Our international Trade & Customs Group advises businesses all over the world on cross-border trade and distribution. Drawing on the firm’s expertise in sectors such as aviation, aerospace and defence, communications, financial services, IT and life sciences, we work as part of Bird & Bird’s supply chain practice to help clients successfully bring their products to market.
We have an international and fully integrated team with considerable experience in helping clients establish tax-efficient international procurement and supply chains while keeping compliance costs to a minimum. We can provide outstanding geographical coverage with specialists across the EU and in key international ports and markets, including Singapore, Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi.
Our lawyers regularly represent clients before EU and national customs and administrative courts as well as before the ECJ and advisory committees of the European Commission. They also provide specialist expertise on issues such as the WTO Information Technology Agreement for IT and telecoms products, and advising those involved in patent and technology disputes.
We provide expertise in:
● Export and import controls
● Tariff and non-tariff based trade barriers
● Rules of origin
● Customs classification and valuations
● Food and product safety
● Packaging and labeling
● Dual use goods and technologies
The head of the group is Iain MacVay, who is based in both London and Brussels.
Recent highlights of work
We recently supported:
● the Scotch Whisky Association on challenging excise tax rules in Philippines, including through use of WTO rules, which resulted in a Panel and WTO Appellate Body ruling in 2011/12 against the Philippines’ excise tax regime imposition of tax on imported products at a substantially higher rate than for products made from locally produced inputs
● a global chemicals company on tariff suspensions implemented by the EU Commission and represented the client at the EU Commission. We also advised on submissions to the Dutch Government and the EU Commission.
● an oil and gas client on the "dos and don’ts" of doing business in Iran and Syria based on relevant EU and US sanctions legislation.
● a multinational client on options for challenging customs measures under the Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement and the WTO.
● a multinational client with representation in relation to an export controls audit conducted by the national customs authority and represented the client in subsequent proceedings.