Welcome back to our Weekly Roundup where we share headlines and brief summaries of notable news stories from around the world, along with a link for those seeking further information.

These articles provide a quick and easy way for readers to stay up to date with current legal and business affairs.

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Ireland did not give Apple state aid, rules Europe’s second-highest court

Apple and Ireland have won their appeal against the European Commission’s €13.1bn tax ruling.

The General Court of the European Union (GCEU) ruled on Wednesday that that Ireland did not give Apple illegal state aid, overturning a European Commission decision four years ago Apple owed Revenue €13.1 billion in back taxes.

According to the GCEU, the commission was wrong to declare that Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe had been granted a selective economic advantage and, by extension, State aid.

It says the commission failed to show “to the requisite legal standard” that Apple enjoyed preferential treatment which amounted to illegal State aid.

The ruling may still be appealed by the commission before the Court of Justice of the European Union, the EU’s highest court.

You can read the full report from the Irish Times by clicking here.

EU-US Privacy Shield struck down by European court

The Privacy Shield agreement governing the transfer of personal data between the EU and the United States has been struck down by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in a judgement issued on Thursday morning.

Outlining the enormity of the decision, the Irish Times reported on Thursday “the justices gave a blockbuster opinion that will impact nearly every business, small to large.”

At its core the case was about whether the private information of EU citizens is properly protected when companies transfer it to U.S. soil.

The decision by the CJEU issued on Thursday, rules that it is not.

The Foxrock Academy have written an article which provides a whistle-stop tour of the history of the case and its consequences.

You can read that article here: https://foxrockacademy.com/2020/07/23/foxrock-academy-insights-schrems-ii-the-importance-of-data-protection-and-the-power-of-a-law-student/

U.K. businesses not ready for Brexit

According to a recent report from the U.K.’s Institute of Directors, only one in four companies are prepared for Britain’s full departure from the European Union when the transition period ends on 31 December 2020.

Nearly half of the company directors polled said they weren’t able to prepare right now, with one in seven distracted by coronavirus and almost a third saying they needed the details of any changes to be clear before adjusting.

978 company directors responded to the survey, which was conducted between 12-29 June 2020.

The full results of the survey are included in the table below:

We are fully prepared24%
We are somewhat prepared but intend to do more19%
We can’t focus on Brexit due to the impact of coronavirus on my organisation14%
We will adjust once final changes are clear31%
We don’t expect Brexit to impact my organisation11%
Don’t know2%

You can read the press release from the U.K.’s Institute of Directors by clicking here.

China enjoys an economic rebound

China’s economy grew 3.2% year-on-year in the second-quarter, substantially beating forecasts.

Data published last Thursday showed that the Chinese economy was recovering from a record contraction as lockdown measures ended and policymakers stepped up stimulus to combat the shock from the coronavirus crisis.

The world’s second-largest economy has been recovering slowly in the past two months, though the bounce from the pandemic-induced downturn has been uneven.

The government has rolled out a raft of measures, including more fiscal spending, tax relief and cuts in lending rates and banks’ reserve requirements to revive the coronavirus-ravaged economy and support employment.

You can read the full report form Reuters by clicking here.

Trade tensions escalate between the U.S. and China

U.S. President Donald Trump last week signed in to power the Hong Kong autonomy act which gives the U.S. powers to impose sweeping sanctions on officials accused of undermining Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous status, as well as banks and state entities that do business with them.

The move prompted at least two large international banks in Hong Kong to study which of their clients and partners may be exposed to the new sanctions.

China responded by sharply criticizing the moves and vowing to retaliate with punitive measures of their own.

The response from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing promised to continue a pattern of tit-for-tat punishments that have accompanied the sharp downward turn in relations between the two countries on a variety of fronts, from trade to technology to human rights.

You can read the full report from the New York Times by clicking here.

LK Shields gets a new Managing Director

Irish corporate law firm LK Shields has announced the appointment of David Williams as managing partner last week, taking over from Emmet Scully who will resume a client facing role as a Senior Partner in the Corporate and M&A team.

The move was part of a larger shakeup which also saw Gerry Halpenny takeover the role of Chairman from Michael Kavanagh.

Commenting on the change of leadership, Emmet Scully, outgoing Managing Partner said:

“The changes are part of exciting new developments in the management structures of the firm.  It was an honour to represent the firm as Managing Partner and I now look forward to returning full time to my client facing role as a senior Partner in the Corporate / M&A team.”

The press release from LK Shields can be read here.

Canada pledges $19 billion to help restart economy

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced that Canada’s federal government will give more than $19 billion Canadian dollars (€12 billion) to help pay for the costs of restarting the economy after several months of COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.

The funds will be distributed among the 13 Canadian provinces and territories and will take care of “the kinds of things that actually really matter to Canadians,” including preparing for a possible “second wave” of contagion.

Those things include contact tracing, providing protective equipment to workers, helping struggling municipalities pay operating costs, aiding local transit operators, “safe spaces” for daycare, and improving long-term care for the elderly.

The money will also allow the government to provide up to 10 days of sick leave for those who do not already have it.

You can read the full report from Reuters by clicking here.

About The Foxrock Academy

The Foxrock Academy helps students and graduates to secure internships and traineeships at prestigious corporate law firms.

It is our mission to open up the legal profession to a broader pool of talent.

We pride ourselves on our ability to guide, advise, and support candidates from a rich variety of backgrounds as they begin their professional careers.

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