We provide counseling, litigation, investigation and strategic advice to clients in relation to EU law and the EU's institutions and courts.
Our lawyers and other professionals come from a range of disciplines relevant to our clients (e.g., accountancy, business research and science), and many have worked in national and international institutions (such as the EU Commission, World Trade Organization and the European Court of Justice), in-house counsel positions and, of course, many years of private law practice. While the lingua franca of the office is English, our professionals are drawn from several countries and we can work in Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Malayalam, Russian and Spanish.
Competition Laws of the European Union, Member States and Internationally
We acted for Eurofer, the European steel companies’ trade association, in relation to its intervention before the European Commission in relation to the offer by BHP Billiton for Rio Tinto as well as the proposed joint venture between those parties. In the former matter, the Commission issued a Statement of Objections; in the latter, the Commission was going to issue a statement of objections. In both cases, as a result of the parties’ view of the outcomes of the relevant competition authorities’ investigations, the proposals were abandoned.
EU Law and Policy
Mayer Brown’s EU Law & Policy practice assists clients in navigating and shaping EU rules. Our lawyers help companies, industry and trade associations and governments understand the intricacies of EU law and policy and define their legal strategies to achieve their competitive objectives. Moreover, our strength in the cornerstones of EU law and policy that are critical to global business—competition, international trade and EU regulatory law—allows us to develop solutions tailored to our clients’ legal and policy concerns. Lawyers in our EU Law & Policy practice combine private- and public-sector experience and have a sophisticated understanding of EU institutions and policies. Our firm represent clients from different sectors on a wide variety of matters before the EU institutions and bodies, and relevant bodies of the Member States.
International and Benelux Tax
Our Brussels Tax team has been leading the Pan-European structuring and organization of operations of a USD 500 million opportunistic fund with operations in the United States.
Our EU Regulatory team recently published a “Code of Conduct” for REACH Consortia, elaborated in conjunction with major corporations, including Unilever, Procter and Gamble and L’Oreal, to help companies ensure REACH consortia are acting in a manner that is fair, transparent, non-discriminatory and in compliance with EU antitrust rules.
Trade and Customs laws
Our Trade & Customs team is one of the most highly regarded of its kind in Europe. It is supported by lawyers and other professionals located in major business centers worldwide. That means we can help our clients understand trade policy and comply with trade laws in order to capitalize on opportunities and overcome market barriers in nearly every country.
The Trade & Customs team provides advice on such issues as tariff classification, rules of origin, customs valuation issues, duty suspensions and any other economic customs regimes. Its hands-on approach means that it assists clients in projects such as obtaining favourable tariff classification and valuation rulings from the World Customs Organization and national authorities and coordinating customs litigation in various EU Member States. Working with our firm’s International & Benelux Tax department enables us to also advise on the interplay between customs valuation and transfer pricing.
In the field of trade defense, our Trade & Customs team has represented clients in every major EU trade defense investigation over the past nine years. These include: the 800+ EU companies in the EU’s largest anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into solar products in 2012-2013; representing ZTE, one of the two main producers of “dongles,” subject to the EU Commission’s first-ever simultaneous anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and countervailing duty investigations; the 2005 anti-dumping investigation into footwear products from China; and the investigations into biodiesel and bioethanol. The team is also active in guiding and advising local counsel for clients that are facing the threat of trade defense measures around the world—including in Brazil, China and India.
The team advises multinationals on their global sales transactions and services affected by EU, Belgian and US export control laws and political sanctions, often in close collaboration with the US and German or UK offices. The team also devises compliance and training programs for clients, which have become even more necessary as a result of the rising number of enforcement actions in these fields.
Our Trade & Customs team advises clients, including national governments, on their rights under the WTO agreements (e.g., the protection of their rights to market access) and accession to the WTO, and has represented clients in WTO dispute settlement proceedings. It also makes representations to the EU institutions, Member State authorities and governments in developing countries, on issues arising under multilateral and bilateral trade agreements. The team also advises clients on EU regulatory matters affecting trade including VAT, excise duty or other regulatory matters affecting free trade from the point of view EU or WTO trade provisions.
European Court Litigation
Acting against the European Commission, we applied for and obtained from the EU’s General Court an order that the EU institutions produce confidential documentary evidence allegedly supporting the Commission’s findings in an anti-dumping proceeding. This is the first time the EU’s General Court has ordered such a measure - (Case T-249/06).
Corporate and Securities
Our Brussels capabilities are part of our expansive capabilities throughout the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, allowing us to handle complex cross-border deals and, at the same time, use our local market knowledge and deep understanding of industry-specific issues to ensure we provide the best solution for the client anywhere in the world. We provide local law advice and for the larger transactions we use the extensive resources of corporate and securities lawyers in our other European offices.