The ICC Academy at the International Chamber of Commerce has published an excellent illustrated guide on export finance, which is needed to cover the gap between when an exporter is able to turn inventory and trade receivables to cash and when it has to pay on its trade payables. For the purpose of this guide, export finance refers to the financing of working capital tied to exports, that exporters avail from banks, financial institutions and alternative finance providers (collectively “finance providers”). It explains that export finance differs from “trade finance”, which is a broad term given to all the financing techniques tied to both imports and exports. However, the methods of financing are different, and they serve different purposes. Export finance may be provided within the framework of either –
documentary trade finance, including advance payment bond or guarantee; or
supply chain finance.
The options for financing are linked to the method of payment that the exporter and the buyer have agreed to transact on.
The International Chamber of Commerce is offering a free downloadable A4 chart that outlines the obligations, costs and risks of the buyer and seller under each of the 11 Incoterms rules. This handy chart can be easily printed and kept as a reference guide.
On 4 September, OFAC added the names of 4 individuals to its SDN List. They are said to be key figures that have facilitated the illegitimate Maduro regime’s efforts to undermine the independence and democratic order of Venezuela.
On 2 September, Unearthed reported that the UK is importing thousands of tonnes of sewage sludge to be used on farmland despite serious health and environmental concerns over the controversial practice. An FoI request has revealed that the Environment Agency (EA) has approved shipments that would see the arrival of 27,500 tonnes of sewage waste “for agricultural benefit” from the Netherlands, a country which has effectively banned the use of sludge from human sewage over concerns about toxicity.
On 4 September, Forbes Magazine published a feature, starting with a divorce battle said to involve billions stashed in a constantly changing array of offshore and South Dakota trusts. It says that, at the heart of the dispute are 3 techniques used by the rich to protect their wealth from (among other threats), tax collectors, creditors, disaffected business partners and yes, soon-to-be-ex-spouses. The oldest is offshore trusts, which have long frustrated creditors, but have been under attack by US tax authorities for more than a decade. The newer and increasingly popular techniques are domestic asset protection trusts (DAPT) and “trust decanting”. DAPT differ from traditional trusts in that they allow the rich to put assets in a US trust for their own benefit and then protect those assets from future creditors. “Decanting” is a ruse used to change the terms of a supposedly irrevocable trust by removing the trust’s assets and transferring them into a new trust, typically in a state with laws that provide for maximum asset protection and opacity and no state taxes. It is claimed that South Dakota has been the most aggressive in the race to “the absolute bottom of the pit”.
A briefing paper from the EU Parliament Research Service on 4 September says that since the discovery of offshore natural gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean in the early 2000s, Turkey has challenged its neighbours with regard to international law and the delimitation of their exclusive economic zones (EEZ), and destabilised the whole region through its illegal drilling and military interventions. Tensions in the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean have not been conducive to good neighbourly relations.
Legal Futures on 4 September reported that most incidents of cybercrime suffered by law firms are due to individual errors and misunderstanding rather than systems being hacked, research by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has found.
On 4 September, the Evening Standard reported that one of the biggest lawsuits against the alleged perpetrators of a retail investment scandal has been launched in the High Court with 13 businessmen being sued for £178 million over the alleged fraud at London Capital & Finance.
On 4 September, an article in the South China Morning Post reported that police in a city near Shanghai, recently busted an operation that used a so-called empty package scheme to launder illegal cross-border gambling money. The suspects used empty package delivery services to create false online shopping and delivery records to disguise illegal transactions – the so-called empty package scheme being used to launder illegal cross-border gambling money. Police say the scheme they discovered involves gambling platforms using third-party payment providers to transfer their gains and make it look like someone just bought something online. It works with the help of QR code providers who generate codes to transfer funds, and fake online shops.
On 31 July, the EU Institute for Security Studies published a research paper saying that October 2018, the EU adopted a sanctions regime against the proliferation and use of chemical weapons, and the sanctions regime against chemical weapons is not based on a UN Security Council mandate. It is said that it was the first in a series of EU autonomous regimes and was followed by a sanctions regime against cyberattacks in 2019, and another against human rights violations currently under preparation. The paper looks at the sanctions regime in the context of the recent attacks in Syria and the UK and international efforts employed to limit the proliferation and use of chemical arsenals. It explores why sanctions are emerging as a supplementary policy tool in tackling this shifting security challenge and analyses the implications for the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), before making recommendations for further action.