FratiniVergano has long-standing experience in advising governments, regional organisations, EU institutions and private parties on the interpretation and implementation of legal frameworks relating to services and investment. Part of this advice has been provided in the context of multilateral and bilateral negotiations on trade in services and investment protection.
In particular, lawyers in the firm have gained considerable expertise in assessing, and advising on, specific provisions on services and investment in FTAs concluded by the EU with various trading partners. In this respect, we have analysed in detail the impact and scope of the EU’s competence on foreign direct investment.
Our lawyers have assisted the Government of a Southeast Asian country in the formulation of its position and strategy in the negotiations of the investment protection chapter within the framework of FTA negotiations with the EU. In this context, lawyers in the firm have reviewed and analysed the core elements of the EU’s investment policy, including investment protection and ISDS provisions contained in EU Member States’ Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs).
The firm has advised the CEFTA Secretariat and CEFTA Parties regarding the finalisation of the Additional Protocol on Trade in Services.
We have also assessed the coverage and depth of investment provisions in recent EU FTAs, including the EU-Korea FTA and the EC-CARICOM FTA. In addition, our lawyers have provided advice on issues arising from EU Member States’ BITs, thereby developing considerable expertise in key areas, particularly in those related to the definition of “investment”, treatment of foreign investors, investment protection and dispute settlement provisions and mechanisms.
Moreover, lawyers at FratiniVergano were part of the team that, in 2005-2006, reviewed over 400 bilateral trade agreements (including many BITs) between EU Member States and third countries on behalf of the European Commission and in light of possible inconsistencies with the EU acquis communautaire and of issues of EU competence (including in relation to investment).
Our lawyers have also assessed the scope and content of services and investment agreements and provisions in the context of other regional and bilateral frameworks, such as the NAFTA and ASEAN agreements (i.e., the AFAS and the ACIA) and advised the Caribbean Negotiating Machinery on the Services and Investment component of the EC-CARICOM EPA.
With respect to services, lawyers in the firm have been involved in assisting companies in ongoing WTO multilateral negotiations on trade in services in the areas of postal and courier services, financial services, telecoms and energy-related services. In addition, FratiniVergano’s lawyers have assisted clients in developing their negotiating strategies and have represented them before national authorities and EU negotiators to ensure that their strategic and commercial interests were duly taken into account.
Since 2018, the firm is a member of the European Services Forum (ESF).