King & Spalding's international trade group is the practice of choice for leading food, agriculture, and beverage industry clients needing assistance with the movement of goods across borders, the provision of services, and the protection of investments around the world.
Our team – ranked by Chambers among the best international trade practices globally, in Europe and in the U.S. – combines in-depth substantive knowledge of regulations in the food and beverage industries with expertise in the mandate and operations of the World Trade Organization, the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization, the World Customs Organization, the World Health Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and related international organizations, including NGO stakeholders.
We work closely with our colleagues who have expertise in regulatory, taxation, government investigations, public policy, and other areas of concern to our food and beverage clients. We regularly provide advice and help resolve trade issues relating to:
- domestic regulatory requirements and trade-related restrictions
- sanitary and phytosanitary border measures
- import licensing
- customs classification
- customs valuation
- the application of existing and pending free-trade agreements (e.g., NAFTA, TPP, T-TIP), including rules of origin
- labeling, including country-of-origin determination
In addition, we assist our food and beverage industry clients by:
- ensuring fair market access through the leveraging of international trade and investment rules to challenge tax discrimination, improperly assessed import duties, distribution restrictions, and state trading distortions;
- addressing the effects of international standards and regulations involving advertising, labeling, nutrition, contaminants, additives, veterinary drugs, and pesticides;
- using the international trade rules of the WTO and stand-alone free trade agreements to engage with governments on unduly restrictive product, labeling, and packaging requirements; and
- advising on key international regulatory developments/trends and shaping policy, including by working directly with government agencies across six continents (e.g., the United States Trade Representative, U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. State Department and its Embassies, the European Commission and other EU agencies and EU Member governments).
We currently are involved in a number of disputes pending before the World Trade Organization involving regulatory barriers to trade, which are likely to set a precedent for food and beverage regulation worldwide.