1. Australian Consumer Law applies to supply of online software by foreign corporation

The Australian Federal Court has clarified when a foreign corporation supplying goods to Australian consumers will be subject to the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). In Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Valve Corporation (No. 3) [2016] FCA 196, Justice Edelman found that Valve Corporation (the Company) was subject to the ACL notwithstanding its incorporation in Washington State and its lack of physical presence in Australia. The decision makes clear that foreign suppliers will not be able to rely on ‘choice of law’ provisions or arguments relating to the proper law of a contract to shield them from the operation of the ACL.

2. China: Enforcement Campaign against Healthcare Companies

On 1 June 2016, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”) formally launched a large scale and systematic antitrust and price inspection into China’s pharmaceutical and medical devices industries. The investigation focuses on compliance with both antitrust and other price-related laws. Companies in the sector who have been contacted by the NDRC should ensure that any replies are prepared carefully, and are subject to legal review before submission. Any documents provided to the NDRC as part of the inspection should also be carefully reviewed. Whether or not companies have been contacted, they should – as a priority – consider auditing your business for compliance not only with the Anti-Monopoly Law, but also other applicable laws and regulations (for example, laws on pricing, bidding and anti-bribery).

3. New Requirements for Shipping Lithium Batteries in Canada

Transport Canada recently amended the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (“TDGR“). The Amendments came into force on June 1, 2016. Companies engaged in transporting lithium batteries should be aware of the following key changes to the TDGR:

  • transporting lithium-ion batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft is now banned under the TDGR; and
  • new security rules for transporting lithium batteries were introduced.

As a result of the Amendments, the TDGR now reference the Packing Instructions issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) – a specialized agency of the United Nations. The Packing Instructions were recently made more strict by the ICAO and include the following requirements:

  • lithium-ion batteries may not be transported at a state of charge exceeding 30% of their rated capacity; and
  • limits apply on the number of packages of lithium-ion or lithium-metal batteries for certain consignments.

4. United Arab:  Carrier to charge Shipper for Non-Compliance

If a container is not loaded as per the new verified gross mass regulations to be imposed from July 2016, United Arab Shipping Company will charge the shipper responsible for that box, 75% of the freight rate and the bunker and currency adjustment factors. UASC (United Arab Shipping Company) recently announced that it was using Intra’s eVGM to allow shippers to digitally provide the container weight data. . UASC’s surcharge information comes close on the heels of a customer advisory by Orient Overseas Container Line, which will offer to weigh containers for shippers at a cost of almost $300 per container. OOCL (Orient Overseas Container Line) included in the note that “if a certified scaling requires the driver to alter his route in order to provide the service, an additional per mile cost for the diversion will be applied based on the trucker’s tariff.”