The lawyers and professionals in our World Trade Organization (WTO) practice advise governments and corporate clients on the full range of WTO rules that regulate trade in goods, services, and intellectual property. We have hands-on and in-depth experience with WTO dispute settlement proceedings, multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations, WTO accession, strategic trade and customs advice, and market access strategies.
The members of our WTO team have literally been in the room when some of the most important and complex trade negotiations and disputes of the past quarter century have taken place. For example, our lawyers prepared the submissions and presented the oral arguments in many of the first cases to appear before WTO panels and the Appellate Body. Members of our WTO team also played a crucial role in launching both the Uruguay and the Doha Rounds of multilateral trade negotiations. And several of our lawyers and professionals were party to the discussions when trade ministers met in Seattle, Cancun, and Hong Kong.
WTO Dispute Settlement
Our lawyers have extensive experience with WTO dispute settlement proceedings. This experience spans the full range of international commitments and obligations covered by the WTO, including the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards, the Agreement on Agriculture, the Agreement on Customs Valuation, the Agreement on Safeguards, and the Anti-dumping Agreement. Our WTO dispute settlement experience includes:
- Brazil – Definitive Antidumping Measure on Polyethylene Terephthalate Resins from Argentina (DS355). Resulted in settlement favorable to our client.
- European Communities – Measures Affecting Trade in Commercial Vessels (DS301). Won on all grounds.
- Guatemala – Anti-dumping Investigation Regarding Imports of Portland Cement from Mexico (DS60). Won appeal on all issues.
- Korea – Measures Affecting Trade in Commercial Vessels (DS273). Won on all grounds.
- Mexico – Definitive Anti-dumping Measures on Beef and Rice (DS295). Won on all major issues.
- US – Anti-dumping duties on DRAMs from Korea (DS99). Won on all major issues.
- US – Preliminary Countervailing Duty Determination With Respect to Certain Softwood Lumber from Canada (DS236). Won two of six issues at panel stage; no appeal.
Market Access and Strategic Counseling
The rules-based trading system administered by the WTO has reduced, and in many cases eliminated, long-standing trade barriers. Trade in goods, services, and intellectual property has exploded as tariffs, quotas, and other traditional forms of market protection have been reduced, disciplined, or eliminated. But at the same time that trade has liberalized, governments have adopted new and less obvious measures to protect their domestic industries from import competition.
Technical product regulations, sanitary and phytosanitary standards, licensing schemes, and erratic customs valuation mechanisms are just a few of the hurdles often faced by companies as they try to "globalize." Understanding these measures and being able to assess whether they violate the relevant WTO rules requires legal insight. What one does with this knowledge requires business and political acumen. It requires an understanding and deep appreciation of the local institutions and decision-makers. Using our business and legal insight, and access to decision-makers in capitals around the world, we help our clients identify promising foreign markets and develop entry strategies that overcome market obstacles.
Trade Negotiations and WTO Accession
Members of our WTO team have advised numerous governments on various aspects of their accession to the WTO. For example, we have been under contract to the European Commission to provide technical assistance to the Russian Federation on its efforts to join the WTO. As noted previously, various lawyers and professionals in our group have also been engaged by governments around the world (e.g., Jamaica and Jordan) to provide training and advice on compliance with WTO obligations. In some cases, our government clients have engaged us to actually draft various sections of their national trade laws.
Lastly, our lawyers have extensive experience with multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations, both from their time in private practice and their time working in government. At present, we are closely monitoring progress in the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations. On behalf of governments and corporate clients, we provide analysis, we strategize, and we communicate our clients' interests and concerns to key third parties (e.g., the WTO Secretariat, the various EU institutions and EU Member States, the US Trade Representative, members of the US Congress, the US Departments of Treasury and Commerce, and the White House).
Definitive Anti-dumping Measure on Polyethylene Terephthalate Resins from Argentina (DS355). Settled on terms favorable to client.
Certain Measures Granting Refunds, Reductions or Exemptions from Taxes and Other Payments – United States (DS358). Settled on terms favorable to client.
Measures Affecting the Protection and Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights – United States (DS362). Client won on all major issues.
Measures Affecting Trading Rights and Distribution Services for Certain Publications and Audiovisual Entertainment Products – United States (DS363). Client won on all major issues.
Measures Affecting Financial Information Services and Foreign Financial Information Suppliers – United States (DS373). Settled on terms favorable to client.
Grants, Loans and Other Incentives – United States (DS387). Settled on terms favorable to client.
Measures Affecting Trade in Commercial Vessels (DS301). Won on all issues.
Aid for Commercial Vessels (DS307). Never finalized due to win in the two prior cases.
Tariff Treatment of Certain Information Technology Products – United States (DS375). Client won on all major issues
Certain Measures Affecting Poultry Meat and Poultry Meat Products from the United States (DS389). Settled on terms favorable to client.
Anti-dumping Investigation Regarding Imports of Portland Cement from Mexico (DS60). Won appeal on all issues.
Definitive Anti-dumping Measure Regarding Grey Portland Cement from Mexico (DS156). Lost before panel.
Additional and Extra-Additional Duties on Imports from the United States (DS360). Client won on substantive legal issues.
Mayer Brown secured a significant victory on behalf of Indonesia when the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) upheld an earlier WTO ruling that United States legislation restricting the production and sale of certain flavored cigarettes is discriminatory. With the ruling, the WTO demanded that the US drop or amend a ban against clove cigarettes enacted pursuant to the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (the “Act”).
Measures Affecting trade in Commercial Vessels (DS273). Won on all allegations of alleged subsidization of Korean banks and industry due to Asian crisis.
Definitive Anti-dumping Measures on Beef and Rice (DS295). Won all major issues.
Anti-Dumping Duties on DRAMs from Korea (DS99). Won all major issues.
Countervailing Duty Investigation on DRAMS from Korea (DS296). Won on appeal.
Final Countervailing Duty Determination with Respect to Certain Softwood Lumber from Canada (DS257). Won all major issues on appeal.
Measures Affecting the Production and Sale of Clove Cigarettes from Indonesia (DS406). Won before panel and Appellate Body.