News (#12 December 2017)

Biznews

Visa Policy

Rules for entering Schengen Area may change

From 2020, the rules for entering the Schengen Area will change for citizens of countries which have a visa-free regime with the EU. As is known, it is currently sufficient to have a biometric passport, return tickets and documents confirming the purpose of a trip, period of stay and place of residence.

In two years, it will also be necessary to pre-authorize entry to the EU via the ETIAS system (The European Travel Information and Authorization System). That is, when planning a trip to Europe, you will need to go to a special site and fill out a registration form indicating: your full name, date and place of birth, nationality, passport data and travel purposes. People aged 18 to 60 will have to pass preliminary registration in the ETIAS system every three years. The completion of one online form will cost EUR 10.
Implementation of the ETIAS system will come at some price for the European budget: development and implementation will cost EUR 212.1 million, plus EUR 85 million for annual maintenance.

Japan simplifies visa requirements for Ukrainians

From 1 January, 2018 Japan will simplify visa requirements for Ukrainians. This is stated in a statement released by the Japanese Embassy in Ukraine.

It pointed out that measures to simplify visa requirements for Ukrainians holding ordinary foreign passports have already been defined.

The statement says that the circle of applicants eligible for multiple entry visas for short-term stay with business purposes and of cultural and scientific figures will be expanded, and the validity of visas will be increased from a maximum of 3 years to 5 years.

Also, multiple entry visas (with a validity of 3 years and a maximum period of stay of 30 days) for short-term stay with various purposes, including tourism, will be introduced.

Legaltech

Algorithm foreseeing potential judicial decisions

Students from the University of Cambridge have developed the CaseCruncher Alpha algorithm, which far more accurately predicted the decisions of the Financial Ombudsman than a hundred top-ranking lawyers. It was tested within the framework of the competition held in London, where they were provided with circumstances of several hundred cases on payment protection insurance. As a result, the machine gave correct forecasts in 86.6% of 775 cases. People-lawyers coped with the task in 66.3% of cases. It should be noted though that the chat bot turned out to be better than people only in tasks where the most precise wording was used.

The chat bot first answered routine legal questions, but then learned to foresee potential judicial decisions.

EU

First electronic signing of legal instrument on legal obligations

The first ever electronic signing of a legal instrument on legal obligations has taken place in the European Union. The President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, and the representative of Estonia, the country presiding in the EU, Matti Maasikas, signed electronic version of the revised Regulation On Gas Supply Security.

The electronic signature allowed for this document to come into force. This event marks the first public step at the EU level in the process of introduction of electronic signatures, the statement said.

This demonstrates the EUs commitment for implementation of eIDAS of European legislation, establishing a regulatory environment to ensure secure and uninterrupted electronic interaction between companies, citizens and state authorities, the document says.

In Europe, a qualified electronic signature has the same legal force for conduct of business, executive procedures or assumption of an obligation as a handwritten signature.

Competition

Google at centre of antitrust probe in Missouri, USA

The corporation Google Inc is the subject of a full-scale investigation in the United States in a case regarding alleged violation of consumer rights and antitrust laws. The statement from the Attorney General of the State of Missouri, Joshua Hawley, says that the investigation will focus on an array of client data collected by Google and on whether the practices of collecting, using and disclosing this information comply with state legislation.

The investigation aims to discover whether Google illegally uses the content of other sites and whether the company does not give priority to its own services when displaying search queries results.

The company stated that they have not received summons, and added that they have reliable protection of clients personal data and continue operating in a highly competitive and dynamic environment.

Trade Policy

New EU anti-dumping rules

The European Parliament has approved new anti-dumping rules with the intention to protect jobs and industrial manufacturing in the EU.

The resolution provides for more stringent EU rules to combat dumping and subsidized imports from third countries.

For the first time ever, EU trade rules will require partners to comply with international social and environmental standards to prevent dumping. The purpose of these measures is to strengthen protection of EU jobs and businesses from unfairly cheap imports from third countries with extensive government intervention in the economy.

The European Commission is meant to monitor the situation in exporting countries, and European companies can rely on its reports when filing complaints. Companies of EU countries will be exempt from additional burden to provide proof in anti-dumping cases besides the current procedure. Small and medium-sized enterprises will receive assistance on procedural matters. All stakeholders, especially trade unions, can contribute to decisions on trade protection measures.

The new rules will come into effect after they have been formally approved by the EU Council and published in the Official Journal of the EU.

Sanctions

Lithuanias Seimas adopted Magnitsky Law

The Parliament of Lithuania has adopted the so-called Magnitsky Law, which will prohibit entry into the country to foreigners connected to large-scale corruption, money laundering and human rights violations. The law will come into force on 1 January 2018 after it has been signed by President Dalia Grybauskaite.

In doing so, Lithuania has become the fourth country in the world to adopt such a legal instrument. The Magnitsky Law is in force in the USA, Canada and Estonia.

According to the law, a person can be blacklisted if there is information or good reason to suspect that a foreigner was involved in large-scale corruption, money laundering or human rights violations, following which a person, against who violation of rights was committed, died or was seriously injured, was unreasonably convicted or experienced other negative consequences.

Furthermore, the grounds for refusing entry into Lithuania can include a person posing a threat not only to security and public order in Lithuania, but also in other countries of the European Union and NATO.

The law, named after deceased Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, was adopted in the USA in 2012, to apply sanctions against Russian officials related to human rights violations. The USA prohibited issuing visas to them and froze their assets; the list currently contains more than 40 names.

M&A

CMS European M&A Outlook

Dealmaking appetites in Europe have seen a swift turnaround following the shock of last years Brexit vote, according to the fifth edition of the European M&A Outlook, published by CMS in association with Mergermarket.

Last years survey, conducted in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, saw dealmakers express an unprecedentedly gloomy view of European M&A activity, with 66% expecting activity to fall over the coming year and just 24% anticipating an increase. This years respondents (67%) expect European M&A activity levels to increase, while just 5% of respondents anticipate a slowdown.

Dealmakers seem to be adapting to a new normal in European M&A activity, Stefan Brunnschweiler, head of the Corporate/M&A Practice Group at CMS, notes. The mood among dealmakers is markedly different in 2017. While acknowledging some of the challenges they face, respondents are largely optimistic about dealmaking prospects for the coming year, with many suggesting they are ready to take advantage of opportunities stemming from dislocations that result from Brexit and from a return to economic growth in the Eurozone, he said.

M&A activity in Europe is showing some signs of stabilisation. According to Mergermarket data, M&A deal value in H1 2017 saw a sharp increase in value over the same period a year earlier, rising a third (33%) to EUR 443 billion.

According to the survey, the number of large, transformational deals is expected to rise. In line with the rise of larger, EUR 1 billion+, deals seen in the first half of 2017, two-fifths of corporates and nearly half of PE firms are seeking large, transformational deals over the next year.

Overseas buyers have been eyeing the European market with interest, with four of the top ten European deals in H1 2017 led by bidders located outside the EU. Respondents expect this trend to continue, with 90% saying they expect an increase in the number of European M&A deals involving non-European buyers and 60% anticipating an increase in value over the next 12 months.

This renewed dealmaking confidence on the continent looks set to translate into activity, with 66% of respondents this year expecting to engage in M&A, including acquisitions, divestments or both over the coming 12 months, up from 46% last year.

AMCU

AMCU authorized acquisition of 7 enterprises by Cypriot company

The Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine has granted permission to Cacique Limited (Cyprus) to acquire more than 50% of shares in 7 enterprises in Sumy and Chernihiv Regions, the final beneficiary of which is the main shareholder of the Kernel company, Andrii Verevskii. The main activity of these enterprises is growing grain and oil-bearing plants.

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