September 2021: Issue 1

Human Rights

UN Security Council Adopts Resolution on Afghanistan

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on the situation in Afghanistan. The Council condemned the “deplorable attacks” near the Hamid Karzi Airport in Kabul and “demanded that Afghan territory not be used to threaten or attack any country or shelter or train terrorists, or to plan or to finance terrorist attacks.” It called on all parties to allow full, safe, and unhindered access for the United Nations” and other humanitarian actors and encouraged the reaching of an “inclusive, negotiated political settlement. To read more about the story, click here.

WhatsApp Faced a record $266 million by Ireland Agency

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has been fined €225 million ($267 million) for breaking the European Union’s data privacy rules. Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) announced the decision in an 89-page summary (PDF), noting that WhatsApp did not properly inform EU citizens how it handles their personal data, including how it shares that information with its parent company. WhatsApp has been ordered to make updates to its already lengthy privacy policy and change how it notifies users about sharing their data. This will bring it into compliance with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which governs how tech companies gather and use data in the EU. GDPR came into effect in May of 2018, and WhatsApp was one of the first companies to be hit with privacy lawsuits under the regulation.

International Trade Law

WTO panel issues report regarding US safeguards on imported photovoltaic cells from China

The World Trade Organisation (WTO), rejected China’s challenges to the US’s safeguard tariffs on solar products. The WTO observed that tariff-rate quotas imposed by the erstwhile Trump administration on Chinese imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic (CSPV) cells used on solar panels and in CSPV products did not breach any rules. Former US President Donald Trump had announced four years of import caps and tariffs in January 2018 on foreign-made solar panels. He raised tariffs on imported solar cells and modules from China, which started at 30% in 2018 and also eliminated an exemption for two-sided solar panels that were set to expire in 2022. To read more, click here and here.

Panel established to review China’s compliance with Tariff Rate Quotas

In April 2019, the World Trade Organization (WTO) held that China was in compliance with its Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs) obligations which are related to agricultural imports. Due to this, the US Government decided to seek authorization to suspend concessions and benefits enjoyed by China. Now, the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of the WTO has granted China’s second request and established a panel to determine the compliance of China in fulfilling its TRQ Obligations. To know more about the story, click here and here

International Commercial Arbitration

Kyobo Life wins ICC Arbitration against financial investors

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) ruled in favour of a South Korean insurance company, Kyobo Life Insurance, in an arbitration dispute relating to the company’s delayed IPO. The company in 2012 had sold a 24 percent stake of their company on the condition of going public by September 2015. However, the IPO plan fell through, post which the financial investors demanded a buyback of the 24 percent sold due to a breach of contract. However, the ICC held that the chairman of Kyobo Life Insurance, Shin Chang-jae is not liable to buyback the stake as in 2018, the majority of the board had opposed the IPO plan. To read more, click here and here.  

International Investment Law

Energy Charter Treaty not applicable in intra-EU disputes

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) held that the Energy Charter Treaty which allows companies to sue foreign countries over decisions that affect the company’s energy investments cannot be used in lawsuits between the European Union countries. The ECJ reasoned that the treaty undermines the role of the European Union courts. Several legal experts have claimed that this may practically be the ‘end’ of the Energy Charter Treaty. To read more, click here and here.

Curated by Kirti Vardhan Singh and Aryaman Kapoor.

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