Recent press releases of interest

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Iran: export controls are still very important!

“Implementation Day” does not lift all sanctions against Iran

(Münster) Media reports may be giving the wrong impression that sanctions against Iran have been completely lifted. This is not the case. In the case of Iran, export controls continue to be very important. Accordingly, companies should exercise reasonable care when trading and still perform checks as part of internal compliance. 

„Implementation Day“

On “Implementation Day”, the relaxation of sanctions mandated by the amending Regulations came into effect. However, the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) continues to apply. The next milestone is “Transition Day” on 18.10.2023, which will lift the weapons embargo and sanctions relating to missiles and missile technology. Two years later, on 18.10.2025, the JCPOA will end with “Termination Day”, which will lift nuclear sanctions.  In the US, the sector that looks likely to profit most from “Implementation Day” is the aviation industry where sanctions have been comprehensively relaxed. However, nothing else has changed for US persons who trade with Iran directly. Iran will still be an E:1 country for the forseeable future, subject to a de minimis limit of 10%. 

What changes are there with regard to prohibitions and authorisation requirements?

In the EU, Embargo Regulation EU Reg. 267/2012 (as amended by two Regulations from October 2015) continues to apply even after Implementation Day. Accordingly, business operations such as exports / supplies and even the sale of certain items (!) are still affected by prohibitions or authorisation duties. The annexes to both the items and persons lists have been amended. Here, it should be noted that the sector-specific embargo measures (e.g. key naval equipment, key equipment for the oil and gas industry) and the special notification and authorisation duties for certain capital and payment transactions have been lifted. Other annexes relating to items (annexes I – III; VII B) have been amended. Certain items continue to be prohibited whereas others require authorisation. Contrary to first impressions, the annexes now apply to goods not previously restricted. The classification parameters in annexes I, II, II have also been re-drawn. The annexes of persons, entities and bodies subject to restrictions, have reduced rather than abolished. The application procedures have been amended accordingly: under certain circumstances and depending on the type of items concerned, there is a duty to communicate the BAFA’s intention regarding authorisation to all Member States within 10 days. In addition, applications relating to Annex I items (NSG) have to be submitted to the United Nations.


Which sanctions are unaffected?

Implementation Day does not have any effects on the sanctions imposed by Regulation (EC) No. 359/2011 owing to the situation regarding human rights in Iran. These sanctions continue to apply. The same is the case for all other restrictions under export control law according to the EC Dual Use Regulation; the German Foreign Trade Regulation (AWV), the Anti-Torture Regulation (Regulation (EC) No. 1236/2005) and Firearms (Regulation (EU) No. 258/2012). The weapons embargo according to §§ 74ff. AWV continues to apply as well. 


Protection of existing contracts

The EU Regulation does not serve to protect existing contracts in the case of snapback. In other words, sanctions will be re-established should Iran significantly breach the JCPOA. The recitals to the Decision and (amending) Regulation permit a flexible and reasonable protection of existing contracts in the case of snapback. Should the EU re-introduce restrictive measures against Iran, the performance of contracts will be adequately protected. This relates to contract that, according to the JCPOA, were concluded at a time when the sanctions were lifted.

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Press Release 27. Januar 2016



Iran embargo: no liberalisation for the time being

The IHK Nord Westfalen’s “Exportclub” meets at the AWA AUSSENWIRTSCHAFTS-AKADEMIE // In focus: what exporters should expect from the lifting of the Iran sanctions

Gerhard Laudwein and Tanja Glaß (from left) of the IHK Nord Westfalen with the speaker, Matthias Merz of the AWA Foreign Trade Academy

(Münster) “Act cautiously, act sensibly because the Iran Embargo is still in force. From a purely legal point of view, exporters must keep in mind that the embargo has not yet been amended. Goods requiring an authorisation still require an authorisation and prohibited goods remain prohibited. According to a recent statement by the Federal Office for Economics and Export Controls (BAFA), the prospect of embargo regulations being lifted at some time in 2016 was not influencing the processing of authorisations.” Matthias Merz, Managing Director of the AWA AUSSENWIRTSCHAFTS-AKADEMIE GmbH was talking on the subject of the Iran embargo at the invitation of the “Exportclubs IHK Nord Westfalen.

According to Mr. Merz, companies trading in non-critical dual-use goods should not expect to see any liberalisation in the near future. Indeed, with the entry into force of the new Regulation in early 2016, the existing class of non-critical goods was even set to expand! Caution had to be exercised in relation to the prohibitions already in force. Depending on the products concerned (e.g. dual-use goods), contractually agreeing to undertake preparatory activities such as the intention to sell would generally contravene the prohibition on sales. As a result, exporters currently had little room to manoeuvre. Merz concluded his presentation with the following advice: “Under these circumstances you can certainly make plans and discuss matters with Iranian interested parties but nothing more. You should still adopt a conservative approach to export controls.”

On the 14th of July, an agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme was reached in Vienna. The “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action“ provides for the progressive lifting of sanctions. In return, Iran has undertaken to limit its enrichment of uranium and related nuclear activities and allow a comprehensive inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The agreement features various milestones (i.e. “Adoption Day”/”Implementation Day”).

The IHK Nord Westfalen‘s “Exportclub” offers a forum for company representatives to discuss current developments relating to import and export.

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Press release of 09.November 2015

"Act cautiously, act sensibly because the Iran Embargo is still in force."
The IHK Nord Westfalen‘s “Exportclub” offers a forum for company representatives to discuss current developments relating to import and export.

The TTIP and its benefits for export

Prof. Dr. Hans-Michael Wolffgang of the University of Münster discusses the advantages brought about by dismantling trade barriers

(Münster) “If this bilateral trade agreement does come to fruition, it will bring many advantages fortransatlantic trade, not least because it promises to dismantle customs duties and trade restrictions. The German export industry will particularly benefit from the uniform rules and standards established in the agreement“, says Prof. Dr. Hans-Michael Wolffgang, Director of the Department of Customs and Excise at the Institute of Tax Law of the University of Münster. Overall, he regards the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement (TTIP) as a positive development in trade.

Currently, the dispute resolution provisions of the TTIP are proving to be the greatest source of controversy. Many critics fear that private arbitration tribunal bodies are there to serve commercial interests of global corporations. Prof. Dr. Hans-Michael Wolffgang understands these concerns and would like to see an institutionalised system of arbitration (e.g. an international court of arbitration with full-time and independent judges), as well as greater transparency in the proceedings. Such measures could win over many critics of the TTIP. On the other hand, if the TTIP does not enter into force, Prof. Wolffgang believes that EU exports could suffer. This is because the USA, Japan and other Pacific Rim countries are currently negotiating their own trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). If these countries were to agree on reducing their customs duties, Prof. Wolffgang fears that it would become more difficult for the EU to trade with Japan, for example.

Trade agreements like the TTIP are one of the topics investigated by the English-language “Master ofCustoms, Taxation and International Trade Law”, that the University of Münster offers in partnership with the AWA AUSSENWIRTSCHAFTS-AKADEMIE GmbH. “This postgraduate course is specifically designed for strategic managers. Participants learn how the customs world operates. They will use this knowledge to identify developments in international trade and plan appropriate strategies (e.g. in relation to global procurement, production locations or potential markets)”, said Dr. Christopher Dallimore, Head of Studies.

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Press Release of Juni 2015

AWA and AWB Join Forces in Corporate Run

AWA FOREIGN TRADE ACADEMY and AWB Tax Consultancy compete in the TUJA-corporate run

Johannes Damm (AWB), Robert Witte (AWB), Claudia Hudasch (AWB), Britta Leukert (AWA), Kristina Brüffer (AWA) and Thomas Hülskramer (AWB).

(Münster) On the 21st of March 2015, the annual TUJA-corporate run took place in Münster. Six ambitious runners from the AWA AUSSENWIRTSCHAFTS-AKADEMIE and AWB Steuerberatungsgesellschaft bravely took up the gauntlet as two mixed-teams. The challenge was daunting: a fiercely-contested run of five kilometers around the Aasee. Overall, our “coalition of the willing“ needed 20 – 35 minutes to complete the route.

The AWB team achieved an excellent fourth place - which only whetted their appetite for greater things in the future: “We will definitely compete again next year. It was great fun to see how we measured up to other companies in the run” said Kristina Brüffer, who organised the AWA und AWB marathon teams. “At the beginning of August will be taking part in a marathon to raise money for children with cancer.”

This year, the 14th TUJA corporate run attracted a total of 190 teams.

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Press release of 1. April 2015

Grants for promising students

AWA FOREIGN TRADE ACADEMY (AWA) provides financial support for students at the University of Münster

Vice-Rector for Teaching Student Affairs Dr. Marianne Ravenstein with Managing Director (CEO) of the Foreign Trade Academy Matthias Merz (r.) and the scholarship Patrick Diermann und Theresia Lakomek (source: AWA).

(Münster) Since 2013, the AWA has been supporting the law students Theresia Lakomek and Patrick Diermann in their studies at the University of Münster. The students receive monthly grant of 300 euros each. The amount is divided equally between the AWA and the government of NRW. The grant is provided as part of the “ProTalent” programme – one of many initiated by the Federal Government.

Patrick Diermann, now in the seventh semester of his law studies, appreciates the value of the AWA scholarship: “It is very expensive to prepare for exams, considering seminar trips, stays abroad or specialist literature. The grant helps me to cover these additional costs. AWA is also very well connected. Especially in the law, this can prove very useful when looking for a position later on“.

Theresia Lakomek has also benefitted from the AWA’s financial support: “The grant helped me to spend time studying in England. Also, I am currently preparing for my exams and thanks to the grant I am not forced to find a job. This means I can revise intensively without distraction.”

“It is important for us to support students at the University of Münster not least because of the close ties we have enjoyed with the WWU over the years. The AWA grew out of the Institute for Tax Law and we still work very closely together. We profit greatly from the knowledge gained through research and teaching”, says the AWA’s Managing Director, Matthias Merz, who was himself a law student at the WWU. He also points out that the grant intends to recognise the achievements of the students.

This year represents a new record for ProTalent, with 223 scholarship holders supported by 84 donors.

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Press Release of 9. February 2015

The AWA Social Day for Münster

AWA AUSSENWIRTSCHAFTS-AKADEMIE and its partner organisations in Münster will be holding the AWA Social Day for Münster on Monday, 23.07.2012 for the second time.

Twenty-six employees whole-heartedly supported the idea to devote one day for charitable activities in Münster. The idea came to Matthias Merz, Managing Director of the AWA, in Spring 2011. What is the AWA Social Day for Münster? On this day, Matthias Merz releases all his employees to pursue charitable activities in Münster. 


Compliance: a source of tension

The first AWA Compliance Summit attracts representatives of companies of all sizes to Münster.

In order to be successful in international trade, companies must be compliant. Within the context of international trade, the term "compliance" refers to legal certainty and adherence to legal requirements as core elements of a company's reliability. At the first AWA Compliance Summit on the 2nd and 3rd of November in Münster over 100 company representatives and renowned speakers from politics, science, trade and the administration discussed current developments and subjects in foreign trade.
(Unofficial translation of a newspaper article from 04.11.2011)

To see the full article (in German) click here


AWA donates 5,000 euros to Landhaus Rothenberge

To mark its 15th anniversary, the AWA Foreign Trade Academy has donated 5,000 euros to the renovation of Landhaus Rothenberge at the start of its anniversary conference on the 3rd November.
(Unofficial translation of a newspaper article on 03.11.2011)

For the full article (in German), click here


A "Win-Win" situation from the outset

AWA Foreign Trade Academy celebrates its anniversary

Pro-rector Dr. Marianne Ravenstein praises the cooperation with the University

(Unofficial translation of a news report on 03.11.2011)

For the full article (in German), click here


AWA Social Day: Doing good for the community instead of just another day at the office...

AWA FOREIGN TRADE ACADEMY supports local charities and social organisations
AWA AUSSENWIRTSCHAFTS-AKADEMIE (AWA) and its partners organised the first AWA Social Day for Münster.
(AWA notice of 16.08.2011)
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New addresses for importers and exporters

AWA FOREIGN TRADE ACADEMY opens a conference centre in Munich
(AWA notice of 22.10.2010)
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Unique qualification

Master of Customs Administration (MCA)
(AWA notice of 04.02.2010)
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Münster University now sponsors the best students with 300 euros per month

(Reference to an article in the Münstersche Zeitung of 02.02.2010)
Click here for the full article (in German)...


Financial boost for students

(Reference to an article in the Westfälische Nachrichten of 02.02.2010)
Click here for the full article (in German)...