International Trade > International Trade Policy

The international trade policy practice at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP operates at the intersection of trade law and public policy to overcome the challenges and exploit the opportunities present in the increasingly complex and fiercely competitive global marketplace. Lawyers and advisors from our preeminent international trade and public law and policy practices collaborate to provide legal and policy advice, as well as foreign and domestic government affairs advocacy, to clients negotiating the maze of global, regional and bilateral rules of commerce and investment. We leverage Akin Gump’s resources, including one of the largest and most successful lobbying practices in the field and strong international deal-making and litigation capacity, to provide effective representation for businesses, trade associations, nongovernmental organizations and governments.

Global Policy Advice and Crisis Management

Our team has extensive experience advising multinational corporations attempting to break into new markets how best to operate freely in other countries, lift onerous or discriminatory foreign regulatory burdens or strengthen ties to foreign leaders. We employ diplomatic and political tactics—including informed application of international agreements and treaties—to achieve business objectives. Our team has helped companies with regard to elimination of unfair foreign tariffs, investment restrictions, misuse of intellectual property laws and production requirements not grounded in sound science. We help clients monitor issues in multiple markets and assist them in managing international crises that can involve a mix of legal, political, policy and public relations issues.

Strategic Advocacy with U.S. and Foreign Governments

We work with our clients, including companies and sovereign governments to create and implement effective, comprehensive advocacy strategies that will provide the best opportunity for success. We have successfully lobbied before the U.S. Congress and other agencies for domestic legislation and policy with an international focus, related to issues such as tax and tariffs, free trade agreements, customs matters and homeland security. We also have experience engaging foreign governments on similar issues for clients through Akin Gump’s overseas offices in Moscow, Abu Dhabi, Geneva, Beijing and Hong Kong, and in Washington, D.C. via other nations’ diplomatic representatives.

Negotiation and Interpretation of Trade and Investment Agreements

We have decades of experience negotiating and interpreting international agreements, such as free trade agreements, sectoral initiatives, bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and United Nations and World Trade Organization agreements. We have successfully guided clients through numerous complex bilateral and multilateral negotiations. Our team has the ability to provide in-depth coverage for the toughest law and policy matters and the knowledge to cover the abundance of policy issues affecting international business. Whether negotiating on behalf of a foreign government or expanding market access opportunities for a company’s product or service, we work closely with our clients to develop a customized approach that efficiently addresses their needs.

Customs and Tariff Matters

Our lawyers adeptly advise clients with respect to import and export matters under the jurisdiction of government agencies such as Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Department of Commerce, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). By conducting comprehensive customs reports, the international trade policy practice has been able to save our clients millions of dollars in tariff relief through improvement of the company’s import compliance program and supply chain management, utilization of trade preference programs and alternative sourcing options, and legislative advocacy and administrative means.

Market Access, Competitiveness and Taxation Issues

We are well positioned to assist clients on matters vital to international business, including advice related to complying with domestic and foreign systems of taxation and regulatory regimes, planning international investments, navigating trade barriers and managing discriminatory or needlessly burdensome foreign regulations. We help multinational companies and large financial houses address the foreign policy and political challenges they face, such as dealing with deficient intellectual property protections in Bangkok, compulsory licensing in Brasilia or the double taxation of U.S. expatriates in Seoul.