Lawyer Monthly - May 2022

41 MAY 2022 | WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM he Russian invasion of Ukraine and ensuing sanctions levied against Russia have thoroughly shaken the global economy. What have been the most tangible effects on international trade thus far? The attack, which violated international law, destroyed the post-war order, including the policy of détente in Europe. German policy at least was determined by the guiding principle of “change through trade” and assumed after the fall of the Berlin Wall that all states in Europe were united by the common interest of peaceful coexistence. This is how the growth of the European Union into an economic union, which increasingly became a political union, can be understood. The core pillar, however, is the common economic basis. Within the European Union there is the internal market. With other European states there are either free trade agreements or strong economic ties. This also applied to Russia, at least until the war began. German companies invested in Russia; Russian companies invested in Germany and all of Europe. Unfortunately, that is over. German companies are withdrawing from the Russian market. Due to the economic sanctions against Russia or against Russian persons or organisations, the European market is now closed to Russian companies. Numerous states in America and Asia have also introduced economic sanctions against Russia. Therefore, the Russian war against Ukraine not only affects European security and the economy, but the entire global economy. Trade and cooperation with the Russian economy is also coming to a standstill in these countries. We have already witnessed sanctions placed on Russian coal and the ending of Nord Stream 2. Is it possible that an oil and gas embargo may be on the cards? In many countries, the energy supply is dependent on oil and gas imports from Russia, but to varying degrees. This is especially true for Germany due to its long-standing low-priced and reliable supply of oil and gas from Russia. Trust in peaceful coexistence has made Germany dependent. An embargo would hit our own economy hard and make the now urgently needed investments in military security more difficult for state budgets. Whether an embargo would be effective is also questionable, as Russia will still find other buyers for its raw materials. Do you foresee any further developments in global trade as the war continues and new sanctions are imposed? The global economy must try to keep trade relations as stable as possible despite the new security situation. The challenge will be not to let the conflict with Russia spill over into the global economy. We must prevent the aggressive policies of one country and the sanctioning of that country’s economy from paralysing the global economy. It is important to limit the conflict and, for the rest, to continue to maintain international trade relations. HowWill the Invasion of Ukraine ShapeGlobal Trade? Beyond an end to the “post-war order” and its immense humanitarian cost, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has seen unprecedented levels of sanctions raised against the aggressor. What does this mean for Europe and for international trade agreements? AWB founder Hans-Michael Wolffgang shares his insight. We must prevent the aggressive policies of one country and the sanctioning of that country’s economy from paralysing the global economy. EXPERT INSIGHT T

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