus on proper FTA implementation and mentioned the numerous initiatives to equip the EU with additional instruments (White paper on foreign subsidies, updated enforcement regulation, new anti-coercion instrument). His excellent overview was followed by three expert panels. On anti-dumping, Professor and Commission Head of Unit Frank Hoffmeister summarised the Commission’s perspectives on key cases in the field from 2019. His presentation was followed by practitioners’ reflections on the merits and potential weaknesses in the new AD methodology (Bao Yongqing -- Steptoe) and the lesser duty rule (Lorenzo di Masi -- Crowell & Moring). On countervailing duties, Cathy de Backer from DG Trade outlined the Commission’s new approach on transnational subsidies through the recent Glass Fibre Fabrics case. In that high-profile case the Commission attributed certain preferential financing from Chinese policy banks to Chinese companies operating in Egypt to the Egyptian government. Commentaries on the potential challenges to and the broader implications of the approach were offered, respectively, by practitioners Juhi Sud (VVGB) and Byron Maniatis (Jones Day) -- both in fact alumni of the BSoG’s own LLM in international and European law (“PILC”). The event provided also the first insights on the trade implications of BREXIT on both the UK and EU sides: a British delegation of four high government officials from the Department of International Trade (Director Claire Vince, Stephen Johnston, Pippa Thorogood and Andreea Novanc) was complemented by private sector (Cliff Stevenson) and DG Trade (Fabrice D’Aprile) viewpoints.
“We were very impressed by the way that the panelists and the audience engaged in a lively and open discussion”, noted BSoG Professors Frank Hoffmeister and Harri Kalimo, who moderated the conference. “3E Research Centre is already preparing the TDI Yearly 2021 for 18 November 2021, COVID or not!” and counts, like in previous editions, on the help of an advisory committee consisting of specialised members of the Brussels bar (Renato Antonini, Yves Mélin, Bernard O’Connor, Olivier Prost, Edwin Vermulst).