The legal rules applicable in markets, regardless of whether they apply to cross-border trade in goods or the international supply of services, can have a significant impact on effective and potential market access and can entail serious implications for a firm’s costs and thus competitiveness when it comes to doing business. Careful attention to customs classification rules, tightly drafted international contracts and recourse to contingent remedies against unfair trade practices by competitors are just some of the ways which can be astutely employed to mitigate business risks in a way that adds significantly to the corporate bottom line.
By relying on qualified and experienced professionals who understand these rules and understand the international business environment, economic operators and policy makers can position themselves to make the most of these legal and regulatory frameworks, thereby improving the competitiveness of firms and even entire economies.
Moreover, the rules are continually evolving through international trade negotiations under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as a host of regional trading arrangements such as SACU and SADC, not to mention the rapid proliferation of bilateral trade deals which countries are racing to conclude with one another. The ongoing processes and eventual outcomes of these negotiations represent future business opportunities as well as potential threats, hence the importance for governments to approach them with a detailed understanding of all the inherent complexities, interests, and risks. They also require economic operators and those who will be most directly affected by their impact (traders, producers, service suppliers, consumers), to contribute in a pro-active, informed and timely manner to the formulation of a robust foreign trade policy.
Trade Law Chambers has an international trade law practice that is specifically equipped, experienced and engaged to navigate your business and national interests through this complex legal and regulatory environment.
In serving our clients when dealing with these complex legal and regulatory frameworks, our professionals specialize in the following areas of international trade law:
For a list of services we render through our association with the commercial law firm, Rian Geldenhuys Incorporated Attorneys, please click here.
- Seeking contingency protection – advising companies in seeking import relief from competing goods that they believe are being traded unfairly, either by being dumped or illegally subsidized, and which are causing them or threatening to cause them material injury, or from import surges that are causing them or threatening to cause them serious injury;
- Challenging trade remedies – advising clients whose imports or exports have become the subject of contingency protection measures such as anti-dumping duty, countervailing duty or safeguard actions;
- Disruption of market access – advising clients whose market access has suffered disruption or impairment due to any one of a range of government measures and actions which can have a bearing on imports, such as a change in Customs duties, change in import licensing rules, changes in quarantine procedures, changes in labeling requirements, changes in domestic distribution laws and any other changes which are likely to disproportionately impact imports;
- Preferential market access – advising firms on how to make the most of current and new market access opportunities under the myriad of preferential tariff treatment regimes such as the Generalized System of Preferences, the Everything But Arms initiative, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and other such schemes; our experts can advise economic operators on the myriad of considerations they need to bear in mind such as rules of origin issues, certification requirements and many other compliance issues companies must fulfill in order to qualify for such schemes;
- Related matters pertaining to South Africa’s International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) such as tariff investigations and rebate applications;
- Advice on international trade regulation, the economic aspects of trade law, commercially diplomacy and trade policy formulation, to both the public and private sectors in developing and least developed countries. In this regard our location lends a specific focus on the African sub-continent;
- Interpretation of and advice on the multilateral trade regime of the WTO, as well as those contained in the manifold African regional trading agreements (such as SACU, SADC & COMESA), in addition to those found in free trade agreements (such as SA-EU TDCA or the SADC-EU EPA);
- Agricultural trade and policy matters with particular emphasis on subsidies and special and differential treatment;
- Import duties or tariffs: valuations, tariff planning, duty at source, rebates, drawbacks, sourcing of raw materials (rules of origin);
- Excise duties;
- Assisting private sector actors and representatives in effectively influencing the process and outcomes of ongoing and future trade negotiations and in the process of trade policy formulation at the domestic, regional and multilateral level;
- Advising industry associations and product manufacturers on how to best influence the ongoing processes and eventual outcomes of deliberations in domestic, regional and international standard-setting bodies;
- Advising and coaching government officials in the context of their work representing their respective governments at trade negotiations and at meetings of international standard-setting bodies;
- Drafting agreements embodying the commercialisation of an international trade business or transactions (including for example sales agreements, financing, payment documents, transport/carriage agreements and agency agreements); and
- Training and course design for public, private and academic entities in international trade regulation, the multilateral trading system, regional trading arrangements and trade policy.