International Law, International Trade
and WTO Consultancy
International Law, International Trade
and WTO Consultancy
International Trade issues and U.S. Customs compliance Negotiation and drafting of international agreements and documents U.S. market entry International corporate restructuring International Trade issues and U.S. Customs compliance
Customs and International Trade regulatory compliance is a critical matter of ever- increasing complexity. Proper compliance with existing regulations, as well as the development of well-designed compliance programs, is a vital and integral part of operations for all companies involved in import and export. Our efforts to deliver a clear understanding of the practical aspects of regulatory regimes provides our clients with higher efficiency and allows them to not only avoid considerable penalties and delays, but to properly structure financial benefits for future transactions.
Our Firm assists clients with a wide range of international trade and customs compliance matters. This includes tariff classification, duty rates, valuation, penalties, quota restrictions, seizures and detentions, import and export documentation and recordkeeping requirements, country of origin criteria, labeling and invoicing requirements, bonded warehouses and foreign trade zones, drawback, and all of the various free trade agreements including NAFTA, CAFTA, etc. We assist clients with proactive development of internal controls and compliance programs designed to avoid issues with Customs and other agencies that administer the U.S. trade laws. We work with our clients to ensure that their import and export operations are structured to optimize results for duty rates, merchandise clearance, and the prevention of government-imposed penalties or sanctions. Our attorneys also advise clients on developing systems that will minimize the possibility of adverse determinations by the U.S. Customs in the event of an audit. We are able to assist clients in gaining admission into beneficial programs, including the Importer Self-Assessment Program (ISA) and the Customs—Trade Partnership against Terrorism (C-TPAT).
When required, our Firm works with clients to achieve full compliance with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the International Trade Commission, the International Trade Administration, the Bureau of Industry and Security, the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, the Food and Drug Administration, the Consumer Products Safety Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control.
Our attorneys are involved in numerous international projects, including consultancy on the effects and implications of major international treaties on large multi-party and multi-jurisdiction projects. Over the past year, we have been involved in preparing comprehensive overviews of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Convention on the Continental Shelf and multiple international regulations associated with customs and trade regulations related to export and import of oil and gas products.
The growing influence of WTO requirements is accompanied by an increase in non-tariff barriers promulgated by numerous countries. As the importance of legal compliance increases, we work with our international clients and multi-national companies to address issues of WTO requirements, anti-dumping regulations and compliance as well as the growing prevalence of non-tariff barriers within the framework of the WTO agreements. As international agreements, including those negotiated in the WTO system, often need interpretation, we guide our clients with regard to procedures based on an internationally agreed legal foundation.
Our firm is collaborating with highly specialized professionals in Brussels (Belgium), Toronto (Canada), Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and Washington, DC (USA) in assisting clients with regard to highly complex WTO-related matters.
Our attorneys have extensive experience in international transactions. Over the years, our leading attorney, George A. Gellis, has been corporate counsel for numerous companies and enterprises in the United States, the United Kingdom and Switzerland. Mr. Gellis has worked with companies of various sizes and fields, from international oil companies, financial, venture capital and private equity firms to telecommunication companies, technology start-ups and charitable foundations. As corporate counsel, he attained a distinct perspective of a business insider acquiring first-hand experience of business operations, risks and objectives, thus positioning him to fully understand and internalize clients’ legal and business needs.
For U.S.-based clients expanding their operations abroad, and foreign clients entering the U.S. market, our Firm advises extensively on matters related to market entry and international strategic alliances. We understand the importance of such alliances to our clients’ businesses and have significant experience in implementing strategic partnerships through joint ventures and investment agreements in accordance with international standards. These agreements allow our clients to achieve a heightened degree of protection for their investments through the use of the mechanisms provided in Bilateral Investment Treaties, as well as opportunities to choose the most beneficial modes and jurisdictions for potential claims.
For our clients engaged in international business, our Firm advises extensively on matters related to international strategic alliances and optimization of multi-jurisdictional corporate structures. Our attorneys have significant experience and a proven track-record of implementing and guiding clients with individually tailored solutions. Depending on the particular needs of a client, we can provide assistance with the formation of international holding and trading companies designed to protect corporate assets and shareholdings, as well as limiting liability of operating entities. We assist our technology clients in establishing international corporate structures to retain valuable intellectual property and technology rights for subsequent licensing to third parties.
Safeguarding revenue streams and seeking best solutions to protect shareholdings and assets from volatile political and economic environments is of vital concern and critical value to our non-U.S. clients, who are successful entrepreneurs operating in Eastern Europe, the CIS and Asia. Legally sound international optimization of holding structures is a primary objective when representing shareholders and management of companies conducting business in those regions.
The growing uncertainty of legal, regulatory and tax environments in some regions creates conditions in which entrepreneurs seek additional legal protections to secure their assets and shareholdings. A network of international Bilateral Investment and Double Taxation treaties, as well as firmly established laws in certain western jurisdictions, creates a considerable degree of protection for corporate investments. We help our clients achieve an additional degree of asset protection through the formation of various multi-jurisdictional corporate structures in countries with well-established legal systems, such as the United States, the European Union, Switzerland, and some other less traditional jurisdictions. Strategically tailored corporate holdings through multi-national structures are capable of effectively shielding assets from potential threats of expropriation and political changes, and provide additional advantages for the growth, future financing, and development capabilities of our client companies.