Government actions increasingly affect companies involved in the global trade of goods and services. Whether they're negotiating multilateral, regional or bilateral trade agreements, or revising national laws and regulations, the involvement of governments frequently has a direct and profound impact on the rules governing international trade. While the ultimate goal may be a more liberalized trading system, the immediate result is just as likely to be a thicket of rules, procedures and exceptions. This can mean an even more difficult business environment.
The International Trade Group of White & Case helps clients manage the risks and maximize the opportunities associated with the increasing regulation of international trade in goods and services. Our practice, centered in Washington, DC but extending throughout the globe, provides a range of services designed to match the scope of global trade regulation and to answer the needs of our clients wherever and whenever they arise. White & Case also has one of the leading WTO practices in the world, which is led by the Geneva office.
- An interdisciplinary full-service global trade practice with more than 80 lawyers and trade professionals operating in 13 countries.
- One of the world's largest and most active practices in trade remedies, i.e., antidumping, countervailing duty and safeguards measures.
- One of the world's largest and most active practices in the law of the World Trade Organization (WTO), led by the Geneva office.
- An active practice helping companies facing national and multinational export control restrictions, particularly in high-tech, aerospace and defense areas.
- Broad experience assisting companies in defending their intellectual property rights in Section 337 import investigations.
- Extensive experience working with sovereign governments, including assisting with drafting of the trade laws of many countries, including Turkey, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and China.
- In-depth knowledge concerning a wide array of high- and low-tech goods, including uranium, crude oil, steel, bicycles, lumber, textiles, semiconductors, cheese, flowers, fish and shrimp and many others.
A Dynamic Practice Shaped to Meet Our Clients' Needs
The lawyers and other professionals in our trade practice believe the best way to serve our clients is through the use of interdisciplinary teams located around the world. This increases our efficiency and allows us to address our clients' trade issues with the best possible talent in our network quickly and effectively. Moreover, by deploying a multicultural and multilingual global team, we are able to communicate and negotiate with local trade officials in a manner that serves the best business interests of our clients. This gives us an important competitive advantage in the worldwide marketplace.
Wide-Ranging Services for a Wide Array of Clients
Our trade group has a wealth of experience handling trade issues on behalf of a diverse roster of sovereign and private-sector clients, including national governments and their entities, manufacturers, exporters, importers and end users. Our insight into global trade laws is deepened by our immersion at the ground level: we regularly counsel our clients during multilateral, regional and bilateral trade negotiations, and we often assist governments in drafting trade laws to implement their international agreements.
Our team brings this experience to bear on behalf of clients confronting the full range of trade-related issues in the United States and other countries, including:
- dumping, countervailing duties, safeguards and other national trade remedies
- the application of WTO agreements
- WTO dispute settlement
- the application of NAFTA and other regional agreements
- export controls and sanctions
- customs law and regulation
- Section 337 investigations in the United States
- regulatory issues affecting corporate transactions
- advisory and policy services.
Our lawyers practice before all the relevant bodies in the United States — including the Departments of Commerce, Treasury, State as well as the US Trade Representative, the US Customs Service, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) and in appeals to US courts — and in Mexico (SECOFI) and the European Union (EU). We regularly represent clients in proceedings before WTO panels and the Appellate Body. We also practice in various other international dispute resolution tribunals, including the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, the International Chamber of Commerce and the American Arbitration Association, as well as before dispute resolution panels convened under the North American Free Trade Agreement. Many of our lawyers and trade professionals have prior experience working for these government and international bodies, and they bring this knowledge to bear in counseling clients.
A Unique WTO Practice
The lawyers in the Geneva office have extensive experience in WTO dispute settlement, and are currently providing advocacy services in several active WTO disputes. They present both written and oral arguments to WTO panels and the Appellate Body and participate in every stage of the WTO dispute settlement process, including the initial analysis, WTO consultations, panel proceedings, Appellate Body review and the implementation phase. They also provide advisory services on matters such as the WTO-consistency of national measures and the negotiation and implementation of regional free trade agreements. The Geneva office has a particularly active practice related to international energy trade rules.
Click here to view our WTO brochure.
Assisting Clients When Trade Disputes Arise
Our group has extensive litigation and arbitration experience, including antidumping, countervailing duty export control, NAFTA Chapter 11 arbitration and Section 337 proceedings in the United States, Mexico and the EU. In some cases, our work has led to the establishment of new controlling legal authority for these proceedings. Our cases have involved a range of basic and high-tech industries, with products ranging from uranium, steel and crude oil to bicycles, textiles, cheese, semiconductors and flowers.
We have substantial experience in safeguards import relief actions on a variety of products in the United States and other countries. We also represent government and private-sector clients in other types of trade-relief proceedings, including those arising under Section 301 and "special" 301.
Defending IP Rights Using Section 337 at the US International Trade Commission
We have an active practice advising and representing clients in Section 337 actions before the ITC, which involve the import of goods in violation of US IP rights. Our trade lawyers, with extensive working experience inside the ITC, work closely with the lawyers in our IP practice group to maximize our clients' opportunities regarding these actions.
Crafting Advantageous Export and Customs Strategies
For clients wishing to export goods, we provide a broad array of services, including implementation of internal compliance programs to ensure compliance with US and international export control requirements, training, obtaining licenses from various US agencies (including the Bureau of Industry and Security, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls and the Office of Foreign Assets Control) and enforcement proceedings. For clients wishing to import, we provide a full range of customs law advice, ranging from assisting with classification, valuation and rule-of-origin issues before the US Customs Service to defending clients in criminal and civil customs fraud proceedings before various US courts. We work regularly with clients to develop strategies for minimizing the customs duties they pay. And we advise clients on prohibited imports under the Endangered Species Act and CITES Convention, and counsel on the application of US bilateral and EU textile agreements.
Keeping a Close Eye on Treaties and Legislation
One of the most important services we provide, working in close cooperation with the Geneva office, is to monitor legislative proposals worldwide and advise clients on the effects of legislation under multilateral agreements, bilateral agreements and US law. Because we are on top of the ever-shifting trade schemes around the world, our clients can stay out in front of their markets. We assist them with proactive trade strategies, and we provide a range of legal advice concerning activities such as embargoes (e.g., US export controls), technology and end-use controls licensing, and enforcement issues. We also counsel on US economic sanctions or blocking regulations involving such countries as Iraq, Iran, Libya and Cuba, and we assist clients in pursuing claims against them. Finally, we have an extensive practice with respect to annual reviews under the Generalized System of Preferences, including the defense of beneficiary developing country status and individual product petitions.