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On 21 October 2021, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted the Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Concerning the Development of Biomethane Production” (“Law”), which supplements the Laws of Ukraine “On Alternative Fuels” and “On the Natural Gas Market”2 with new provisions on biomethane treatment. In addition to the introduction of the “biomethane” definition, the Law establishes grounds for the functioning of the biomethane register and the issuance and circulation of the so-called guarantees of origin of biomethane.

On 10 November 2021, Decree 10,854 was published, addressing several infra-constitutional labor provision on various topics, such as food vouchers, registration before the Workers Feed Program, and transportation vouchers, as well as bringing new labor regulations, such as the Permanent Program for the Consolidation, Simplification and De bureaucratization of Infra-Legal Labor Regulations, and the Electronic Labor Inspection Book.

Our Banking & Finance, Competition & Antitrust, Mergers & Acquisitions and Trade partners in Johannesburg outline ten reasons to turn your attention to African trade and investment opportunities in the coming year. Some of these reasons include the rise in commodity prices, shifting patterns and alternative financing, digitization and competition law and enforcement.

On 27 October 2021, Regulatory Ordinance of the Ministry of Environment No. 487, dated 26 October 2021, was published. The ordinance establishes the category Forest+Agro under the National Program of Payments for Environmental Services – Forest+, which in turn was established by Ministry of Environment Ordinance No. 288 of 2 July 2020.

In this edition of In the Know, we look at Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standards in Sustainability Linked Lending (in both loans and bonds). We address the ESG margin ratchet, how it interacts with ESG targets and testing strategies, and potential reinvestment obligations arising out of those interest savings, in each case, within the European leveraged finance market.

On November 2, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the suit brought by a class of child laborers who mine cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo against several US tech companies under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (“TVPRA”) and several common law based causes of action. TVPRA allows victims of human trafficking and certain other crimes such as forced labor to bring civil claims against those who knowingly benefitted from these crimes. Here, the complaint was based on two alleged TVPRA violations: forced labor and trafficking with respect to peonage, slavery, involuntary servitude, or forced labor.

In November, the United States announced that Ethiopia, Guinea and Mali would be terminated from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (“AGOA”) trade preference program, unless they took urgent action to meet eligibility criteria by 1 January 2022. AGOA eligibility requirements include, among other things, that countries must follow the rule of law and implement economic policies that reduce poverty and combat corruption and bribery. Countries must also protect internationally recognized human and worker rights, and must not engage in activities that undermine national security interests.

As a sponsor at the 2021 Hong Kong Fintech Week, Baker McKenzie moderated several panel discussions and hosted a couple of virtual masterclasses, including one on the topic “Future of Work: New Workforce Reality.” This session covers interesting developments from an employment perspective, looking closely at key considerations for financial institutions dealing with the changing environment including critical risks in cybersecurity, data privacy and intellectual property confidentiality, occupational health and safety issues, and fraud risks.