In July 2018, the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018 (the “Bill”, available here), a Private Member’s Bill proposed by the Irish independent senator Frances Black, was passed in the Seanad (the Upper House of the Irish Parliament). The Bill makes it an offence for a person to import or sell goods or services originating in an occupied territory or to extract resources from an occupied territory in certain circumstances.
Although the Bill does not expressly refer to Israel or Palestine, it has been widely interpreted as being directed at restricting trade with Israeli settlements. The Bill would apply to:
- a person who is an Irish citizen or ordinarily resident in the State,
- a company incorporated under the Companies Act 2014, and
- an unincorporated body whose centre of control is exercised in Ireland.
The vote was passed by 25 votes to 20 in the Seanad, despite opposition from the Irish Government. The Bill will next pass through the Dáil (the Lower House of the Irish Parliament) to be debated and voted on. If passed in the Dáil, the Bill will become law, subject to being approved and signed by the President of Ireland.
Assistance in preparing this post was provided by Cormac Little, Partner and head of William Fry’s Competition & Regulation Department (Cormac.Little@williamfry.com).