Lawyers in the firm have a long history of involvement with trade negotiations, at the multilateral, regional and bilateral levels. The vast majority of our experiences has been in relation to agricultural and services negotiations, whether in the context of the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations or in relation to bilateral FTAs or regional processes of integration (i.e., ASEAN, CEFTA, CARICOM and a number of EPAs between the EU and ACP countries).
The firm has also successfully advised a number of countries in relation to their WTO accession negotiations, particularly in the areas of agriculture, services, SPS and TBT compliance, subsidies and market access. Similarly, the firm has often acted on behalf of private clients in order to advance their interests with selected countries’ trade negotiators, and have these interests adequately reflected in their negotiating agendas. This is a legal avenue that few private operators systematically pursue, but which may yield important results and strategic commercial advantages. The firm has thorough insight into current and upcoming trade negotiations and is able to work seamlessly with all stakeholders to establish a viable negotiating strategy and effectively negotiate in all relevant fora.
Below is a list of relevant trade negotiations that lawyers at FratiniVergano have been involved in over the years:
- 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;
- Assistance to the generics and biosimilars industry in order to define a model text to be used in several fora of trade negotiation;
- Assistance to three Southeast Asian countries for purposes of conducting the impact assessments, defining the negotiating strategies and preparing ‘non papers’ or negotiating proposals for their preferential trade negotiations with the EU;
- Assistance to the Government of Liberia in its WTO accession negotiations and in reconciling the WTO concessions with the ECOWAS constraints and Common External Tariff (CET);
- Advice to a Southeast Asian country on the negotiation of the SPS Chapter in its Free Trade Agreement with the EU;
- Advice to the Vietnamese subsidiary of a large multinational textiles group in relation to the negotiation of the textiles’ rules of origin chapter in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, now known as CPTPP;
- Advice to a Southeast Asian country on the negotiation of the Investment Protection Chapter in its Free Trade Agreement with the EU;
- Advice and legal representation of the Italian postal operator in relation to the GATS negotiations on postal and courier services and for UPU/WTO matters;
- Advice and legal representation of the biggest Italian electrical generating company in relation to the GATS negotiations on energy and energy-related services;
- Legal counsel to two major South Asian agricultural producing and exporting countries to design a strategy for the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations in agriculture;
- Assistance to the ACP Group’s Focal Point in Geneva on the agricultural negotiations strategy in the Doha Round;
- 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;
- Legal advice to the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery on the EU proposals for liberalisation of trade in services in the context of the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations between the EU and CARIFORUM Countries;
- Advice to the Government of Rwanda to provide a legal roadmap and a negotiating strategy to support Rwanda’s accession to the East African Community and its Customs Union;
- Advice and legal support to the Governments of Ukraine and Vietnam with respect to a variety of SPS and TBT issues related to the production and international trade of agricultural commodities, fisheries and foodstuffs in light of their WTO accession negotiations and implementation work;
- Advice and legal support to two major Russian companies in the energy and aeronautic sectors with respect to the prospective WTO compatibility of certain commercial agreements;
- Assistance to the ministries of agriculture and industry of Macedonia and Kazakhstan in relation to a variety of SPS and TBT issues and WTO implementation obligations, particularly with respect to transparency; and
- Advice to the trademark office of China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce on geographical indications under EU law and the effect of WTO negotiations on TRIPs and GIs.