Today, non-tariff market access barriers have replaced quotas and customs duties as the primary means of countries to protect domestic industries. These non-tariff market access restrictions typically consist of regulatory requirements that, while formally applying to domestic and imported products alike, factually discriminate against imported products. They also include discriminatory tax treatments, local content requirements, or labeling rules. Particularly harmful is the failure of certain countries to respect and protect IP rights, or worse, to require companies operating in the country to transfer their IP rights. These non-tariff trade barriers typically violate obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements or, as the case may be, bilateral Free Trade Agreements.
The Baker Botts European Trade Practice has experience in advising EU companies to overcome market access barriers in third countries and foreign companies to fight market access restrictions resulting from EU or Member States regulation. Together with colleagues in the Washington office, we can pursue a coordinated approach on both sides of the Atlantic, which is of critical importance in high-stakes third country market access cases. Additionally, we have experience in forming and managing industry coalitions. Moreover, we can draw on our offices in Russia, the Middle East, China and Brazil in relation to market access issues involving these regions.
We are currently following very closely the negotiations between the EU and the U.S. on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement, and advise clients on the opportunities this agreement will offer.