In the area of agriculture and agricultural trade, lawyers in the firm have acquired extensive experience in the EU’s common organisation of selected agricultural markets, CAP reform, interaction between producer organisations and EU institutions or EU Member States, and broad experience in negotiating, administering and challenging a variety of tariff and non-tariff barriers used by countries and WTO Members in regulating trade in agricultural products and foodstuffs.
Lawyers within the firm have, individually or collectively, advised Governments, trade associations or individual traders or producers on the impact of WTO or FTA negotiations on their core agricultural interests, providing assistance to either negotiate or challenge complex agreements on agricultural instruments, such as tariff rate quotas, domestic support mechanisms, market access opportunities, non-tariff barriers (particularly in the areas of sanitary and phytosanitary regulation or technical regulation, conformity assessment and testing, control and certification), import licensing procedures and safeguards.
A large part of this advice is typically provided either in the context of international trade negotiations on agriculture or in relation to WTO dispute settlement procedures. Our lawyers have worked on these issues with the European Commission, individual EU Member States, third countries, ASEAN, the WTO, FAO, UNCTAD, ITC, the World Bank, UNDP and a multitude of trade associations and individual operators. Below is a list of some of the firm’s relevant experiences in the area of agricultural trade and regulation (in reverse chronological order):
- Assistance to palm oil producers with respect to a wealth of market access issues in the EU and EU Member States in light of EU taxation policies, labelling rules, nutrition claims, sustainability requirements, indirect land use change criteria and several other trade-related regulatory schemes;
- Assistance to the US pistachio industry to access the EU market and comply with a wealth of regulatory requirements, particularly in relation to food safety (i.e., maximum levels for aflatoxins and ochratoxin) quality and market surveillance;
- Legal assistance to a number of hemp and CBD traders and start-ups in order to navigate the complex regulatory requirements to access the EU and the EU Member States' markets, including with respect to the applications before the European Commission and EFSA for the approval of novel food;
- Advice to kiwi fruit traders on market access in the EU and other relevant markets in light of the applicable WTO rules on State Trading Enterprises, export restrictions and EU competition law;
- Advice to American and Canadian bison meat producers and traders on how to access the EU market within the preferential tariff rate quotas opened for beef (i.e., “Hilton Beef” and “High Quality Beef” quotas);
- Advice to a Government in Southeast Asia in relation to its WTO accession negotiations on agriculture, early implementation commitments, SPS and TBT issues related to agriculture (i.e., equivalency, traceability, labelling, rules of origin, safeguards, etc.) and subsidisation practices;
- Legal assistance to a South American country in analysing the WTO consistency of certain countries’ domestic support mechanisms and differential export taxes in the areas of agricultural trade of cereals, dairy and foodstuffs;
- Advice to a country in Eastern Europe on the inclusion of a chapter on agricultural safeguards in the context of its negotiations for an Association Agreement with the EU containing a free trade agreement;
- Advice and legal representation for a country in Central Asia on dispute settlement proceedings relating to market access in the rice sector, import licensing and TRIMs;
- Legal advice to a WTO Member and assessment of its rights under GATT Articles XIII and XXVIII in relation to the re-negotiations of tariffs and establishment of tariff-rate quotas on poultry products by the EU;
- Counsel to two multinational corporations on EU and WTO issues of customs valuation, rules of origin, duty suspension, classification and general trade applicable to the fruit and vegetable sector and to chemical products for agricultural production;
- Legal assistance to 14 sugar producing ACP Countries in the WTO consultations-phase between the EU and Brazil/Australia in the EC-Sugar dispute;
- Advice to several Latin American banana producing countries and banana traders in relation to access to the EU market (i.e., import licensing procedures, SPS regulation, TBT measures, customs valuation, common market organisation, tariff negotiation, etc.);
- Assistance to two South Asian major agricultural exporting countries in order to establish a negotiating strategy for the Doha Round of multilateral WTO negotiations on agriculture;
- Advice to the European Commission (DG Trade) on market access issues with respect to trade in the food sector between the EU and Eastern Europe, Russia, Asian countries and South America;
- Legal counsel to certain Indian sugar and gherkins producers on strategies and requirements for increased market access to the EU; and
- Assistance to European country’s Ministry of Agriculture on drafting, inter alia, an EU-compatible and WTO-consistent law on the market organisation for wine.
Countries that lawyers in the firm have assisted with respect to agricultural trade include: