Cabotage gains new incentive with cost reduction

The Federal Government reduced the import tax for vessels destined for cabotage operations in Brazil. With this, the expectation is to reduce by 40% the cost to import a specific vessel for this segment. The measure is part of ‘BR do Mar’, a plan that aims to boost maritime cargo transportation along the Brazilian coast.

Today, the import tax rate for vessels is 14%. But with the plans to encourage cabotage, which should be revealed with the disclosure of the BR do Mar, the issue has been analysed by the Foreign Trade Chamber (Camex), which approved the elimination of the tax.

The measure was announced and celebrated by the Minister of Infrastructure, Tarcísio Gomes de Freitas. For him, the Government’s decision is “a huge nod to those who are willing to invest in the sector, create jobs, move the entire production chain and contribute to expand the participation of the cabotage matrix in Brazil’s transport matrix”.

For port consultant Fabrizio Pierdomenico, the measure is also welcome. “This is the first step in making cabotage an important modal. I always say that it competes directly with the road mode. So as long as it is not cheaper, faster, more efficient, more competitive with freight and road documentation, cabotage will be at a disadvantage”.

On the other hand, the consultant points out the risk of the measure having side effects. The idea, according to Pierdomenico, is that the tax exemption lasts from 12 to 24 months.

“The problem is to stop using Brazilian shipyards to manufacture these vessels. But I don’t see how not to do that in the short term”, said the expert. He points out that the measure is valid since, “if the intention is to give a supply shock in lines, it is necessary to have ship”.

Other measures

Pierdomenico believes that BR do Mar has to resolve other issues to boost cabotage. One of them is the issue of bunker oil, the fuel of navigation, considered one of the obstacles to the development of the modal. “The bunker represents a huge cost. There has to be different treatment for cabotage”, he said.

The BR do Mar may be published through a bill or a Provisional Measure (MP).The idea is that ships carrying cargo through cabotage will have a differentiated treatment, which can guarantee a reduction in bureaucracy and agility compared to long-haul shipping, which will not have a revision of standards and regulation.

Eversheds Sutherland continues Chicago growth with Tim McCaffrey

Eversheds Sutherland is pleased to announce that Timothy J. McCaffrey has joined as counsel in our recently opened Chicago office. Mr. McCaffrey is the fifth attorney to join the Chicago office since it opened in May; he joins Partner Robert D. Owen in establishing Eversheds Sutherland’s Litigation Practice Group in the Windy City.

“We are committed to growing our presence in the Midwest and are thrilled Tim is joining us in Chicago,” said Ronald W. Zdrojeski, Partner and Co-Head of Eversheds Sutherland’s Global Litigation Group. “His strong reputation in the real estate market will be beneficial to clients with interests in Chicago and beyond.”

Mr. McCaffrey focuses his practice on real estate litigation and regularly counsels clients on real estate development, acquisitions, dispositions, financing, leasing defaults and disputes, and commercial foreclosures. He also has extensive experience advising construction clients including the representation of owners, contractors, subcontractors, and design professionals in disputes related to design and construction defects, project cost disputes, and mechanic’s liens.

In the last 20 years, Mr. McCaffrey has represented some of the largest private equity fund and real estate developers, owners, and managers in litigation over their assets. He has significant experience in civil and criminal litigation that includes class action lawsuits, antitrust actions, and breach of contract actions in the securities, construction, health care, pharmaceutical, and financial industries. In addition, Mr. McCaffrey brings white collar fraud criminal experience that includes cases involving public corruption, mortgage fraud, tax fraud, health care fraud, public finance, and insurance fraud.

He has also worked on numerous internal investigations and represented clients with respect to government investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Litigation Practice Group

With more than 100 litigators, Eversheds Sutherland’s Litigation Group has tried and argued cases in the US Supreme Court, all 13 circuits of the US Court of Appeals, the Court of Federal Claims, the Tax Court and hundreds of federal district and state trial and appellate courts. Eversheds Sutherland’s litigation team represents regional, national and international clients from a broad range of industries, including energy, financial services, securities, insurance, construction, manufacturing, automotive, distribution, education, professional services, data privacy, electronics, technology and defense.

HFW boosts fast-growing transactional offering

Global, sector-focused law firm HFW has continued to expand its fast-growing transactional offering with the hire of senior corporate finance partner Wing Cheung.

Wing specialises in capital markets, including initial public offerings, as well as M&A, private equity and other transactional work. He joins HFW’s Hong Kong office from US law firm Locke Lord, where he was Hong Kong Managing Partner.

Wing’s arrival continues HFW’s significant expansion of its global corporate and finance practices. HFW launched a transactional practice in China earlier this year and has now added 19 transactional partners across its international network since 2018, including lateral hires in Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Monaco, Paris and Singapore.

Patrick Yeung, Hong Kong Office Head, HFW:

“This is a major boost to our transactional offering in Greater China and the wider region. Wing brings a wealth of experience of high-end corporate finance, and has an outstanding reputation for his technical expertise and exceptional client service. I am thrilled to welcome him to the firm.”

Wing advises clients on a wide range of corporate and commercial matters, including initial public offerings and M&A. He also has significant experience in regulatory enforcement and compliance, having acted on major investigations and other proceedings by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.

Wing Cheung, Partner, HFW:

“I am very excited to be joining HFW. It’s been really noticeable over the past few years that HFW is building a strong global corporate and finance practice to complement its leading reputation for disputes and sector-related work. I’m looking forward to helping the firm continue that growth, and working with the HFW transactional teams in Greater China and across the firm’s extensive international network.”

HFW has operated in Greater China for more than 40 years, having been one of the first international law firms to open an office in the country, in 1978.

The firm now has almost 80 lawyers in Greater China, including 21 partners, and is a market leader in aviation, commodities, construction, energy, insurance, shipping, commercial litigation and corporate.

HFW also recently brought in a market-leading team to launch in Monaco – one of 11 international office openings, mergers and associations since 2016, including a fully-integrated US merger and other moves in Brazil, China, Indonesia and the Middle East.

About HFW

HFW is a leading global law firm in the aerospace, commodities, construction, energy, insurance, and shipping sectors. The firm has more than 600 lawyers, including 185 partners, based in offices across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. HFW prides itself on its deep industry expertise and its entrepreneurial, creative and collaborative culture.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://www.hfw.com/

CommerceWest Bank helped children find their forever families

CommerceWest Bank helped children find their forever families by supporting Seneca Family of Agencies. Seneca has had a 100% success rate in placing children from foster care with their forever families for over 35 years. Seneca improves services and support for the most vulnerable children and their families. It is their commitment to provide unconditional care and they will do whatever it takes to help children and their families thrive.

Ivo A. Tjan, Chairman and CEO of CommerceWest Bank commented, “CommerceWest Bank is grateful to be able to help children and families that have faced challenges such as poverty, trauma, and community violence.” He continued, “Seneca is a special agency, as no child is ejected due to challenging behaviours. They truly provide unconditional care.”

CommerceWest Bank is a California based full service commercial bank with a unique vision and culture of focusing exclusively on the business community. Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Irvine, California. The Bank serves businesses throughout the state with an emphasis on clients in Orange County, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Riverside Counties. We are a full service business bank and offer a wide range of commercial banking services, including concierge services, remote deposit solution, online banking, mobile banking, lines of credit, working capital loans, commercial real estate loans, SBA loans, and treasury management services.

Mission Statement

CommerceWest Bank will create a complete banking experience for each client, catering to businesses and their specific banking needs, while accommodating our clients and providing them high-quality, low stress and personally tailored banking and financial services.

Trainee programme at local law firm is a success

Local firm Pinkney Grunwells Lawyers are celebrating the success of their trainee programme as another of their trainees has achieved full qualification as a solicitor.

Michael Johnson grew up in Scarborough, attending St Augustine’s School followed by Scarborough Sixth Form College. He joined Pinkney Grunwells on a training contract in 2017 having first completed a Law and Politics degree at the University of Manchester and a Legal Practice Course at the University of Law. Michael, who during his training contract gained experience in property, family and private client law, will be staying on at the firm to become a full time member of the private client team in Scarborough, advising clients on Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, probate and estates.

The firm has a long history of taking on trainees and the trainee programme has grown and developed over time. With a minimum of two trainee solicitors retained at a time, new placements are recruited for annually, usually last two years and provide trainees with the chance to train across at least three areas of law. The firm has developed links with local education and training providers, regularly attending careers talks and events and providing work experience placements. Opportunities are also regularly available to local young people seeking to complete apprenticeships in business administration, finance or legal services.

Teresa Bennion, Managing Partner at Pinkney Grunwells, said that recruiting talented professionals can be challenging for local businesses and for law firms in particular.

Teresa said, “We acknowledge that staff are our greatest asset and we are committed to growing local talent through our trainee programme. We provide trainees with an environment in which they can develop the skillset needed as practising solicitors. In a location where it can be difficult to attract qualified staff, we are proud that many have stayed on to further their career with us after they have qualified.

As a business, we recognise that investment in training and development means that in the long-term, we retain staff and provide a better service to our clients as we are able to respond more easily to demands for particular service areas as they arise.”

Michael Johnson is pleased that the training programme has given him the opportunity to have the career he wants without having to move away.

“I was attracted to the trainee programme at Pinkney Grunwells as it is the largest firm on the Yorkshire Coast and the Partners are proactive. Training at a high street firm has given me the opportunity to train across a varied caseload, assisting my local community with the legal aspects of life events from buying a house to making a Will or helping with difficult areas such as divorce.

I had a particular interest in private client law due to the varied nature of the work and I am really looking forward to working with clients both old and new at our Scarborough and Driffield offices.”

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://pinkneygrunwells.co.uk/

UAE Tederal Tax Authority extends the Excise Tax

On the 1st of October 2017, the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) implemented an Excise Tax on certain products, including 100% on both tobacco-related products and energy drinks and 50% tax on carbonated drinks.

Due to the success of these taxes in reducing the consumption of these products, the FTA, as per Cabinet Decision No (52) of 2019, has chosen to extend this Excise Tax, as follows:

  • 100% on any liquids used in electronic smoking devices and tools, regardless of it containing nicotine, in accordance with the Customs Codes as determined by a decision issued by the Finance Minister;
  • 100% on any electronic smoking devices and tools, regardless of it containing tobacco or nicotine, in accordance with the Customs Codes as determined by a decision issued by the Finance Minister; and

50% on any sweetened drinks, including any products to which sugar or other sweeteners are added and produces:

  • ready-to-drink beverages;
  • concentrates, powders, gels, extracts or any form that can be converted into a sweetened drink;
  • any type of sugar determined under Standard 148 of the GCC Standardisation Organisation under the heading “Sugar”; and
  • any type of sweeteners determined under Standard 995 of the GCC Standardisation Organisation under the heading “Sweeteners Permitted in Food”.

Products which will be exempt from the definition of sweetened drinks and therefore not subject to the new Excise Taxes include:

  • ready-to-drink beverages containing at least 75% milk;
  • ready-to-drink beverages containing at least 75% milk substitutes;
  • baby formula, follow up formula or baby food;
  • beverages consumed for special dietary needs, as determined under Standard 654 of the GCC Standardisation Organisation under the heading “General Requirements for Pre-packaged Foods for Special Dietary Use”; and
  • beverages consumed for medical uses as determined under Standard 1366 of the GCC Standardisation Organisation under the heading “General Requirements for Handling of Foods for Special Medical Purposes”.

The expansion of the Excise Tax on the additional products shall take effect on the 1st of December 2019.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://bsabh.com/