WTO and international trade

The lawyers who comprise our World Trade Organization (WTO) and international trade team help clients navigate the complex and rapidly-evolving web of international trade rules, and to engage with governments in support of trade treaty negotiations.

Trade rules are complex, sometimes open to different interpretations and often contentious. Most global trade is governed by WTO framework agreements which regulate trade between WTO members on the “most favored nation” principle and also set the ground rules that apply to “WTO-plus” bilateral and regional free-trade agreements (FTAs). Below these agreements sit a vast array of national (and sometimes regional) rules and regulations, including tariff and service concession schedules, customs laws and import/export rules. Understanding and complying with these rules can be challenging for businesses, but is vital for the success of import and export activities, providing services across borders and protecting investments in new markets.

With offices in more than 50 cities worldwide, our lawyers draw upon a vast pool of experience advising on the full spectrum of WTO rules and processes underpinning the international trading system, including trade treaty negotiation and trade disputes. Our team is made up of lawyers with extensive experience in trade law, trade treaties interpretation, trade treaties negotiations and trade dispute resolution mechanisms. Members of our team have served at the very highest levels in government and in diplomatic careers, leading on the negotiation of flagship international trade accords and important bilateral FTAs.

Our areas of work include

  • Access to government procurement markets
  • Customs regulations, controls and procedures, including classification and investigations
  • EU trade regulations and practice
  • Export and import of defense articles and services
  • Free trade agreements
  • Geographical indications
  • Government engagement
  • Investment law
  • Market access
  • Preference schemes
  • Recognition, harmonization and equivalence of standards
  • Rules of origin
  • Sanctions and controls
  • Sanitary and phytosanitary issues
  • Tariffs and related WTO rules (including under GATT)
  • Tariff-rate quotas and other quantitative restrictions
  • Technical barriers to trade
  • Trade dispute resolution, including under WTO dispute settlement mechanisms and through private-party/sovereign arbitration under Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs)
  • Trade in Services law, including under GATS
  • Trade policy formation, including risk/opportunities mapping
  • Trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS)
  • Trade remedies, including safeguards, anti-subsidy and anti-dumping
  • Trade treaty interpretation and public international law-related issues
  • Trade treaty negotiation support, lobbying and treaty drafting
  • WTO rules and practice



The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement