We have extensive experience in advising Governments and regional groupings on the creation of regional organisations and/or the negotiation of regional integration agreements. This is particularly the case with ASEAN, which the firm and many of its lawyers have advised since 2006 under a multitude of donors’ projects and frameworks, assisting both the ASEAN Secretariat and ASEAN Member States in relation to many of the key areas of regional economic integration. The firm has also been advising the CEFTA Parties and the CEFTA Secretariat on a variety of legal issues since 2015. This has left us well-positioned to respond to the increasing demands arising from the recent and fast development of regional trading blocs.
Our experience in this area includes:
- Assisting a number of ASEAN Member States on issues related to the identification, collection, classification and streamlining of non-tariff measures (NTMs) for purposes of ASEAN transparency and trade facilitation through better legislation and regulation;
- Providing legal assistance to the ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN Member States for purposes of drafting the ASEAN Trade Facilitation Framework (ATFF) and the 'NTMs Guidelines', as well as for the operationalisation of the system of ASEAN Solutions for Investments, Services and Trade (ASSIST), the ASEAN Trade Repository (ATR), and the e-Platform for Consultations with the Private Sector;
- Assisting the ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN Member States with respect to the legal analysis for the General Review of the ATIGA and supporting the Legal Services and Agreements Directorate of the ASEAN Secretariat with the legal interpretation of many ASEAN instruments;
- Providing legal assistance to the CEFTA Secretariat and the CEFTA Parties on a variety of issues related to the implementation and further negotiation of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), such as on dispute settlement, trade in services, and trade facilitation;
- Providing legal assistance to the CARICOM Secretariat to develop a set of harmonised notification tools meant to support implementation and compliance with the obligations arising from CARICOM Members’ participation to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy;
- Developing a Handbook on ASEAN Competition Law and Policy for the private sector and country regulators, assisting the ASEAN Secretariat with respect to policy formulation and FTA negotiations on Competition Chapters arising from different levels of development and capabilities among the regional economies, and developing Regional Guidelines for Competition Policy in ASEAN;
- Providing assistance to the ASEAN Secretariat to achieve a further degree of regional integration, in setting-up a system of regional dispute settlement, and in negotiating an FTA with the EU;
- Acting as legal counsel to the ASEAN Secretariat since 2006 in relation to a wealth of international law matters, institutional development and legal drafting, particularly with respect to the implementation of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) and the Enhanced Dispute Settlement Mechanism (EDSM);
- Providing legal advice to the Government of Rwanda on regional integration options and its trade position with respect to accession to the East African Community (EAC); and
- Advice to the European Commission on the compliance of certain national legislation of the former EU candidate countries with the aquis communautaire, the body of EU law.