Customs, trade, WTO and anti-dumping in Belgium
Mayer Brown's 'combination of commitment, interest and involvement makes them unique' across this space, with a recent caseload consisting of trade remedy and defence proceedings, WTO dispute settlements and anti-dumping investigations focused in the Eurasian Economic Union. Customs specialist Paulette Vander Schueren 'continues to bring a high level of expertise joined with a team of young and promising talents', and co-heads the practice along with Nikolay Mizulin, who handles a range of international or EU law and sanctions work.
Nikolay Mizulin; Paulette Vander Schueren
‘Very high level of commitment and true involvement in the case at hand. Not treated as just another technical matter.’
‘The combination of commitment, interest and involvement makes them unique.’
‘The Mayer Brown European customs, trade, WTO & anti-dumping practice has a strength identifying creative solutions for international supply chain issues caused by government regulation. They go beyond the analysis and impact of the issue, but partner with the business to identify ways to solve the issue from a business perspective. Mayer Brown Europe also has a strong ability to combine legal analysis with public policy considerations.’
‘Paulette Vander Schueren continues to bring a high level of expertise joined with a team of young and promising talents she is coaching.’
Moldova Steel Works
Daido Steel Company Ltd
- Representing Wilmar in its application for annulment of the regulation imposing countervailing duties now pending before the EU’s General Court.
- Representing the Russian Fertilizer Producers Association and its member companies in the WTO challenges to the EU energy adjustment methodology and to the Ukrainian antidumping measures on ammonium nitrate.
- Defending OFS US and Japanese operations in the EAEU investigation targeting imports of optical fibre. The investigation was terminated without duties.
At V V G B Advocaten-Avocats, the international and EU trade defence, WTO and customs law practice has significant experience in anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and safeguarding investigations. Both its founding partner Folkert Graafsma and fellow department head Edwin Vermulst count an international Ministry of Commerce – Thailand and China, respectively – on their client roster, along with the Indonesian government and global manufacturers including Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Company. Juhi Dion Sud continues to lead on European review proceedings over previous Canadian and US anti-dumping investigations concerning Eurasian silicon metal imports.
Edwin Vermulst; Folkert Graafsma
Other key lawyers:
Juhi Dion Sud
First Resources Group (Ciliandra)
GITI Tire Company
The WACKER group
The Electrosteel group
WFSGI – World Federation of Sporting Goods; Adidas AG
Permata Hijau Group (Pelita)
Hyundai Steel Group/Hyundai Motor/Kia Motors
Ministry of Commerce, Royal Thai Government
Ministry of Commerce, People’s Republic of China
Government of Indonesia
Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine
At Van Bael & Bellis, the trade and customs practice's 'levels of expertise are exceptional' and, as a result, the team 'knows which battles to fight' when advising on EU anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations, as well as WTO disputes. Philippe De Baere's team is regularly instructed by international governments – with Belarus, Indonesia and Ukraine all on the client roster – during settlement proceedings and on transitional review-related matters. Fabrizio Di Gianni, Benoît Servais and Richard Luff, praised as 'a natural leader with strategic vision', are the other key names to note.
Philippe De Baere
Other key lawyers:
Fabrizio Di Gianni; Benoît Servais; Richard Luff; Marcus Gustafsson; Yuriy Rudyuk
‘VBB has demonstrated technical and professional capacity, comprehensive vision of each issue to be worked on, and permanent support to its clients, anticipating problems and proposing alternatives.’
‘Richard Luff is a natural leader with strategic vision, empathy, who also understands the needs of his clients.’
‘They know their way around Brussels and know which battles to fight and which is the way to approach them. Their advice has consistently been right, as has been their reading about potential outcomes/rulings. They have been very efficient and effective in handling issues and every time we have faced a problem, they were very agile and fast to suggest a solution… and the problems were solved.’
‘Richard Luff is the brain and heart of the team. Marcus Gustafsson has been working very closely with Richard Luff and clearly he has learnt a lot from him and is building his own network. He is smart and an expert in all aspects related to international trade, EU trade regulations and WTO agreements.’
‘We felt very well presented and defended by the team of VBB lead by Yuriy Rudyuk, with a very professional approach; straightforward and clear communication.’
‘A very professional approach inspiring confidence, by Yuriy Rudyuk and his team.’
‘Outstanding knowledge of trade, WTO, anti-dumping issues and developing strategies to tackle issues at the right moment, with very good connection to relevant officials.’
‘Richard Luff has a very strong legal foundation, sharp analytics, is a good presenter, thinks outside the box, gets straight to the point, is an efficient negotiator and successfully solves potential conflicts rather than escalating them when possible.’
‘The levels of expertise are exceptional, as well as applying strategies in case management. One of the very important aspects is the ability of this law firm to introduce the legal aspects of the case so the substance may be easily understood including crucial conditions or obstacles. The manner of connecting and handling different parties with the same goal but different assignments is highly professional, and does not affect any of the parties.’
‘Richard Luff and his team absolutely stand out. We appreciate their high level of knowledge and expertise, their ability to estimate the position of the client in the case based on accurate estimation of the conditions, readiness to introduce the client to regulations; while submittals are professionally drafted and reflect the needs of the client within the existing legal frame and readily available at any time etc.’
Government of Indonesia
Trina Solar Co. Ltd.
Government of Japan (METI)
Government of China (MOFCOM)
Canon Europa NV
Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation
Turkish Steel Exporters Association
Vestel Iberia/Makro Autoservicio Mayorista
Government of Ukraine
AGP America SA
- Acting for the government of Indonesia in a WTO dispute settlement proceeding concerning certain measures imposed by the EU in the framework of its renewable energy directives limiting the use of palm oil and oil palm crop-based biofuels.
- Advising Habas, one of the leading Turkish steel producers, CIB, the Turkish Steel Exporters’ Association, as well as Marcegaglia Specialties, the largest user in the EU, on imports of certain hot-rolled flat products of iron, non-alloy or other alloy steel (HRFS) originating in Turkey.
- Advising the Italian Government in the US Countervailing Duty Investigations concerning imports of forged steel fluid end blocks from People’s Republic of China, the Federal Republic of Germany, India, and Italy.
Clients praise the competition and international trade practice at Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I's 'ability to understand the in-depth dynamics of their needs'. It is often active before the European Commission in anti-dumping, subsidised import and regulation enforcement-related proceedings, and also assists with applying WTO and bilateral free trade agreements for exporting third countries. Trade defence expert Olivier Prost leads the team, and along with Anna Dias – who made partner in January 2020 – both demonstrate 'exceptional knowledge of the sector, unique expertise and overall strong business acumen'.
Other key lawyers:
Anna Dias; Clement Bouvarel
‘The firm, and especially Olivier Prost and Anna Dias, have shown exceptional knowledge of the sector, unique expertise and overall strong business acumen. The firm stands out in Brussels.’
‘Olivier Prost and Anna Dias have shown consistent and outstanding legal and market knowledge, business acumen and unique understanding of the assignment specification. They are responsive and extremely reliable, and establish a strong bond and a climate of trust with their clients.’
‘Known for their professionalism and rapidity of processing as a characteristic of the work team, ability to understand the in-depth dynamics of a client’s needs, synthesis and coordination of economic and legal aspects, availability assured at all times to operational support in the completion of dossiers.’
‘Olivier Prost and Anna Dias have great professionalism and relational skills; availability, correctness, speed.’
‘Clement Bouvarel has great professional rigor (precision, punctuality, correctness), and is always available for exchange and support.’
Eurofer (European Steel Association)
Saint Gobain PAM
ASCER (Asociación Española de Fabricantes de Azulejos y Pavimentos Cerámicos)
Danish Aquaculture Organisation
APIBM (Association professionnelle des importateurs de bois au Maroc)
Government of Morocco
European Carbon and Graphie Association (ECGA)
European Biodiesel Board (EBB)
ePURE (European Renewable Ethanol Association)
- Assisting the European Carbon and Graphite Association (ECGA) and its three member companies in the context of an interim review into anti-dumping measures against imports of graphite electrodes from India.
- Representing the Moroccan government in a countervailing duty investigation into phosphate fertilisers from the Kingdom of Morocco and the Russian Federation opened by the US Department of Commerce following a complaint by US company Mosaic.
- Assisting Alstom in requesting the exclusion of railway aluminium extrusions based on the specificity of the product, following a complaint lodged by European Aluminium against imports of aluminium extrusions originating from China.
With its 'exceptional quality of expertise', the international trade and investment department at Hogan Lovells International LLP covers economic sanctions, export controls and customs negotiations. Brussels practice head Lourdes Catrain's 'relentless striving for timely, accurate, pragmatic and proactive guidance' extends to trade compliance advice, with assistance from EU antitrust specialist Falk Schöning and associate Eleni Theodoropoulou. The team recently secured a notable victory for Pfizer in front of the Court of Justice of the European Union, relating to a revised customs classification for its Thermacare product range.
Other key lawyers:
Falk Schöning; Eleni Theodoropoulou
‘A very good legal product, with proactive cooperation and engagement; exceptional quality of expertise.’
‘The team is capable of properly translating regulatory development in this space to relevant impact assessments on the client’s business models. The ease to connect, the experience and knowledge as well as the pragmatic, client-focused and result-oriented approach are clearly a value-add to clients.’
‘Lourdes Catrain embodies the skills and competencies that we expect from leaders in a global business environment. Her relentless striving for timely, accurate, pragmatic and proactive guidance as well as her willingness to discuss, assess and be challenged on ideas bring great additional value to a corporate in-house law department.’
‘Lourdes Catrain has expertise in many areas, and the ability to calmly approach a problem and provide a reasoned solution.’
Ecuador Fisheries Association
Howmet (former Arconic)
VVP Vermögensverwaltung Plettenberg
- Acted for Pfizer in a case before the Court of Justice of the European Union in relation to the customs classification of Pfizer’s Thermacare range of products used to treat joint and muscle pain.
- Advising Dell as lead transaction, antitrust, and foreign direct investment counsel on the recently announced sale of its IT security business RSA to Symphony Technology Group for $2.075bn.
- Advised FuelsEurope, a trade association that represents the interests of companies conducting refinery operations in the EU, on the potential avenues to challenge a classification interpretation resulting from the judgment of the EU Court of Justice in the Lukoyl case.
Jones Day's government regulation, international trade and WTO practice consists of 'very high-quality lawyers who are real specialists in their area of law' – most typically, anti-dumping and safeguard proceedings. Led by Renato Antonini, who 'thinks out of the box and is very solution-driven', the team also has experience litigating anti-subsidy cases before the Court of Justice of the European Union. Of counsel and 'rising star' Eva Monard provides strong support, along with associate Byron Maniatis.
Other key lawyers:
Byron Maniatis; Eva Monard
‘Very high-quality lawyers who are real specialists in their area of law. They have a good network around the world and are well appreciated in many jurisdictions by authorities. They give top-notch advice which is clear. They are very clear in their messaging, which is very useful in this area of law where a close cooperation with the business is necessary.’
‘Renato Antonini is a highly-qualified attorney who thinks out of the box and is very solution-driven. He will not leave any stone unturned in very difficult cases and is always ready to go the extra mile to win a case for his clients. He does not oversell and openly discusses feasibility of certain options while discouraging others that do not bring added value for his client (thereby compromising his own billing time). His integrity is highly appreciated.’
‘Eva Monard is a rising star, because she is able to explain complex legal issues to people that are not familiar with these concepts in a concise way. She quickly understands the business priorities and takes them on board in her legal analysis.’
‘Renato Antonini, Eva Monard and Byron Maniatis are a great team and this shows in their work and communication with their clients. They manage to convey messages in a complete way, anticipating questions the client may have and always in a prompt manner. I always enjoy working with them because I know our cases are in good hands.’
‘Renato Antonini is a great manager, available, very clear in communication and honest in his recommendations.’
‘Eva Monard is very dedicated to her work, very reactive and the content of her messages is always on point and in tune with business needs. She is definitely partner material.’
‘Byron Maniatis is able to convey messages in a clear way, is helpful and always ensures availability.’
‘The team, headed by Renato Antonini, was exceptional in their understanding and overview of the case they handled for our company in the EU.’
‘Insightful, hard-working, always available and creative.’
Cambodia Rice Federation
China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME)
China Chamber of Commerce of Metals Minerals & Chemicals (CCCMC)
Jinan Meide Casting Co.
Jindal Saw Ltd and Jindal Saw Italia SA/Sertubi
JSW Steel Ltd. and JSW Steel Coated Products
Wego Chemical Group
At Dentons, the international trade, WTO and customs team has particular expertise in EU sanctions compliance, market access disputes, trade defence measures, sanctions and export control-related matters. Firm-wide and Brussels office practice head Edward Borovikov specialises in global policy, and currently counts the Russian Ministry of Economic Development and Bayer AG among his clients. Xiaoyi Tang is appreciated for his 'timely and detailed case feedback'.
Other key lawyers:
‘The chief attorney Xiaoyi Tang always gives us a good and added service; he always provides weekly reports about the cases and nobody asks him to do this. He is always kind, genteel and learned. You may get relative support from him at any time for any case, no matter if the case is his. He is outstanding for cases involving the Chinese steel industry.’
‘Xiaoyi Tang’s team work is outstanding, his job is professional, considerate. He works for the customer, not for making money, but for good service.’
‘Dentons’ team not only has advanced knowledge in EU trade issues, but also gains practical experiences in the steel sector, which is very helpful for us.’
‘We highly recommend Xiaoyi Tang and his team. He explains complex legal issues in a way that is easy to follow, and we count on his knowledge when we face difficulties in anti-dumping and safeguard issues.’
‘Specialty and ability to communicate make this practice unique.’
‘Xiaoyi Tang is very professional, dedicates himself to the work. He always gives timely and detailed case feedback.’
The Severstal Group
The NLMK Group (Novolipetsk Steel)
The TMK Group
Corning Incorporated, USA
MMK (Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works)
The CHEMK Group
China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemicals Importers & Exporters (CCCMC)
Taishan Fiberglass Inc.
- Advised, on behalf of the two Russian steel producers, the Russian Ministry of Economic Development in a WTO dispute with the European Union, as well as in two parallel judicial actions in the EU courts.
- Advised Corning Incorporated, USA on the anti-dumping investigation of the Eurasian Economic Union on the import of single mode optical fibre from the US and Japan.
- Represented NLMK Group, Severstal Group, TMK Group, MMK, CHTPZ Group and the Foundation of Tube Industry (Russia) in Turkish safeguard investigations on imports of steel products from exporting countries as a result of the US Section 232 measures on steel and aluminium, and EU safeguard investigation into steel products.
Fieldfisher's focus on international trade defence cases, particularly those concerning anti-dumping and anti-subsidy complaints, complements its sanctions control advisory work across the high-tech, chemicals and transport sectors. Laurent Ruessmann specialises in product safety as well as life sciences regulatory, and heads a team that 'is focused and committed to every assignment'. Jochen Beck's client pool features EU and third country clients – often glass fibre, steel and paper manufacturers or distributors.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is focused and committed to every assignment. Easy to communicate with.’
‘Laurent Ruessmann and Jochen Beck are the partners concerned; they are well-respected by clients which makes its easy to trust the work provided.’
Tech-Fab Europe (and members)
European Bicycle Manufacturer Association (EBMA) (and members)
Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) (and members)
European Glass Fibre Producers Association (APFE) (and members)
- Assisted Tech-Fab Europe and its members in the preparation of the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy complaints concerning imports of glass fibre fabrics (GFF) from China and Egypt, and represented them in the subsequent investigations initiated by the Commission.
- Represented APFE and the EU GFR industry in all AD and AS cases since 2011.
- Assisted EBMA and EU bicycle manufacturers in securing (i) anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on imports of e-bikes from China; and (ii) the extension of the anti-dumping duties on imports of bicycles from China for another five year period.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's ‘client-focused’ cross-practice international trade and WTO team provides ‘cutting-edge advice’ during dispute settlement proceedings and trade negotiations, often involving post-Brexit agreements, along with sanctions matters, export control and customs issues. Clients appreciate department head Lode Van Den Hende for being ‘pragmatic, smart and service-minded’, with particular specialism in EU and global regulatory matters; he is supported predominantly by consultant Eric White.
Lode Van Den Hende
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is very competent despite its small scale. They really know my business and are able to provide practical and cutting-edge advice.’
‘Client-focused, pragmatic approach. Good best practice insights from industry.’
‘Lode Van Den Hende is pragmatic, smart and service-minded.’
United Carton Industries Company
Gazprom Neft PJSC
PJSC Rosneft Oil Company
British American Tobacco plc
Nord Stream 2 AG
- Advising Nord Stream 2 AG on its landmark legal challenge of an EU Directive extending EU gas law to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline (while excluding all other similar pipelines).
- Acting for Rosneft in its further appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union in Case C-732/18P concerning a legal challenge to EU trade and financial sanctions.
- Advised Prosperity UK on the Alternative Arrangements Commission on EU and international trade law issues in relation to the Irish Backstop and other elements of the Withdrawal Agreement Alternative Arrangements for the Irish Border.
Reed Smith has 'tremendous experience in trade and customs investigations, and compliance matters', having recently opened a new office in Brussels, and taken on Yves Melin and his team from Steptoe & Johnson LLP. Belgian practice head Melin is 'an outstanding lawyer who will always try to find a commercially sensible solution', and his team regularly handles matters concerning 'European-wide enforcement initiatives by EU and national customs authorities'.
Yves Melin; Leigh Hansson; Mike Lowell
‘Yves Melin and his team have tremendous experience in trade and customs investigations, and compliance matters. They offer a unique tailor-made service of local customs experts who are all very pragmatic, cost-efficient and real experts in their area.‘
‘There are many customs and international trade practices in Brussels, but the team at Reed Smith, which only joined about a year ago, already benefits from the firm’s strong client base in international trade. The efficient, swift and dedicated service (and not by involving a huge and costly team, but by the personal effort of a lean and service-oriented team at Reed Smith) makes the team a pleasure to work with.‘
‘Highly professional way of working, broad professional knowledge, unique experience with EU institutions, quick and clear answers to client’s requests.‘
‘Yves Melin, who recently joined Reed Smith’s new Brussels office, is an outstanding trade lawyer who will always try to find a commercially sensible solution to regulatory and legal issues.‘
‘The team is lead by the very enthusiastic Yves Melin. He is a very commercial thinker who sees trends in the international trade landscape and is very successful in attracting business and leads on the basis of European-wide enforcement initiatives by EU and national customs authorities.‘
Clients appreciate the 'exceptional knowledge and quality of partners' found within White & Case LLP's international trade practice. James Killick – recognised for 'great professionalism and relational skills' – handles matters concerning trade remedies and export controls, with Jacquelyn MacLennan specialising in customs-related cases and Genevra Forwood an expert on sanctions. All three co-head the team, which is most active in the steel sector.
James Killick; Jacquelyn MacLennan; Genevra Forwood
‘Professionalism and rapidity of processing as a characteristic of the work team, ability to understand in depth the dynamics of the client’s business, availability assured at all times to assist with the completion of dossiers.’
‘James Killick has great professionalism and relational skills (availability, correctness, speed).’
‘Exceptional knowledge and quality of partners.’
The Federal Republic of Germany
European Steel Association (Eurofer)
- Advising the Federal Republic of Germany in the DOC CVD investigation of forged steel fluid end blocks.
- Representing Eurofer, the European Steel Association with 39 members in 22 countries, in two recently opened anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases against imports of certain hot-rolled flat products of iron, non-alloy or other alloy steel originating in Turkey.
- Representing Spanish steelmaker Celsa in the recently opened US anti-dumping investigation relating to imports of PSC wires and strands.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Clients praise Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton's trade and sanctions department for its 'level of experience' and 'quick decision-making' during anti-dumping proceedings and when advising on economic sanction policies. Competition specialist François-Charles Laprévote and senior counsel Till Müller-Ibold are the main players, with close support from colleagues in Paris and Washington DC.
Other key lawyers:
François-Charles Laprévote; Till Müller-Ibold
‘It all comes down to the level of experience the team has in this specific field. The team knows what it takes to achieve their objective, including the human network, where to push and pull, which buttons to push at specific times, etc. The knowledge level across a wide range of industries is quite high, which leads to quick decision-making.’
PT Chin Haur
- Acting for PT Chin Haur and City Cycle in a successful litigation before the European General Court against a circumvention regulation extending anti-dumping duties to bicycles originating in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tunisia and Sri Lanka.
Garrigues is particularly strong on anti-dumping, anti-subsidy investigations and safeguards, with experience in the agri-food and steel sectors, as well as ‘great first-hand knowledge of the legal process within the European Commission’. Practice head Ángel Givaja is appreciated for an ‘ability to grasp technical details’ and also provides assistance to clients established in third countries on customs issues or free trade agreements.
‘It’s a team with great first-hand knowledge of the legal process within the European Commission. They know the steps to great detail and have close contacts within the European Commission.’
‘Angel Givaja has given us excellent service in our specific case. He has the ability to grasp technical details and transform our proposals into a solid defence.’
Spanish Association of ripe olive exporters (ASEMESA)
Affordable Medicines Europe (formerly European Association of Euro-Pharmaceutical Companies)
Spanish National Federation of Associations of Processed Fruit and Vegetables (FENAVAL)
- Representing Fenaval, the Spanish National Federation of Associations of Processed Fruit and Vegetables, in the European Commission’s expiry review of the anti-dumping duty on imports of certain prepared or preserved citrus fruits originating in the People’s Republic of China.
- Representing Asemesa, the Spanish Association of ripe olive exporters, in the ongoing high-profile US ITC anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation into imports of ripe olives from Spain.
- Assisted Maghreb Steel in its successful application for definitive Moroccan safeguard measures for certain hot-rolled steel products.
K&L Gates GP
At K&L Gates GP, the international trade team predominantly handles sanctions matters and market access issues, with further WTO regulatory expertise across various jurisdictions. Headed by Brussels office founding partner Philip Torbøl, the group is routinely instructed by Amadeus IT Group, and recently advised on global distribution systems concerning both China and the UAE.
Amadeus IT Group
OSI Systems Inc.
TABC (Trans-Atlantic Business Council)
King & Spalding LLP's government matters team handles international trade defence investigations and WTO trade remedy disputes from its new Brussels office, as well as from a base in Geneva. Marie-Sophie Dibling is the main name to note, with Swiss-side support from practice head Daniel Crosby.
Other key lawyers:
European Biodiesel Board
Novelis Deutschland and Italia
Ministry of Commerce, Government of Morocco
European renewable ethanol association (ePURE)
United Parcel Service (UPS)
Cema Bois de l’Atlas
Global Express Association