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REGIONAL SEMINAR ON LEGAL PROTECTION FOR ECONOMIC OPERATORS (ROME, ITALY, 22-23 NOVEMBER 2015)

The Regional Seminar on Legal Protection for Economic Operators in Rome was hosted by Italy, chaired by the Italian Ministry of Justice, and organised by the Rule of Law Platform, in association with the Italian Competition Authority and the University of Rome La Sapienza. It aimed at deepening the dialogue and exchanges of experience on economic and commercial law, which begun with the Fourth Ministerial Conference on rule of law, and at sharing best practices and regulations governing the economic environment, based on the European model, as a key aspect for sustainable economic development and the improvement of the business climate. The development of economic legislation and its effective implementation will ensure legal security, notably for investments from countries of the European Union, thereby providing support to the countries on their road to more compliance with the rule of law.

Legal protection of economic operators was envisaged from a triple aspect : “competition and intellectual property rights”, “finance and taxation”, and “cross-border investment”.

The delegations from Central Asia were composed of judges from Supreme Courts, high-level representatives from Ministries of Justice, of the Economy, of Finance, or agencies in charge of investment projects, developing competition, protecting intellectual property rights, tax policy and other issues. The delegates came from Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The first day of the seminar took place in the Magna Aula Room of the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation, and the Central Asian delegations were welcomed by the First President of the Court. During the second day, a visit of Italian rule of law institutions, including the Italian Competition Authority and the Ministry of Justice.

All delegates recognised the importance of the rule of law as a basis for the development of international economic and trade relations and admitted that international commercial disputes need to find prompt and effective solution. The need to introduce competition and anti-trust legislation, already the case in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, was acknowledged. By analogy with the European Union, the delegates acknowledged that a regional area such as Central Asia needs a common crossborder insolvency discipline, and that investor need to trust that in case of failure they are protected as creditors, without having to undergo excessive costs and with reasonable chance of claims’ recovery. Dedicated panels addressed the issue of modern legislation on taxation and the fact tax incentives play a vital role in the context of the strategy of economic growth of a country and for attracting foreign investment. Other non-tax incentives to international investment were also introduced and discussed, including intellectual property protection, support to innovation and creativity, trade facilitation. Economic diplomacy as well as a networking opportunity building socio-economic bridges across nations are also considered to play a key role in attracting international investors.

At the end of the two-day seminar, the participants agreed on a communiqué. A press release and a press report were prepared.