International Trade and WTO

            Today's globalisation constitutes the framework in which businesses need to develop.  Moving goods across borders and between different jurisdictions is the essence of a lot of business. We are committed in understanding our clients' businesses and this allows us to deliver expert, tailored services.  

            There are a series of rules by which trade is regulated and a variety of things that can happen to interrupt this. DWF's international trade and WTO lawyers can help you understand and utilise better opportunities resulting from our interconnected world, and assist you to overcome potential hurdles; either to turn them to your advantage, or to protect your interests.


            Our global presence ensures our ability to deal efficiently with cross border issues. With offices in key locations in Europe and outside Europe, we can actively support our clients in a wide array of jurisdictions and provide full service.


            DWF's international trade and WTO team representation over the whole of the European continent, Australia, Singapore and Latin America allows us to offer services tailored to the clients' needs.


            Lawyers in key locations such as Belgium, the UK, Ireland, Germany, the Middle East, Singapore and Australia can assist multinationals in a variety of topics ranging from trade defence such as anti-dumping, customs laws, trade sanctions and export controls to overall market access.

            Trade defence proceedings include anti-dumping actions (sales below “normal” value); anti-subsidy action targeting imports that are subsidised by national, regional or local authorities in the exporting country; and safeguards that are actions to impose tariffs or quotas on imports from all sources deemed particularly injurious to domestic production.

            DWF’s international trade team has a strong reputation in trade remedies, having participated in over 100 investigations in the past 25 years. Our lawyers' extensive experience, has allowed them to build up a strong network of contacts at all levels of the European Commission and EU Member State administrations and to establish an excellent working relationship with them.

            Our professionals represent domestic and foreign producers and Governments not only before the European Commission, but also before the Russian (Eurasian) trade authority. Our clients are located in Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa, and the Middle East, and include the EU industry, exporters and importers in a wide range of sectors, such as steel, chemicals, synthetic fibres, consumer goods, other heavy industries and high-tech products.

            Our trade defence team works closely with our clients' accounting and management teams to deliver tangible results in terms of winning cases and challenging successfully the investigating authorities' numerical and legal findings.

            We assist clients in a wide range of customs issues, including tariff classification, valuation, origin, preference programs, special customs procedures (inward processing, outward processing, bonded warehousing, transfer pricing, etc.), binding tariff and origin information, customs audits, applications for waiver or mitigation of fines and penalties, investigations by customs authorities, and litigation before the courts of several of the EU’s Member States customs tribunals and before the European Union Courts in Luxembourg. 

            Our team assists our clients in setting up in-house programs to ensure compliance with the customs rules and procedures, and handles discussions and negotiations with customs when self-disclosure is required. On the defence side, we represent our clients in customs investigations and proceedings, on both civil and criminal aspects.

            Duty suspension is the total or partial waver of the normal duties (excluding anti-dumping duties) applicable to imported goods. This procedure aims at boosting the competitiveness of manufacturing activities in the EU and at benefitting manufacturing companies who have to import their supplies due to the absence of sufficient volumes available from domestic manufacturers. 

            Our trade team has extensive experience in obtaining such suspensions, thereby creating significant duty savings for our clients, which go straight to their bottom line profits. We have also supported the Union industry in the annulment of duty suspensions that were inappropriately granted. 


            DWF represents clients before the Courts of the EU in Luxembourg in high profile cases covering all aspects of EU trade law, including challenges against trade remedies, or support for such measures when challenged by others (through interventions), and preliminary references in customs matters.

            In the trade sector our lawyers have one of the highest ratios of court cases per lawyer and can, therefore, combine their detailed knowledge of the trade regulations and procedures with refined litigation skills.

            DWF's sanctions and export control team has extensive experience in advising corporate clients on all aspects of the export control rules in the EU and in its Member States and on trade sanctions adopted by the United Nations, the EU and the U.S.

            Accordingly, our team handles the transfer of dual-use items administered by regulatory agencies such as the UK's Export Control Organisation ("ECO").  Other advice relates to the importation, transit and export of military and related services and technologies, and addresses issues related to embargoes and other trade sanctions.

            We advise our clients on their reporting and licensing responsibilities, help our clients prepare applications, classification requests and reports, and assist them in devising and implementing compliance programs.

            DWF has in-depth expertise in advising Governments and businesses on WTO issues, including assistance during the accession process and in WTO Dispute Settlement Proceedings in Geneva representing affected WTO members and industrial sectors.

            Our trade team also advises Governments and businesses in bilateral and regional integration agreement negotiations, and the implementation thereof.

            Our Marine & Trade team in the UK covers cross border disputes, sanctions, piracy, maritime security, the international sale of goods, financing and selling new and pre- owned vessels, leasing and management, transaction finalisation and regulatory filings, bareboat and time charters, and delivery and operation issues. Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500 quoted it as a "top quality team", in particular in the field of marine insurance.

            Working on contentious or non-contentious, wet or dry matters we combine a commitment to service excellence with innovative, sustainable legal solutions. Our proven track record, across the sector is recognised in the legal directories, where our broad industry team is praised for its insight, understanding and knowledge.

            The UK's decision to leave the EU and the subsequent challenging process to reach a withdrawal agreement has sparked many uncertainties among businesses, notably in the field of international trade.

             Our task is to guide you through these uncertainties where we help you to review internal policies in order to be prepared for any possible outcome.

            Members of our trade team regularly speak at high-profile Brexit events and advise UK and continental EU companies on their internal policies and trade practices to face post-Brexit challenges. 

            DWF is among the few legal businesses that understands the Blockchain technology and can help you to utilize it.  Although initially developed in connection with Bitcoin, Blockchain is now applied across a far wider range, including software-defined legal contracts (Smart Contracts); paper-less bookkeeping; trustless escrow; online dispute resolution; public registries (real estate, companies); electronic voting; crowd funding; venture capital; private equity; ICOs; sharing economy; distributed autonomous organisations; energy trading; e-mobility. 

            At DWF we are committed to becoming the leading global law firm for regulatory challenges arising in the context of Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies, including cryptocurrencies. Our Global Blockchain Leadership Team is located in Berlin, one of the leading hubs for Blockchain start-ups and research. Our long-standing relationships with regulators and financial authorities all over Europe enables us to solve our clients’ compliance issues with ease.

            Vassilis Akritidis

            • Partner // Head of WTO & International Trade

            Jonathan Branton

            • Partner // Head of Public Sector // Head of EU Competition