In a flurry of last-minute negotiations, the EU and the UK agreed on the form of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU, European Atomic Energy Community and the UK on 24 December 2020 ("TCA") to bring about the "Brexit deal" on their future relationship. As timing was extremely tight, with the end of the Brexit transition period looming a week later1, ambassadors for each EU member state approved the TCA in principle, so it passed through EU Parliament unopposed. It was then signed by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission for the EU.
By trainee Humzah Irfan at Sullivan in London
At Sullivan's monthly seminar in December, Mark Norris, partner at Sullivan’s London office, reflected on a roller-coaster year in 2020, breaking down key trade finance related events and picking up on common themes with a view on how issues from 2020 might feed into 2021.
Written by Amanda Montano and Szonja KolbenheyerThings have been moving quickly now on LIBOR and IBOR reforms, but with regulators in the UK, US and EU going at different speeds. Needless to say, it was a welcome development this week to see combined announcements on 30 November 2020 from the Federal Reserve Board, the Alternative Reference Rates Committee (ARRC), the LIBOR administrator ICE Benchmark Administration, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA). International cooperation really is needed as so many trade and export finance deals are inherently cross-border and often involve multiple currencies. The fact that USD LIBOR will be available for legacy loans until 30 June 2023 will help sectors like ou rs, which have been recognised
By trainee Humzah Irfan at Sullivan in London
Sam Fowler-Holmes restarted Sullivan's Breakfast Seminar, this time at lunchtime! On the day England moved into a second national lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sam provided an overview of the impact of COVID-19 on the trade finance sector. The presentation discussed issues from the progress in digitalisation in the trade finance market to Brexit and LIBOR.
This article is the second in a series looking at how to address some of the issues affecting trade finance documentation and transactions in the current climate.
The first article in this series analysed some of the issues that parties to a trade finance transaction should be aware of when considering amendments and waivers to their written contracts. This article continues to explore the issues that arise in connection with amendments and waivers, focusing first on the common question of how best to document an agreed amendment or waiver to an English law contract, and then considering how amendments or waivers to one contract can potentially (and possibly detrimentally) impact a party’s rights under a connected contract, and finally how to take steps to avoid or mitigate such impact.
How should I document an amendment or waiver in a trade finance transaction?
The starting point is always to consider any requirements set out in the relevant contract. Even if a contract is silent as to how it should be amended or waived, it is advisable to make any amendment or waiver in writing as, if well drafted, doing so helps to mitigate any later dispute about the intended scope or effect of the amendment or waiver.
This alert is the first in a series addressing the issues affecting trade finance documentation and transactions in the current climate.
Greater clarity for policyholders suffering business interruption losses due to Covid-19 — the FCA test case
Most commercial insurance policies are taken out in the expectation that a claim will never be necessary. For the most part, this expectation is borne out by experience, with the result that when the loss or damage occurs, policyholders are often unprepared for the claims process and are unsure about the obligations they will be expected to perform.
This article provides some practical tips for commercial policyholders to consider when a claim arises, along with recommendations to help smooth the claims process.
Written by: Geoffrey Wynne and Ryan Johnson (trainee solicitor)
The emergence of COVID-19 (the Coronavirus) at the end of 2019 has had an unprecedented impact on the global economic system. This alert focuses on the effect the Coronavirus pandemic is likely to have on small and medium sized businesses (SMEs), their lenders in the UK and the options available to continue trading and avoid insolvency. It will also consider recent measures that have been proposed by the UK Government to enable businesses to avoid insolvency during this pandemic, specifically the temporary changes to the insolvency rules and the financial support being offered by the UK Government.