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Trade Law Definition
Trade law is a practice area where knowledge of many specific legal fields comes into play. Various regulations affecting trade can be found in civil law, international law, public procurement, administrative, antitrust, licensing, and consumer protection legislation. Over the years, trade law has become a very important practice area for most Russian law firms and is sometimes seen as a spin-off of the general commercial practice.
Current developments in this area are largely dominated by several trends. One very important aspect is the ongoing sanctions imposed by Western countries against Russia and the so called counter-sanctions prohibiting import to Russia of several categories of goods. In the past two years, the foreign trade activity has naturally decreased and the level of intra-Russian and Eurasian trade activity, on the contrary, has gained momentum. The sanctions issues have almost completely replaced the euphoria about Russia joining the WTO. In practice, we have not yet seen much work relating to the WTO issues. Neither has there been a substantial amount of work relating to the Eurasian Economic Union.
On the intra-Russian level, the continuing sophistication of the antitrust legislation has led to lifting barriers to access some of those markets that have been considered as closed or next to being closed. However, public procurement policies, which still account for more than half of total Russian trade, remain an area that needs further tuning. Retail trade has been on the radar of the Russian antitrust authorities and the compromise between the producers and retailers seems to be quite stable.
There seems to be no particular dominance in this field of either Russian or international law firms with quite a few players on both sides having experienced practice groups. Soft law and self-regulation becomes more and more important but the bulk of the trade legislation still remains administrative in its sense.
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