International trade and investment

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Conducting business across borders can trigger obligations you may never have anticipated. Luckily, we have.

International business is governed by a complex legal, regulatory, and political environment. The way businesses and governments interpret and influence this environment is crucial to their ongoing economic success. Our market leading, multi-lingual team can help you to navigate the rules of global business and achieve your international ambitions.

We advise on all rules governing the movement of goods, services, and capital across the New Zealand border. This includes:

  • New Zealand market access and regulatory requirements
  • Inwards investment, including Overseas Investment Office (OIO) approvals
  • Customs and excise rules and procedures
  • Sanctions, anti-bribery and corruption
  • Anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations
  • Export controls
  • International supply chain risk management, including modern slavery and ethical sourcing
  • Bilateral trade and investment agreements, negotiations and disputes
  • World Trade Organisation agreements, negotiations, and disputes
  • International commercial disputes resolution, including cross border litigation and international arbitration
  • Trade policy

We assist our clients with all their international trade-related queries, which range from requests for regulatory compliance, law reform and lobbying advice through to requests for representation in regulatory investigations, public inquiries, and international disputes. We have a strong track record of success as advocates and are recognised for Trade Law and Investment Law by Chambers Asia-Pacific and The Best Lawyers™ in New Zealand. In 2023, practice head Sarah Salmond was named Asia Pacific International Trade Lawyer of the Year at the Women in Business Awards Asia Pacific.

Recognised experts in their field, partners and staff of our firm sit on the Boards of the New Zealand International Business Forum, the American Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand and the New Zealand China Council. 

We also regularly present lectures and seminars on international trade and investment-related issues. We have a wide network of domestic and international contacts, affording us access to expertise and insights all over the globe.

Recent highlights
Sanctions advice, investigations, mediations, and litigation

Advising banks, traders, investors, insurers, and freight companies on export controls and sanctions-related matters (and notably those relating to Russia, Iran, China, Cuba, Myanmar, North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela). Also representing clients in contentious sanctions matters including Banking Ombudsman Scheme disputes, Human Rights Commission mediations, investigations conducted by the United Nations and the New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States governments, and litigation (including representing the Respondent in Targa Capital Limited v Westpac New Zealand Limited [2023] NZHC 230 and the Defendant in New Zealand Customs Service v Pacific Aerospace Ltd [2018] NZDC 5034). 

Regulatory advice, approvals, and investigations

Advising clients on the regulatory requirements applicable to manufacturers, traders and retailers of various food products, forestry products, pharmaceuticals, medicines and medical devices, drones, hazardous goods, fuels, IT and radio equipment. Also advising on the regulatory requirements applicable to providers of sea, air and land transportation and freight services. Assisting clients to obtain regulatory approvals, including for an additive, a body scanner and an e-bike rental service. Also assisting clients to participate in regulatory investigations conducted by various New Zealand Government departments.

Anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations

Representing manufacturers, exporters, importers and retailers in more than 20 anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations conducted by the New Zealand, European Union, and United States governments. Also advising clients on related judicial review proceedings. Most recently assisted Lamb Weston and Lamb Weston Meijer to secure the successful termination of New Zealand’s dumping investigation into frozen potato fries and wedges from Belgium and the Netherlands and Roof Tile Group to secure the temporary suspension of anti-dumping duties on aluminium-zinc coated steel from the Republic of Korea.

Customs and excise advice and investigations

Advising traders and trade facilitators on complex customs and excise matters and representing them in contentious cases before the Customs Service, the Ministry for Primary Industries, and the Environmental Protection Authority. Recently advised a freight forwarder on the potential implications of breaching rules governing the importation of fire extinguishers containing an ozone depleting substance, without the necessary licence. Conducted an internal investigation, drafted a voluntary disclosure to the Customs Service and the Environmental Protection Authority, and settled the matter with the Government without penalty. 

Government lobbying and disputes

Securing favourable law and policy reforms for clients. Secured passage of an Amendment Order permitting hazardous waste exports to the United States. Also provided wide-ranging legal, technical, and strategic advice to a telecommunications company seeking Government approval to participate in the development of New Zealand’s 5G network. 

International treaty negotiations, interpretation, and disputes

Advising the United Kingdom Department for International Trade on the UK-New Zealand free trade agreement negotiations and the UK’s negotiations to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. These ongoing appointments are for three years each and resulted from two separate competitive tender processes.

Acquisition of Asaleo Care by Essity

Advising leading global hygiene and health company, Essity, on the New Zealand aspects of its acquisition (via scheme of arrangement) of ASX listed Asaleo Care, valued at AUD788 million. Included advising on the OIO approval process, given the significant business presence of the Asaleo Group in New Zealand.