International Trade and Investment

Home Expertise International Trade and Investment

A truly international perspective

Crossing borders, time zones, jurisdictions – today’s companies have to be prepared to transact anytime, anywhere in the global economy. From traditional import-export businesses, to new firms seeking to carve their place in a foreign country, the increasingly complex and interconnected international marketplace is constantly drawing new industries into its web.

Operating globally presents a variety of challenges to firms, and understanding legal differences between countries is one of the most significant of these. We pride ourselves on the breadth of our international experience, bringing together lawyers who have worked all over the world. It’s this real world experience that clients need when they are pursuing international trade or investment, when foreign firms seek to invest in New Zealand and when facing the challenges of bribery and corruption, particularly in emerging economies.

We are across all of the issues firms face when they operate internationally: financial transactions, corporate operations, international mergers, and agricultural exports, to name just a few.

International Trade and Investment

Legal issues in international trade are often complex, as jurisdictional differences and various regulatory frameworks present challenges for businesses. We provide comprehensive regulatory services, which include advising on customs and excise matters, anti-dumping and anti-subsidy proceedings, export controls and sanctions compliance and investigations, and foreign investment controls. We also advise on the opportunities, constraints and remedies presented by World Trade Organisation Agreements and bilateral trade and investment treaties.

As well regarded experts in their field, members of the international trade and investment team regularly present lectures and seminars on international trade and investment-related issues. Our articles on these subjects have been published by, FTSE Global Markets, The Financial Times, Global Legal Group, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Thomson Reuters and World Finance.

Through the considerable offshore experience of our team members, we have a wide network of international contacts, affording us access to expertise all over the globe. We are members of a range of relevant associations, including:

  • American Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand
  • Asia Forum
  • Australasian Forum for International Arbitration
  • British New Zealand Business Association
  • Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation of New Zealand
  • Indonesia-New Zealand Council
  • International Bar Association
  • Trans-Tasman Business Circle.

Our experience includes:

  • Advising Fonterra on its Chinese investment deal with Beingmate including assistance with Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) approvals.
  • Advising traders on complex customs matters and representing them in contentious cases before the Customs Service and Ministry for Primary Industries, and the national enforcement agencies of Belgium, France, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • Representing exporters and importers in Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment anti-dumping investigations targeting imports of stationery from Malaysia, canned peaches from South Africa, diaries from Korea and China, and galvanised wire from Malaysia. Also advising on the Government's proposal to introduce a bounded public interest test into the New Zealand anti-dumping regime.
  • Advising exporters and financial service providers on domestic and international export control and sanctions regimes, and representing them in investigations undertaken by the United Nations and the governments of New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Also representing clients in related judicial proceedings.
  • Advising numerous companies on the implications of New Zealand's international trade and investment treaty obligations for domestic policy-making and dispute resolution.
  • Advising dairy companies on the development of an export licensing regime for designated markets where foreign governments maintain tariff quotas and the implementation of that regime under the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001.
  • Successfully representing a footwear manufacturer in Court of Appeal proceedings challenging value for duty assessments made by the New Zealand Customs Service.
  • Assisting a telecommunications company to overturn New Zealand's prohibition on the export of hazardous waste to the United States for recycling purposes. Advising a domestic bank on funded and unfunded export credit programmes with Denmark and the United Kingdom's export credit agencies.
  • Advising a domestic bank on funded and unfunded export credit programmes with Denmark and the United Kingdom's export credit agencies.

Doing Business in New Zealand

To invest in significant business assets and/or sensitive land in New Zealand, overseas investors require Government approval under the Overseas Investment Act from the Overseas Investment Office. The team understands the challenges presented by the Act and has significant experience in successfully obtaining consent for a wide variety of transactions.

Our corporate advisory and property teams include a number of practitioners with extensive international experience as well as strong domestic knowledge and expertise in regulatory and government related issues. This expertise is invaluable for clients pursuing transactions requiring overseas investment into New Zealand.

Our Overseas Investment Regime Guide (PDF) is designed to be a helpful reference for overseas investors considering investing in New Zealand. Our Investing in New Zealand Guide (PDF) may also be useful for those wishing to invest, providing a high-level summary of key topics that investors should be aware of, including New Zealand's overseas investment, competition law, taxation and employment regimes.

Anyone considering investing in New Zealand should seek advice so please get in touch if you would like to discuss the specific details of your proposed investment.

Our experience includes advising:

  • Beijing Capital Group on its acquisition of Waste Management New Zealand.
  • CKI on its acquisition of Envirowaste from Ironbridge.
  • Woolworths on its acquisition of EziBuy.
  • A listed property trust on the acquisition of Lynn Mall Shopping Centre.
  • Avis on its acquisition of Apex Car Rentals.
  • Pengxin International Group on the acquisition of the Crafar Farms.
  • Lion on its acquisition of Lindauer from Pernod Ricard.
  • Lend Lease on the sale of the Dress Smart property portfolio and Meridian Mall Shopping Centre assets.

Preventing Bribery and Corruption

New Zealand businesses engaging in international trade and investment are often unfamiliar with the bribery and corrupt practices that can surround such business overseas. With broad domestic and international experience, our team understands the global instruments which seek to discourage bribery and corruption. We provide a range of services to help domestic companies consider and deal with any legal pitfalls in the international business.

Russell McVeagh worked as the New Zealand representative in the OECD’s Working Group on Bribery, and participated in the negotiation of the OECD guidelines for multinationals.

It is invaluable global experience like this that allows us to deliver comprehensive services for firms, including putting in place best practice corporate governance regimes, reducing exposure to bribery and corruption, ensuring compliance with laws in this area, and responding in the face of allegations of corruption, bribery or money laundering.

Our experience includes:

  • Undertaking full compliance investigations within New Zealand for US multinationals.
  • Investigating potential breaches of the US FCPA, and liaising with relevant public agencies.
  • Working with an Indonesian team to manage investigations by the Indonesian anti-corruption body and a number of parliamentary committees into allegations of misconduct on the part of a multinational investment bank.
  • Advising state sector entities on public procurement processes and probity requirements.
  • Providing legal support for an intensive three month investigation across three jurisdictions into allegations of the illegal exporting of approximately $30 million of dairy products and advising in relation to MAF and SFO investigations into the same matter.
  • Assisting with internal investigations into breaches of internal processes in the Japanese office of a large multinational.
  • Assisting with internal investigations for a multinational into allegations of improper procurement processes, and responding to a Commerce Commission investigation into that matter.
  • Working closely with relevant Government departments and entities, including through secondment. 
Related People
Related Expertise