Norton Rose Fulbright to launch an international trade treaty practice

Business January 17, 2017

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright will launch an international trade treaty practice to assist businesses around the world in navigating international trade law, investment law and trade treaty negotiation.

The practice will be led by a team of partners from across the firm’s spread of offices.

Members of the team have held senior government positions and have led bilateral free trade agreement and multilateral trade negotiations. Derek Burney, Senior Strategic Advisor to Norton Rose Fulbright in Ottawa, was directly involved in the negotiation and successful conclusion of the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement. Mr. Burney served as Canada’s Ambassador to the United States from 1989 to 1993. He played a central role in the negotiations that led to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Milagros (Millie) Miranda Rojas has recently joined the firm as a special advisor on WTO and international trade law based in London.  Milagros - a former senior official in the Peruvian diplomatic service – has more than 15 years’ experience advising on international trade law and trade policy issues as a representative to the World Trade Organisation and as a negotiator on numerous multilateral and bilateral trade agreements.  In particular, she led, or was involved in, negotiations that culminated in the free trade agreements between Peru and the EU, South Korea, EFTA and Japan and she was a country lead negotiator in WTO Trade Negotiating Committee and WTO Goods negotiations and WTO technical committees including on agriculture, non-agricultural market access, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, services, subsidies and countervailing measures. Milagros also has experience of many WTO dispute settlement cases.

Partner Mark Simpson is the London practice head for the new group.  He started his career in the New Zealand government service, where he gained experience advising on trade-related issues, including work under the auspices of the WTO, APEC and arms of the UN. This included involvement in work concerning the “Singapore issues” under the Doha Round of WTO negotiations and conceptual work on approaches to bilateral free trade agreements.

The group will advise clients in relation to a wide spectrum of trade treaty matters, including WTO, bilateral and regional free trade agreements, trade treaty negotiations, trade remedies and trade disputes. It will also work closely with Norton Rose Fulbright’s existing and well-respected practice in export controls, sanctions and investor-state arbitration. The international trade treaty practice is integrated across the firm’s key areas of industry focus as well as related practice areas including regulation, tax, intellectual property and international arbitration.

Mark Simpson commented: “International trade rules and the frameworks for trade treaty negotiation are the subject of increased interest in view of the UK’s impending exit from the EU and the possibility of a paradigm shift in US trade policy following the recent presidential election. Added to the wider shift in sentiment in recent years against multilateral trade liberalisation, this brings the prospect that trade between some of the world’s largest economies will be substantially reshaped in the coming years, affecting how businesses, trade, investment and operate globally. We anticipate demand for legal advice on international trade rules growing substantially – to ensure the risks and new market opportunities for business, and whole sectors, are taken into account as governments develop trade negotiation positions in this new environment, to ensure compliance with national trade regulations and measures, and to deal with disputes.

“Drawing upon our substantial experience from around the world, we advise clients at all non-contentious international trade matters as well as trade dispute resolution. We are fortunate that our trade team includes a number of individuals – such as Derek Burney and Martin Masse in Ottawa and Millie Miranda Rojas in London – who have held very senior positions in governments and led trade negotiations.  We have a long-standing presence in all major trading hubs across six continents and our sector focus means that we also have an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of trade rules and the challenges in negotiating trade agreements. National, regional and international trade rules are becoming and often compete with each other; our role is assist our clients through all stages of the trade treaty life cycle.” 

Regional team leaders for the new practice include:


  • Marelise van der Westhuizen, Director, Johannesburg 

Asia Pacific

  • Dr Martyn Taylor, Partner, Sydney


  • Mark Simpson, Partner, London
  • Michael Jürgen Werner, Partner, Brussels / Frankfurt

North America

  • Martin Masse, Partner, Ottawa
  • Steve McNabb, Partner, Washington

South America

  • Milagros Miranda Rojas, Consultant, Special Adviser – WTO and International Trade, London

For further information please contact:

Louise Nelson, Senior PR Manager
Tel: +44 20 7444 5086; Mob: +44 (0)7909 684 893

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright is a global law firm. We provide the world’s preeminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. We have more than 3500 lawyers and other legal staff based in more than 50 cities across Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Recognized for our industry focus, we are strong across all the key industry sectors: financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology and innovation; and life sciences and healthcare.

Wherever we are, we operate in accordance with our global business principles of quality, unity and integrity. We aim to provide the highest possible standard of legal service in each of our offices and to maintain that level of quality at every point of contact.

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