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International trade and customs
With offices in Bogotá, Barranquilla and Medellín, and fielding the largest team in the practice area, Araujo Ibarra & Asociados S.A is ‘a leading practice for international trade matters’. It assists national and international corporations, and national governments in relation to trade agreements, free zones, economic analysis, regulatory issues, business incorporations and related strategic matters. ‘Experienced and knowledgeable practitioner’ Martín Gustavo Ibarra leads the group, and is experienced in advising multilateral organisations including the WTO, UNCTAD and GATT. Other clients include Ecopetrol, Zona Franca de Colombia, Shell and Ocensa.
Leading boutique Ibarra Abogados is ‘strongly recommended for its expertise in customs law’, and has for more than two decades focused on international trade and customs matters. Head of the team Gabriel Ibarra is praised for his ‘knowledge on trade issues and hands-on approach on cases under his supervision’. The five-strong group acted for Corpacero before the Ministry of Commerce in its successful application for anti-dumping measures relating to the import of flat-rolled steel from China; and also acted for Pfizer in several disputes with the Colombian customs authorities claiming reimbursement of duties paid for the importation of exempted products. Emcocables, Alumina Group and Colgate-Palmolive are also clients.
Brigard & Urrutia’s ‘commercially focused and responsive’ international trade and customs team is made up of practitioners notable for their international training and specialist expertise. The six-strong group, led by the ‘result-oriented’ José Francisco Mafla and Carlos Fradique-Méndez, covers areas such as free trade zone and foreign exchange matters, international trade disputes, and administrative proceedings. Mafla led advice to REHAU regarding safeguard investigations on imports from China and Turkey initiated by the Ministry of Trade, and Bancoldex, Furukawa and Pernod Ricard are among its other clients.
Boutique firm Forero Medina & Abogados Asociados provides specialist advice on international trade and taxation, including handling administrative litigation and advising on foreign exchange, competition, leasing and free trade zone, customs, market access and country-of-origin regulatory matters. The practice regularly attracts instructions from other law firms. Andrés Forero is ‘a visible name in the area’.
With ‘an active international practice’, the ‘first-class’, eight-strong team at Posse Herrera Ruiz continues to advise a mix of standalone clients and clients of the wider firm. It is ‘not just very dedicated but also offers ample knowledge of the area and enjoys a high level of communication with the pertinent authorities’. Recent work includes acting for Anadarko in an application concerning the declaration of nine offshore free trade zones, with a value matter of $300m; and advising adidas Colombia and other exporters on anti-dumping investigations relating to Chinese footwear imports. Other clients include Repsol, Petrobras and Diageo. The practice is led by Juan Guillermo Ruiz, who is ‘an expert in custom matters’, and associate Juan David Barbosa, who is ‘very knowledgeable on Free Trade Agreement matters’.
With a ‘solid reputation’ for its work on planning, free trade zone, customs and foreign exchange matters, and related litigation, Gómez-Pinzón Zuleta’s international trade group is led by senior associate Nicolás Potdevin, who is noted for his ‘expertise in customs and foreign exchange’. The four-strong team continued to advise TCBUEN on free trade zone and customs matters connected to the extension of its warehouse and qualifications as a port operator; and also acted for an oil-and-gas corporation in a dispute with the customs authorities. Procter & Gamble, Yanbal de Colombia and Sodimac are well-established clients.
Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría’s practice is led by tax expert Martín Acero and Carolina Rozo, and covers planning, structuring and consultancy matters in areas such as free trade zones, foreign exchange, import/export services, customs, anti-dumping and tax. It recently acted for Brookfield on due diligence matters relating to its acquisition of Isagen; and was also instructed by Procafecol in a dispute relating to VAT and customs qualifications, including advising in relation to free trade zone tax regimes and foreign exchange and customs matters. Celsia, B Braun Medical and Terminal Fluvial de Andalucía are also clients.
Under the leadership of ‘experienced’ practitioner Juan Pablo Godoy, Godoy & Hoyos Abogados has recently advised Sociedad Portuaria Bahía on trade and customs matters relating to the $60m sale of a port on the Colombian Caribbean coast. The firm also acts for Impala Colombia, Sacyr and ExxonMobil de Colombia.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has integrated a team led by Ingrid Díaz and Juan Manuel Camargo, previously at the now defunct Díaz Camargo Abogados. The specialist group provides advice to local and foreign clients on the whole gamut of international trade and customs matters. Clients have included Apropesca, BASF, Pacific Rubiales and Sony.
Tangarife Torres & Asociados’ team is led by the ‘highly regarded’ Marcel Tangarife, who is noted for his ‘vast expertise in international trade and customs mandates’ and is a former member of the General Secretariat of the Andean Community. The practice advises local and international clients on free trade zones, planning, structuring, import/export services and Free Trade Agreement matters.
Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas advises national and international corporations on free trade agreements, investment agreements, customs procedures, and the constitution and operation of free trade zones. Previous clients have included Ford Motors, Kellogg’s, and vehicle importation association ANDEMOS.