International Trade and Investment

Facilitating trade by enhancing policy, strengthening customs and improving international negotiating skills.

Raising Standards across the Globe

International trade and investment drive economic growth, increase welfare and reduce poverty. From the mid-1980s to 2015, international trade grew by over 7% a year – twice the rate of GDP.

That growth was based not only on a wider acceptance of free market attitudes and falling trade barriers but also on reduced transport costs, geopolitical changes and advances in technology and communications.

Through that period our specialist teams helped over 60 governments address international trade challenges, rationalise their trade and investment policy, support trade negotiations and stimulate competitive export industry.

Now the world is changing again.

The Doha round has all but been abandoned. Trade in services is in ascendency. There are new attitudes to globalisation, national interests and protectionism. Supply chains have become internationalised through mergers and acquisitions, and there is a plethora of new bi-lateral, multilateral and regional trade agreements creating uncertainty and adding complexity and opaqueness to international transactions.

We help governments and businesses turn these challenges into opportunities.

Increasing Opportunities for Governments

We are helping governments ensure their regulatory frameworks keep pace with these changes so minimising trade distortions, tackling unfair trade practices and ensuring their domestic businesses are competing on level playing fields.

We are helping governments across the world to:

  • negotiate and get better deals from trade and investment agreements;
  • identify new and beneficial trading partners;
  • rid their policy environments of anti-export and anti-investment biases;
  • ensure their business environments are conducive to exporting and investment;
  • assess the relative costs and benefits of proposed trade and investment initiatives;
  • optimise their mix of investment and export incentives;
  • clarify, simplify and rationalise administrative and regulatory processes for export and investment;
  • rationalise and improve trade infrastructure to facilitate and develop trade linkages and value chains;
  • ensure their customs authorities are efficient and effective and facilitate trade;
  • improve value for money delivered by their export and investment promotion organisations; and
  • create and manage export processing zones.

Our experience is extensive and diverse. We have:

  • helped governments throughout Europe, Asia and Africa prepare to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and strengthened their trade negotiating capacities;
  • substantially increased competitiveness of domestic industries and increased exports by reducing anti export bias in more than 30 countries in Europe, Former Soviet Union (FSU), Asia, Africa and the Caribbean;
  • helped countries in Africa and Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA) attain substantially improved terms with their dominant customs union partner;
  • supported government negotiations in Africa, Europe Asia and the Caribbean concerned with trade agreements, investment WTO accession and regional integration;
  • sympathetically liberalised barriers to trade and investment to stimulate competitiveness and employment across Asia, Africa and the FSU;
  • designed, managed and supported export and investment authorities in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean;
  • designed, implemented and negotiated a common external tariff for a major customs union;
  • helped Arabian Gulf, Caribbean and African countries identify lucrative new trading partners and negotiate favourable trade terms;
  • strengthened many Customs Authorities across Asia, Africa and MENA, countries introducing modern and efficient methods and processes;
  • helped governments in MENA countries, Africa and Asia negotiate and improve international investment agreements;
  • strengthened government institutions to better manage and regulate trade and investment policy.

Increasing Opportunities for Businesses

Foreign sales are a sine qua non for major business growth but trade issues for businesses can be every bit as complex as those of sovereign governments. Exporters need to identify, assess and enter export markets, find reliable partners and ensure that their overseas investments face minimal risks.

  • We assess the market’s size and growth potential; identify key competitors; conduct due diligence on potential trading partners and weigh up the advantages of foreign free zones.
  • We help minimise the risks and avoid the pitfalls in new markets and guide clients through the maze of regulations: rules of origin, technical standards, foreign ownership restrictions, dispute resolutions, non- tariff barriers, sanitary and phyto (plant)-sanitary regulations, local agency laws, property ownership, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), Customs clearance processes.
  • We gather evidence to support claims for unfair trade practices.

Our successes are legion. We’ve helped Cypriot exporters enter French textile markets, Mauritian exporters enter the Arabian Gulf markets, Caribbean exporters enter the USA market, American companies enter African markets and British companies enter the Gulf States.