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The law of international trade finds its roots in the post World War II era which saw the establishment of multilateral economic governance institutions. Today this body of law is dealt with by the World Trade Organization (the WTO for short).

This aquis is the basis of the law that we practice and it can be defined in 4 related dimensions:

  • The law of the WTO,
  • Multilateral trade agreements between groups of nations,
  • Bilateral trade agreements between individual countries,
  • Domestic application of international trade law.

In practical terms these spheres would cover the topics in the following key areas:

  • Trade and policy matters with particular emphasis on representation of private sector interests.
  • Trade dispute settlement in the WTO context.
  • Matters under the auspices of South Africa's International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC). These involve initiating or defending actions against dumping (low prices), countervailing measures (subsidies), safeguards (surge of imports) and tariff amendments (increase or reduction in the customs duty or duty rebate provisions).
  • Advice on trade law, the financial aspects of trade law, trade diplomacy and trade policy formulation to the public and private sectors especially in developing countries.
  • Interpretation of and advice on the multilateral trade regime of the WTO, African regional agreements (SACU, SADC, COMESA, the EAC and ECOWAS) and Free or Preferential Trade Agreements (such as AFCFTA, SA-EU TDCA, SACU-EFTA, SACU-MERCOSUR and the EPA configurations), as well a AGOA.

An emerging area of interest for the firm is the interface of so-called ‘Industry 4.0’ technologies with the global trading system. The utilisation of new technologies, where all aspects of business become connected and where mega datasets are generated, creates complex novel legal scenarios not anticipated before. These scenarios require new legal frameworks to guide such eventualities. This includes the trade law landscape where there are cross-cutting legal issues at play in several WTO instruments, including the information technology, intellectual property, services and trade facilitation agreements. Hilton Lambert is uniquely placed to contribute to this emerging legal field based on its existing work under these agreements.