Trade & Customs

Trade lawyers par excellence

Van Bael & Bellis has the largest and most expert team of lawyers in Brussels handling EU and WTO trade law, with more than 30 years of experience in the field.

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  • "Clearly the leading firm in the field of trade remedies in Brussels"

    Chambers Global

Latest news

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    • 16/05/2019
    • News

    Pablo Muñiz speaks on customs compliance in the European Union in an interview published online

    Van Bael & Bellis customs partner Pablo Muñiz speaks with Alex Terry of NielsonSmith in an interview recently published online on customs compliance in the European Union. In the interview, Pablo touches upon various topics in the customs sphere, including: low-value consignments and undervaluation in relation to e-commerce, the impact of increased, aggressive customs enforcement on companies, the additional risks posed by trade wars, the harmonisation of customs infringements and penalties, how Brexit has brought the seriousness of customs issues to the fore, the significance of Binding Valuation Rulings and the importance of trade participation in the decision-making process. The interview is available here.

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    • 15/05/2019
    • News

    Pei Fang Lo speaks at seminars in Taiwan on Taiwanese industries’ response to changes resulting from trade defence measures on electric bicycles from China

    On 6, 7 and 8 May 2019, Van Bael & Bellis senior counsel Pei Fang Lo spoke at three seminars on EU anti-dumping and anti-circumvention investigations: how Taiwanese industries respond to the changes resulting from trade defence measures on electric bicycles originating in China organised by the Chinese National Federation of Industries in the cities of Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taichung in Taiwan. Pei Fang’s presentation offered an introduction to the recent trade defence measures on electric bicycles originating in China, and how Taiwanese industries avoid possible EU investigations by means of trade diversion.

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    • 15/05/2019
    • News

    Isabelle Van Damme is quoted by Law360 on the impact of Opinion 1/17 on the European Commission’s negotiating position in UNCITRAL

    Isabelle was quoted this week in an article published in Law360 on the Court of Justice of the European Union’s Opinion 1/17 regarding CETA. The article, entitled “EU Investor Court Greenlighted, But May Face Rough Road”, discusses the implications of this opinion on the ongoing negotiations in UNCITRAL aimed at reforming investor-State arbitration mechanisms. In her remarks, Isabelle reflected on the impact of Opinion 1/17 on the European Commission’s negotiating position in those UNCITRAL talks as well as in bilateral negotiations.

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Recommendations

  • Commanding international trade practice with a market-leading Brussels team and additional experience in Geneva.

    Chambers Global
  • Van Bael & Bellis is highly regarded, particularly for its expertise in anti-dumping matters although the practice also handles a range of customs and WTO matters.

    Legal 500
  • Difficult to find a team that does as well on both the legal and business sides.

    Chambers Europe
  • Van Bael & Bellis has 'an exceptional amount of experience' and is among the best available in Brussels for trade work.

    Legal 500

Team focus

With 9 partners, 2 counsel and 18 associates, Van Bael & Bellis is the EU law firm with the largest team of specialised trade lawyers.

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Recent publications

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    • 07/05/2019
    • Articles

    CJEU rules that CETA ISDS mechanism is compatible with EU law

    On 30 April 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decided in Opinion 1/17 that the chapter on investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada, of one part, and the European Union and its Member States, of the other part (CETA) is compatible with EU primary law. On 29 January 2019, Advocate General Bot had already reached the same conclusion (for an analysis, see here). Opinion 1/17 removes a significant obstacle to the ratification of CETA by the EU Member States and the ratification of investment protection agreements with, for example, Singapore and Vietnam, which contain similar chapters on ISDS. The Opinion also significantly boosts the European Union negotiating position in the ongoing United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) negotiations on ISDS reform. At the same time, the Opinion might, to some extent, tie the hands of the European Union in negotiating in that forum.

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    • 30/01/2019
    • Articles

    Opinion 1/17 on CETA: Advocate General Bot finds that the investment court system in CETA is compatible with EU law

    On 29 January 2019, Advocate General Bot delivered his long-awaited Opinion (the Opinion) on whether the investment court system (ICS) in Chapter Eight, Section F, of the European Union-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is compatible with European Union (EU) law, in particular with the autonomy of the EU legal order and fundamental rights. The next step in the proceedings before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), initiated by Belgium following complications in its ratification process, is for the CJEU to deliver its Opinion on the same question. This client alert discusses the key elements of the Opinion and the implications of these CJEU proceedings on the European Union’s common commercial policy and its policy of advocating reform of existing investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) and the establishment of a multilateral investment court (MIC).

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    • 23/11/2018
    • Articles

    Brexit: trade implications of the draft withdrawal agreement and the draft declaration on the future

    The draft declaration on the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, which was published on 22 November 2018, offers for the first time some insight into the legal framework that is likely to govern trade between the United Kingdom and the European Union after the transition period comes to an end. Van Bael & Bellis has prepared a brief note providing an overview of the trade implications and the timeline of the successive legal frameworks that are envisaged by the draft withdrawal agreement and the draft declaration on the future relationship.

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