Overview

Our international trade and inward investment lawyers help public and private sector clients achieve their commercial aims. We draw on trade expertise across a range of legal disciplines to help clients make the most of global opportunities in their sector.

Trading businesses need to import and export goods and services in accordance with international trade law. As the countdown to Brexit continues, EU-based importers and UK-based customers and exporters will need to be alert to restrictions, tariffs and regulations.

Future challenges could include trading under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules or free trade agreements. The import and export of services may increasingly be governed by the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) or bespoke future arrangements.

Despite Brexit uncertainties, the UK continues to attract inward investment from overseas markets as international businesses look to expand into the UK through acquisition, equity investment, joint ventures, the incorporation of new entities and by expanding existing operations.

We help businesses navigate complex international trade law and cross-border challenges. Our expertise includes assisting transport sector clients with cross-border regulatory issues, helping food clients with labelling and country of origin advice, and advising agricultural sector clients on business immigration.

As the UK readopts powers to negotiate free trade agreements and resolve international trade disputes, UK businesses and importers into the UK will face new challenges. Our international trade lawyers can help.

The UK continues to attract inward investment from overseas markets, despite Brexit uncertainties, as international businesses look to expand into the UK through acquisition, equity investment, joint ventures, the incorporation of new entities and by expanding existing operations.

Doing business in the UK for the first time can be exciting but complex. In this inward investment guide, we identify 10 key points to help you plan ahead for success. 

Our UK Investment Launchpad service, enables inbound clients to fast track the UK set up process by providing rapidly deployed project management, alongside expert legal advice, to deliver on the ground support with the development and implementation of the client’s UK market entry strategy.

You can read here how we supported a US healthcare provider to create a new business through a joint venture by providing a collaborative legal and project consultancy solution.

We deliver award-winning sector and specialist advice across all three UK jurisdictions (England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) and the EU.

We are an independent UK law firm that operates across multiple countries and jurisdictions. Through our trusted network of independent law firms, our international trade team provides a seamless legal service across the globe. This flexibility allows our international trade lawyers to collaborate with the right legal provider for our clients in each jurisdiction.

Areas of focus

Our international trade team can assist with all business issues connected to inward investment and cross-border trade. Our international trade expertise includes the following:

  • UK market entry strategy and business planning.
  • Company incorporation, company secretarial support, book-keeping and accounts.
  • Assisting with opening bank accounts and sourcing finance.
  • Corporate and tax structures.
  • Formation of joint ventures and partnerships.
  • Recruitment, HR, payroll, IT support and cyber security.
  • Trade contracts including protections regarding tariff changes, restrictions on export/import and Brexit effects.
  • Implications of international trade bans and restrictions with nations/individuals.
  • Business immigration including helping businesses with EU citizen immigration requirements.
  • Cross-border financial services and passporting.
  • The effects of tariff changes and compliance with international tax obligations (including on trusts).
  • Cross-border business structuring for additional regulation/border checks e.g. at ports.
  • Competition, state aid and Anti-trust issues arising from international investment.
  • Implications of national trade agreements including future UK/third party free trade agreement and WTO most-favoured nation status.
  • Trade finance under English law for UK, EU or overseas lenders or traders.
  • International dispute resolution including international arbitration and choice of jurisdiction/courts.
  • Trade disputes including sector based disputes concerning tariff breaches.
  • Regulatory requirements for imports/exports including consumer law, product liability, obtaining approvals and engagement with regulators.
  • Food supply, import and export issues including challenges facing agricultural businesses.
  • Supply chain and country of origin implications for registration, labelling and taxation.
  • Cross-border M&A involving inward investment or overseas acquisition.
  • International trade in nuclear goods and services including the role of nuclear co-operation agreements, export controls, nuclear safeguards, nuclear liability and more general obligations under international, European and UK nuclear law.
Experience

Advising a US bank on the provision of significant trade finance facilities for the import of various foods stuffs to multiple West African countries.

Acting for an international bank on the establishment of a consumer finance business in Thailand and compliance with the various regulatory requirements.

Advising National Express Group on its tenders to run public transport services in several projects across the Middle East. The competitions are mainly for bus concessions and include a mixture of operation, maintenance, infrastructure and construction contracts. We have advised on all areas of these projects, from the completion of compliant bids and negotiations with public authorities in each country, to the ongoing running of services following successful bids. We co-ordinated matters across Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar.

Co-ordinating ongoing work for Harrods in all 10 countries in South America working with local attorneys in each country.

Co-ordinating employment advice for Thomson Reuters across 19 jurisdictions for an IT outsourcing project including obtaining advice as to whether TUPE/ARD would apply in each relevant jurisdiction and planning for potential transfers. The matter spanned Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Co-ordinating advice for a UK-based premium soft drinks manufacturer on labelling and food regulatory requirements across the EU and the USA and working with local attorneys.

Acting for an international soft drinks bottler business on international arbitrations arising out of multi-jurisdictional contracts governed by English law.

Advising a significant Republic of Ireland dairy processor on English law food regulatory issues and subsequent criminal proceedings arising out of malicious contamination of products.

Acting for a global consortium in a successful appeal against a decision of the European Chemicals Agency on the testing obligations for its chemical products.

Meet the team
Paul Browne

Paul Browne Partner

  • Head of Real Estate
  • Head of International Trade
  • Nuclear
Ian Tucker

Ian Tucker Partner

  • Dispute Resolution
  • Transport
  • Procurement and State Aid
Jeremy Dickerson

Jeremy Dickerson Partner

  • Head of International 
  • Head of Intellectual Property, Media and Sport
  • Defamation and Reputation Management
John Houlden

John Houlden Partner

  • Head of Public Sector
  • Head of Procurement and State Aid
  • Projects
Ian Salter

Ian Salter Partner

  • Head of Nuclear
  • Projects
  • Environment
Sian Edmunds

Sian Edmunds Partner

  • Head of Food and Drink
  • Food and Farming
  • Estates and Land
  • Product Liability
Richard Leeming

Richard Leeming Partner

  • Banking and Trade Finance
  • Derivatives, Debt Capital Markets and Securitisations
  • Real Estate Finance
Dominic Davis

Dominic Davis Partner

  • Corporate
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Joint Ventures
Beatrice Puoti

Beatrice Puoti Partner

  • Head of Private Wealth
  • Private Client Services
  • International Tax and Trust
Simon-Tilling--250px x 250px 72dpi - web

Simon Tilling Partner

  • Head of Environment
  • REACH, Chemicals and Product Stewardship
  • Energy, Power and Utilities

The impact of Brexit

Subscribe to news and insight

Key contact

Paul Browne

Paul Browne Partner

  • Head of Real Estate
  • Head of International Trade
  • Nuclear

A guide to doing business in the UK

International

We help international clients expand into the UK and expand from the UK overseas.
Find out more