In a global economy, government policies can impede or enable business success: businesses are significantly affected by government policies that directly limit market access, impose non-transparent or unreasonably burdensome government regulations, treat investments unfairly, fail to protect or enforce intellectual property, or subsidize domestic competitors. At the same time, companies doing business internationally face substantial compliance obligations under their domestic laws, such as restrictions on technology exports and economic sanctions.
WilmerHale has a long record of success in assisting clients on these issues, and our trade group is widely recognized as at the top of the field. Chambers USA and Chambers Global give the practice their highest ratings, and rank all of our senior lawyers as national leaders. Three of our younger lawyers are ranked among the top 10 trade lawyers to watch under 40.
We have represented companies and industries from the United States, European Union and more than 30 other countries before administrative, judicial and legislative bodies throughout the world. The depth of our trade team is reflected in an exceptional roster of lawyers, many of whom have served in senior executive positions in government and industry.
Apart from their track record in private practice, several of our lawyers have high-level and directly relevant US, European or global government experience. One of our lawyers was the United States Trade Representative from 1997 to 2001; others served as USTR General Counsel, Associate General Counsel and Assistant General Counsel; and one member of our team was an International Trade Counsel for the Senate Finance Committee and served in the US Department of Commerce’s Import Administration. In Europe, one of our lawyers chaired the WTO Appellate Body and another was a senior trade law advisor to the European Commission. With respect to China, our team includes the chief US architect and negotiator of China’s entry into the WTO and one of the leading regulatory lawyers in Beijing (and a member of the Board of Governors of the American Chamber of Commerce—People’s Republic of China).
In all, we have a fully integrated team of 30 lawyers and trade professionals in the United States, Europe and China. The practice comprises four key areas, and we have a strong track record in each.
- In helping open world markets, we have had some landmark victories, representing Boeing in successfully challenging European subsidies to Airbus in the largest WTO case in history; a coalition of leading high-tech companies in successfully challenging EU efforts to undermine the seminal Information Technology Agreement; and US companies in multiple sectors in high-profile market access disputes with the governments of China and India.
- In advising on trade policy and trade negotiations, we have helped develop or shape key trade initiatives and legislation both in and outside government, including Congress’ landmark grant of Permanent Normal Trade Relations to China; negotiating priorities in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement negotiations; congressional implementation of various US free trade agreements; and trade-related provisions in internet, patent and drug importation legislation.
- In assisting companies in unfair trade investigations, we obtained the lowest duty rate among the Big Three auto companies in an antidumping and countervailing duty case brought by China; convinced the US Commerce Department and International Trade Commission to impose and maintain antidumping and countervailing duty orders on imports from multiple countries that injured our US chemical industry clients; and in the biggest US antidumping case against China to date, our clients were the only Chinese producers that were found to be not subject to duties.
- In assisting companies with respect to government restrictions on technology exports and economic sanctions, we successfully represented one of the world’s largest international shipping groups with respect to the application of sanctions imposed under ISA/CISADA, and we helped a major US government contractor develop ITAR compliance policies and training programs required for provision of logistics services to the US military at more than 50 forward operating bases in Afghanistan.
In addition, the firm assists companies on a range of other issues that arise in connection with their international operations: compliance with anti-corruption laws such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act; compliance with anti–money laundering laws; inbound foreign investment into the United States, including review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS); and cross-border corporate advice.