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Koen Verhelst

Rīga, Latvia
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About Koen
Koen Verhelst is a journalist based in Brussels, covering EU topics for Politico.

He was previously stationed in Riga, covering the Nordics and the Baltics.
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EU countries float new Russia sanctions tool after Navalny’s death

29 Feb 2024  |  www.politico.eu
Eight EU countries have proposed a new sanctions instrument targeting Russia following the death of anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny. The foreign ministers of Czechia, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Sweden signed a letter to the EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell, advocating for a Russia-specific sanctions regime. The regime aims to target individuals involved in domestic repression in Russia, with Navalny being the latest high-profile victim. The ministers also suggested adding new listings under the EU's Global Human Rights Sanctions regime as a quicker alternative to a full-blown 'Navalny Act'.

EU faces pressure to sanction Russian aluminum

05 Feb 2024  |  politico.eu
European aluminum producers and four EU countries are urging the European Union to impose an embargo on Russian aluminum imports as part of the upcoming sanctions package marking two years since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Despite the pressure, a full ban is unlikely by the anniversary due to opposition from countries like Italy. The EU aims to present the 13th sanctions package by February 24, but it is expected to focus on new individual listings and a ban on exporting dual-use goods and battlefield products to Russia. Industrial consumers, represented by FACE, strongly oppose sanctions on aluminum, warning of severe economic repercussions. EU diplomats are currently negotiating the terms of the new sanctions package.

EU’s courtship of Indo-Pacific gets cold shoulder from big powers

02 Feb 2024  |  POLITICO
The European Union's attempt to engage with Indo-Pacific nations faced setbacks as key European and Indo-Pacific foreign ministers, including those from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Australia, India, and South Korea, did not attend the EU's third Indo-Pacific ministerial meeting in Brussels. The meeting was overshadowed by the Middle East conflict, with criticism from developing countries about the West's perceived double standards regarding the situations in Ukraine and Gaza. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell emphasized the EU's commitment to security in the Indo-Pacific despite being preoccupied with conflicts closer to home.

New US steel and aluminum tariff quota proposal expected in days, EU's Dombrovskis says

28 Nov 2023  |  mlexmarketinsight.com
A new US proposal for tariff rate quotas on European steel and aluminum is anticipated in the coming days, according to EU trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis. Previous talks between the EU and US aimed at removing current tariff rate quotas on these materials failed last month.

EU's trade deals hold exports up and keep China and others at bay, EU Commission expert says

28 Nov 2023  |  mlexmarketinsight.com
The EU's trade deals are crucial for maintaining the bloc's global export market share amidst growing competition from China, India, and other large economies. The European Commission's chief trade defense officer highlighted the significance of these deals in helping the EU navigate the competitive international trade landscape.

Keeping financial services out of EU due diligence rules for now might be only way forward, document suggests

16 Nov 2023  |  mlexmarketinsight.com
Excluding the financial sector from the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, at least temporarily, is considered the most viable option for advancing the controversial law currently under negotiation by lawmakers and governments, according to an internal document.

Argentine president-elect ‘seems positive’ on EU trade deal, EU trade boss says

30 Oct 2023  |  mlexmarketinsight.com
The Argentine president-elect Javier Milei appears to have a positive stance on a trade deal between the EU and the South American bloc, according to EU trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis. Dombrovskis emphasized the significance of trade agreements, stating they should not be abandoned due to electoral outcomes.

EU's Net-Zero Industry Act draft adopted without changes by industry lawmakers in European Parliament

25 Oct 2023  |  mlexmarketinsight.com
The EU's Net-Zero Industry Act has advanced closer to interinstitutional negotiations following approval by the European Parliament's industry committee, with 43 members voting in favor, 12 against, and three abstentions. The law will proceed to a full parliamentary session in Strasbourg next month, where additional amendments could be introduced.

Australia may try to keep EU trade deal alive with offer to ditch tax on luxury car imports

16 Oct 2023  |  mlexmarketinsight.com
Stalled negotiations on an EU-Australia trade agreement may receive a boost with a planned meeting between negotiators at a Group of Seven trade ministers meeting. Australia might consider abolishing its tax on luxury car imports in exchange for better market access from the EU.

EU lawmakers adopt sustainability due diligence position, setting up talks with governments

03 Oct 2023  |  mlexmarketinsight.com
The European Parliament adopted a compromise position for the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, with 366 members voting in favor, 225 against, and 38 abstaining. The position was negotiated by Dutch social democrat Lara Wolters, setting the stage for further talks with governments.

EU glass fiber makers seek protection as China ramps up output in Egypt

01 Oct 2023  |  www.politico.eu
European glass fiber producers are seeking increased protection from the European Union against low-priced competition from China's Jushi Group, which has ramped up production in Egypt. Industry association Glass Fibre Europe is consulting with the European Commission on how to address this issue, warning of potential risks to the EU's strategic autonomy. The EU currently imposes lower tariffs on glass fiber imports from Egypt compared to China, leading to concerns about market flooding and price undercutting. The article highlights the strategic importance of glass fiber in various industries and the ongoing challenges faced by EU producers.

Can national charges be added to EU duties, judges asked in Romanian e-bikes case

27 Sep 2023  |  mlexmarketinsight.com
A Romanian court has sought clarification from EU judges on whether a company required to pay EU dumping duties can also be mandated to pay associated national charges. The case involves Network One Distribution, which imported e-bikes or related parts from Thailand and is now facing these charges.

Green steel, aluminum talks in stalemate as EU and US make little progress

07 Jul 2023  |  mlexmarketinsight.com
Talks between the EU and US on a new green steel and aluminum deal have reached an impasse. Despite commitments to prevent tariffs from returning in October, neither side is willing to disclose the progress made.

Talks on EU developing-country trade policy extended amid stalemate on migration, safeguards

13 Jun 2023  |  mlexmarketinsight.com
Legislative talks on the EU’s revised trade program to remove import duties for developing countries ended without agreement. The negotiations between EU lawmakers and governments on a new version of the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) concluded after about two hours, with a stalemate around migration and trade safeguards.

Dumping duties on Russian steel companies will stay as appeal to EU's top court fails

08 Jun 2023  |  mlexmarketinsight.com
Dumping duties on cold-rolled flat steel from Russia will remain in place after the EU Court of Justice dismissed a challenge by two steel producers as inadmissible or ineffective. The court upheld a 2021 ruling that maintained the duties.

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