Find Lawyers in Vancouver, British Columbia for International Trade and Finance Law

Practice Area Overview

International trade law is central to the workings of modern, interdependent global economies and the companies and businesses that make them thrive. Supply chains crossing several countries and investments in multiple jurisdictions is the normal course for business. Fluidity in business transactions is a hallmark of successfully taking advantage of these supply links. Yet companies operating in this increasingly integrated economy confront the friction of complex regulatory trade barriers including customs duties (or tariffs) and the highly specialized rules that determine the amount owed on imported merchandise and goods; measures such as import or export bans or quotas that restrict quantities into and out of markets; or ‘unfair’ practices, such as export subsidies and the dumping of products at below cost to gain market share. To reduce international regulatory friction, almost all countries participate in regional and multilateral trade agreements such as the NAFTA and the World Trade Organization, and bilateral investment agreements with sophisticated dispute settlement procedures that currently number in the thousands. In the 21st century, international trade agreements and the legal obligations they create, apply to all manner of domestic regulation that directly or indirectly affect the import, export, and sale of goods and technology, foreign direct investment, and the ability of companies to move people across borders to provide services to customers. Added to this layer of international trade regulation are foreign policy decisions implemented through domestic laws affecting international transactions such as economic sanctions and export control laws that are intended to prohibit every dimension of international trade and investment with certain countries, or deeply regulate the purchase, sale and export of certain sensitive technologies and goods, particularly in the military and defence industries. Violation of any of these laws can have serious civil and criminal consequences. Finally, governments provide a wide range of financing programs such as grants, loans, export credit, insurance guarantees, or other financial assistance, to support companies to export to new markets and provide the risk insurance some companies need as a condition of growing revenue from international trade in otherwise high credit risk countries.

It is critical to companies wanting to build their success by tapping into global supply chains and foreign investment opportunities to fully understand the applicable international trade regulations. International trade agreements can be a critical means to achieve strategic business objectives and realize market opportunities. Failure to fully understand how sanctions apply to global supply chains and investments may irrevocably hurt a company’s reputation. In consequence, international trade law, and what is required to transact business with foreign suppliers, buyers, and investors may be a key determinant in the success or failure of companies operating in a hyper-competitive global business environment.
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