International Trade and Investment

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A truly international perspective

Understanding legal differences between countries is one of the most significant challenges of operating globally. 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, and 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.

We have a wide network of international contacts, affording us access to expertise all over the globe, and 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 policymaking and dispute resolution.
  • 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.

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. Our 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 latest Guide to Investing in New Zealand provides a high-level summary of, and expert insights on, key laws that those seeking to invest or do business in New Zealand should be aware of. This includes New Zealand's overseas investment regime, business structures, competition law, taxation, employment law, and other key laws and regulations impacting businesses in New Zealand. Access the Guide here.

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

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, 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 several 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.
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