Groningen Journal of International Law

International Law Under Construction

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Customs Unions: Trade Law’s Forgotten Child

By Michal Ovádek|  

Until customs unions (CUs) started to make headlines in British newspapers following the UK’s decision to depart from the EU, there has been little public or legal-academic interest in the concept, perhaps with the exception of Turkey whose estimation of its CU with the EU has decreased in proportion with the probability of its joining the Union. Has the disinterest been warranted? Not quite – more than 110 countries around the world are members of at least one CU and the concept dates back to at least 19th century Germany, where it played a part in German unification. In a recent research project, my colleague Ines Willemyns and I have looked at the state of international law governing CUs in a bid to contribute to the understanding of this particular form of regional economic integration, not least because it has been a source of considerable confusion in the Brexit discourse.

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Battling Tax Evasion Through the Trade Regime – Advance Pricing Agreements as Prohibited Export Subsidies under the SCM Agreement

By Vincent Beyer, Graduate Institute Geneva | 

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis the search for untapped sources of government revenue gained momentum. The long overdue efforts in the fight against Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) were largely concentrated in the OECD. At the same time the possibilities created by existing rules, particularly in the field of international trade, that may serve to tackle certain forms of BEPS went largely unnoticed. The interstate discipline imposed by the trading regime may provide limited means to support the fight against tax avoidance, especially where governments are complicit in the profit shifting by multinational corporations. Continue reading