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WORLD TRADE ORGANISATION

 

The Curtis international trade team has extensive experience with international trade law and dispute settlement. We combine deep technical and policy knowledge to provide a broad range of services in connection with the WTO and international dispute settlement. 

From the beginning, a significant part of our trade practice has focused on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and WTO-related work.  For the past three decades, our attorneys have been working with foreign companies and governments on various matters under the GATT and WTO. This work has included dispute settlement under the old GATT, extensive advisory work on behalf of several governments during negotiation of the Uruguay Round, dispute settlement under the new WTO system, and negotiations in connection with the ongoing Doha Round. Much of this work has involved counseling foreign companies and governments on whether and how to bring complaints to the WTO.

During the Uruguay Round, partners in the firm advised various foreign governments on the negotiation of the Antidumping Agreement, the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, and the Safeguards Agreement.  This advice included the development of positions on the issues, explaining positions to other delegations, preparing strategies for negotiation, analyzing the proposed drafts, and preparing arguments and statements for the negotiations. Our attorneys were in Geneva for every negotiating session.  We also were involved in negotiations on textiles, services and dispute settlement. This advisory work has continued in the Doha Development Round of trade negotiations. We were actively involved in preparation for the Seattle Ministerial, and continued our advisory role during the period preceding the Doha Ministerial.  We are now helping various clients develop long-term strategies in connection with those negotiations.

We also have substantial experience in dispute settlement proceedings. We have advised the Brazilian government on a wide range of bilateral and multilateral trade issues over the years, including GATT proceedings on orange juice and pharmaceuticals.  We have been involved in several successful, high-profile WTO disputes between the United States and Japan, involving cars, consumer photographic film and antidumping duties on hot-rolled steel. In virtually all of these cases, the position of our clients prevailed.

We have been particularly active in WTO disputes involving trade remedy laws. We have been involved in several panel proceedings arising out of antidumping, countervail and safeguard measures. These antidumping disputes involved audiocassettes, stainless steel, hot-rolled steel, bed linen and structural steel.  We represented Brazilian interests in WTO litigation over equity infusions received prior to privatization under the U.S. countervailing duty law, and in litigation over the so-called “Byrd Amendment” authorizing payments of antidumping and countervailing duties to domestic industries. We also represented Australian interests in a successful challenge to the U.S. safeguard actions on lamb meat.

Our main strength is our depth of experience.  Most of our senior international trade lawyers have advisory and dispute settlement experience with both the GATT and the WTO.  Indeed, it is our ability to have several experienced lawyers work collaboratively to develop strategies that has been responsible for much of the success of our group in WTO dispute settlement litigation.

Our attorneys’ substantive experience is particularly valuable in WTO disputes involving technical areas.  Depending on the case, it may be necessary to go beyond the technical defense and focus on broader trade policy. From our extensive experience with high-profile trade disputes, we have an extremely strong practice in trade policy advocacy, working with political and public relations advisors as necessary. 

 

International Lawyers