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Clifford Chance

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Cross-border business takes place against a complex framework of international and domestic law and regulations.

The effective navigation of this framework is key to commercial success. Governmental decisions and political change impact heavily on this legal framework, and businesses must be ready to understand and adapt to these changes, to take new opportunities and to manage the impact on international trade of their goods and services.

Our global International Trade team has many years of experience advising companies and states on a wide range of matters including:

  • WTO law
  • Anti-dumping
  • Anti-subsidy
  • Safeguards
  • Trade barrier regulations
  • FTAs
  • Customs and rules of origin
  • Export controls
  • Preferential trade arrangements; and
  • The interpretation and effect of bilateral and multilateral international trade and investment agreements/treaties.

With Trade law specialists in Brussels, London, Washington, D.C., Paris, Hong Kong and Perth, we have substantial experience negotiating and drafting international treaties governing commercial and other arrangements between states and between states and investors. The International Trade team also advises on multilateral free trade and other trade agreements. We have a deep understanding of the EU's network of trade arrangements, and recently advised on the negotiation of a preferential trade agreement with the European Union.  

Our team of trade law experts includes Michel Petite, former Director General of the Legal Service of the European Commission and was particularly involved in all European Commission disputes over this period and Dr Federico Ortino (Consultant). Dr. Ortino is Reader in International Economic Law at King's College London – a specialist with more than 20 years' experience in international trade law. Dr Ortino is also a member of the ILA Committee on International Trade Law; founding Committee Member (and now co-Treasurer) of the Society of International Economic Law; consultative member of the Investment Treaty Forum; and an editorial board member of the Journal of International Economic Law, the Yearbook on International Investment Law and Policy, and the Journal of International Dispute Settlement. This is the type of specialist expertise that differentiates our team from those of other law firms.

Our International Trade team regularly counsel companies on investment structuring to ensure that they benefit from robust protections under their contracts and international law. We can advise on effective strategies for structuring your investments and businesses to best take advantage of the network of international investment treaties and preferential trade agreements.

Our highly experienced International Trade lawyers have extensive practical experience advising States and private investors and have also made significant contributions to the evolving academic discourse on international trade law, including on relevant issues such as international agreements on investment in services and the legal framework governing the European Union.  

Client experience

  • Representing a state in negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement.
  • Advising on tariffs and non-tariff barriers for corporates across a range of major UK industries.
  • Advising a leading investment bank since 2005 on how trade agreements could better provide for the needs of the financial services sector.
  • Advising on the impact of WTO as a default position for the UK’s trading relationships post-Brexit.
  • Advising a European mobile telecommunications company in relation to changes in law in an Asian country adversely affecting the company’s investment in a local mobile telecommunications business, including changes to limits on foreign ownership, advice on WTO issues and a potential investment treaty claim.
  • Advising a global bank on the structuring and execution of a freight receivables facility for an Asian conglomerate encompassing receivables owed by obligors in 14 jurisdictions originated through a network of local agents.
  • Advising on the application of US, EU, UK and international trade and economic sanctions laws (incl. particular concerning Russia and Ukraine) to proposed business arrangements in a number of different contexts, including M&A activity, debt and equity financing. 
  • Designing, organising and conducting a review of trade finance transactions for a major international bank involving multiple jurisdictions.