Skip to main content

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

Global trade and investment

Helping businesses understand complex geopolitical changes

Global trade is undergoing fundamental change.

The UK's decision to leave the EU, President Trump's intention to "put America first," and Asia's determination to play a greater role in globalisation will have a dramatic impact for years to come. Trade agreements are notoriously slow and complex for governments to negotiate, and during this period of uncertainty, our trade experts can help our clients to manage the impact on their businesses.


The WTO Appellate Body crisis – A way forward?

Faced with criticism from the United States, the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) appeals system is grinding to a halt. By the end of the year, the Appellate Body is likely to have too few appointed Members to hear appeals (a division of three Members is required for each case). Unless the United States agrees to the appointment of new Members, the WTO’s Appellate Body will cease hearing new disputes, and the continued effectiveness of the dispute settlement system may be threatened.

This briefing provides an overview of the Appellate Body crisis by setting out the legal framework that governs the appeals process and discussing some of its perceived shortcomings. We also consider potential reforms and alternatives to the current system, including recent decisions by the EU, Canada and Norway to establish interim arbitration mechanisms. Read more.

President Trump, Human Rights, US Sanctions and Global Business: Traps for the unwary

Over the past year, completely contrary to public expectations, President Trump has unleashed the power of US economic sanctions to champion human rights and fight corruption globally. As laudable as this initiative may seem at first glance on public policy grounds, it also raises serious legal questions and creates new risks and uncertainties for the global business community. Read more

Global shifts in international trade

The established model of world trade is now questioned from many angles. The model needs to evolve – and to evolve quickly. Following his presentation to the WEF International Trade and Stewardship Board at Davos 2019, Matthew Layton, in discussion with Malcolm Sweeting, talks about the global shifts in international trade and the future role of trade in addressing many of the challenges that we face today. View the recording here

Davos 2019: The next global crisis – are we ready?

China and the US are heading towards a new cold war which may radically alter the global economy, argued Nouriel Roubini, Professor of Economics at New York University's Stern School of Business at an event hosted by Clifford Chance in Davos. Read more

Globalisation at the crossroads: Populism, Protectionism and Trade - what it means for business

The rise of populism, protectionism, and increasing tensions in trade around the globe, are having a significant impact on businesses and how they prepare for the future. Here, Clifford Chance experts identify the trends that will have far-reaching economic and legal consequences. Read more

Trading Places – recent developments in international trade

Events over the past 18 months have put trade at the centre of international economic diplomacy and may potentially lead to dramatic shifts in the global trade order. Read more

Free Trade Agreements: Compliance with Rules of Origin and Utilisation of Preferential Tariffs

Global trade has had a transformative impact on business. This article, originally published by Thomson Reuters looks at the utilisation of free trade agreements by businesses and the role of rules of origin in trade liberalisation. Read more

Blockchain, Trade Finance and Sanctions Issues

Blockchain has the potential to alter the global financial system but has implications for sanctions regimes. Read more


Belt and Road: Investing in the Caspian Region

Standing at the crossroads between Asia and Europe, the Caspian region has a key part to play in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The governments of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Georgia, in particular, are actively courting Chinese investors and Chinese finance in relation to a range of domestic and cross-border transportation, energy and information infrastructure projects. Read more

How China is building a global currency

Paola Subacchi of think tank Chatham House discusses the future of the renminbi. Read more


A Guide to the EU Foreign Investment Screening Regulation

The EU Regulation establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments into the EU will become applicable on 10 October 2020.

The Regulation will allow the Commission to review (but not block) certain investments of "Union interest" and to issue a non-binding opinion to the member state in which the investment takes place.  It also clarifies the scope of the issues that member states may take into account when applying their national screening regimes without falling foul of EU law, sets certain common standards for those regimes and implements a system of cooperation and information exchange between member states and the Commission. 

The legal confirmation that member states may legitimately block foreign takeovers involving critical infrastructure, technologies, raw materials and sensitive information is likely to lead to some member states introducing new foreign investment screening regimes or broadening the scope of their existing regimes. This, combined with increased exchanges of information between member states, will lead to transactions being scrutinised on public interest and national security grounds that are not, at present, caught. Read more

A conversation with Jenine Hulsmann on the UK review of the national security impact of foreign investment

The U.K. government has published proposals to strengthen its powers to review, and potentially block or unwind, investments on national security grounds. The impacts for infrastructure assets and projects can be significant. What should investors and investment managers know about this process and how to manage it going forward?

Listen to the 30 minute podcast with Jenine Hulsmann on I3 here

UK reviews national security impact of foreign investment

The UK Government has published proposals to strengthen its powers to review, and potentially block or unwind, foreign investments on national security grounds. Read more

EU proposal for screening of foreign direct investments

The European Commission has presented proposed legislation that would create an EU framework for screening of foreign takeovers and investments on grounds of security and public policy. Read more


Sovereign sukuk in Africa: A developing landscape

This briefing explores: sukuk as a source of funding; growth in sukuk funding infrastructure development; sukuk structural variations across Africa and the outlook for sukuk in Africa. Read more

Risk and raising capital in East Africa

The future role of Africa in international trade and the challenges and risks that banks and corporates in East Africa face, were just some of the topics discussed at Clifford Chance's Risk and Raising Capital conference in Nairobi. Read more