Sanctions, trade agreements, trade wars, ESG, tariffs and trade agreements are part of the everyday discussion around customs & international trade. This calls for coordinated tax and legal services, and increased trade regulation underscores the importance of implementing compliance plans to avoid stiff penalties. With markets in constant flux and tax laws rapidly evolving, companies need advisers who can provide local insight and global perspective on customs taxation issues everywhere they operate.

Our Global Customs team works with colleagues across borders and practice areas to advise multinational companies on customs and trade regulation, tax compliance, commercial agreements, trade-related enforcement actions, IP enforcement, consumer protection laws, the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other anti-corruption laws.

Businesses must learn to evolve in an ever-changing legal and tax landscape during a very unstable political climate, while at the same time navigating an increasingly digitized working environment. This subject has evolved from one of compliance to playing a key role in a company's business strategy and value chain.

Our Core Customs & Trade Competencies

To help simplify complexity and avoid enforcement actions, our customs lawyers execute compliance plans, prepare WTO-consistent policies and business strategies, perform compliance audits, conduct compliance and ethics training, and guide clients through investigations and prosecutions.

We also represent clients in disputes brought before the Court of International Trade and other international fair trade bodies. We assist in resolving customs litigation, particularly with regard to clarification of and compliance with applicable tariffs and duties.

International trade matters call for coordinated tax and legal services, and increased trade regulation underscores the importance of implementing compliance plans to avoid stiff penalties. With markets in constant flux and tax laws rapidly evolving, companies need advisers who can provide local insight and global perspective on customs taxation issues everywhere they operate. Baker McKenzie's Customs and Excise practice is a thriving practice that is recognized by clients and peers alike for the following:

Unrivalled track record icon  Unrivalled track record in leading the most complex customs matters. The combination of a strong global practice means that it can undertake global multijurisdictional customs projects in-house, without the need for external counsel. A wide-range of FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 multinationals rely on Baker McKenzie for strategic regional and global supply chain planning, leveraging its experience in leading the most high-profile customs cases over recent years.
Proven ability to represent clients icon Proven ability to represent clients in sensitive global customs and excise investigations. With a wealth of experience in assisting companies with customs and excise investigations, appeals and obtaining favourable rulings from UK HMRC, US CBP, and China GAC, in addition to other customs authorities around the globe, our Customs & Excise practice lawyers help condense highly technical excise rules into a consolidated defence strategy. Our services also include strategies for disclosure, co-ordination of global advice from key jurisdictions such as London, Brussels, China/Hong Kong Mexico and the US; and advice on managing ongoing and future risk, and work seamlessly with our fraud practitioners on matters involving alleged customs fraud.
Ahead of the curve icon Ahead of the curve on customs and excise advice in the context of trade disruption and geopolitical risks (Post-Brexit, Russian Sanctions, US-China/EU Trade Wars). An understanding of customs and excise rules has become critical in the context of the current business landscape.
unmatched international network icon An unmatched international network of customs, trade, WTO and tax lawyers. In addition to customs matters, we work across all areas of international trade law and provide clients a coordinated global approach to Customs and indirect tax matters through our extensive global network of offices. and We offer unrivalled knowledge and on-the-ground experience of tackling customs, excise and wider international trade issues with over 140 experienced lawyers focusing on customs across 74 offices in 45 countries.
Trusted advisor icon Trusted advisor to Government bodies. In January 2021, Baker McKenzie were one of 15 firms selected to join the UK Government's first Post-Brexit trade panel to advise on WTO and trade agreement disputes with other member states. Strong customs credentials, along with a market-leading trade and WTO offering, positions Baker McKenzie as a natural choice to advise the UK government on its post-Brexit trade strategy moving forward.

Our wide range of assistance was built from combining the in-depth know-how of our technical experts and the practical expertise acquired from supporting our clients across all industries.

Our services are built around 7 core competencies designed to answer the needs of each of our clients and any company involved in trade. We will always our colleagues from other practices (i.e. VAT, M&A, Corporate) whenever their experience will bring you and your business value.


Customs & International Trade

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Customs & International Trade

Customs & International Trade – Efficiency, Optimizations & Challenges

The basis of all Customs & International Trade matters starts with the three pillars

  1. Classification
  2. Origin
  3. Valuation

These core pillars are the basis of trade and are used by companies around the world to determine the customs duties, excise and VAT to be paid as well as any measures that can apply to the transaction. Errors in any of these subjects will lead to compliance risks and border blocks which may import your business.

We will begin by ensuring that you meet all of your compliance obligations to guarantee your business continuity. Our global team of experts will also assess whether your business could benefit from any optimisations or specific customs regimes. By implementing best practices and available simplifications we can help you in reducing your administrative burden and avoid any unnecessary duty payments.

Customs Litigation

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Customs Litigation

Customs Litigation

Our experts will accompany you throughout the lifecycle of Customs litigation matters. From building your case to representing you and your company in Court, our global team of lawyers will be there at every step of the proceedings.

Our Customs litigation support encompasses the following:

  • Investigation and administrative proceedings
  • Audits
  • Criminal defense in Customs law
  • Other

Excise & Energy Taxes

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Excise and Energy Taxes

Excises & Energy Taxes

Navigating the rules and regulations relating to energy and excise taxes can be quite difficult and requires extensive knowledge and know-how.

While most of the concerned procures are regulated at EU level: alcoholic beverages, manufactured tobacco and energy products, there is a need for local expertise as well. For example, coffee and non-alcoholic drinks are additional products that are subject to national excise duties.

Our global team is present in each market where these taxes are applied and we can support you in making strategic analyses regarding the impact of excuse on your business. Moreover, we can also accompany you and your business in terms of obtaining the requires excise authorizations and licenses.

Baker is equipped to provide you with the best advice or compliance support concerning excise authorizations and licenses based on long and outstanding expertise in this field.

ESG & Trade

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ESG and Trade

ESG & Trade

CBAM, Forced Labor, Deforestation, Plastic Tax, what do all of these subjects have in common? They are enforced by Customs authorities around the world. Even though Customs may be the first line of defense, these matters are not all Customs or Trade related. However, you and your business need to ensure that your customs and trade stakeholders understand the key role they play in this area.

Baker McKenzie can support you via a comprehensive service offering in relation to your obligations under the various Regulations, covering all necessary advice and assistance from a legal, customs, technical, and strategic perspective.

We will be a one-stop-shop for all your ESG needs. To cover all required legal and technical expertise, we, as Baker McKenzie, have teamed up with technical experts highly experienced in each of these fields. Moreover, we will also liaise with counsels in other applicable jurisdictions, either via our own network of Baker McKenzie offices or, where required, using local counsels to ensure that we meet all of your needs.

Customs Trade & Export Controls

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Customs, Trade and Export Control

Exploring the crossroads between Customs, Trade & Export Control

Most countries impose legal control on the export of goods from their jurisdictions while international trade agreements often include additional import, export and trade regulations that companies must comply with. Failing to observe export control laws and international sanctions can have severe consequences for companies including loss of export privileges, reputational damage, criminal and civil fines, and even imprisonment.

Our International Commercial & Trade lawyers help clients keep up with rapidly changing, often conflicting import, export and trade regulations that impact cross-border trade transactions and activities. Our areas of expertise include export controls, export clearance provisions, anti-boycott controls, outbound trade compliance, VAT/indirect taxes, product safety, strategic sourcing, supply chain security and trade remedies.

Trade Strategy and Trade Governance

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Trade Strategy and Trade Governance

Trade Strategy & Trade Governance

The constant developments in the world of Customs and Trade has brought the discussion around this topic to the C-suite. Originally perceived as a compliance function, it is now almost a pre-requisite for companies to have a substantial and sustainable compliance program allowing you to operate efficiently on a global scale.

By implementing a strong Trade Strategy and Governance program, you will be able to navigate and tackle the challenges related to Customs, Sanctions, Excise, Export Controls, and ESG related compliance activities.

Trade Cockpit Tool

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BM Trade Cockpit

Trade Cockpit Tool

Baker McKenzie's Trade Cockpit Tool is a data management tool which is designed to allow you to better understand your global (and local) customs footprint. Our solution allows all business units (tax, legal, trade, supply-chain) personnel to not only understand their trade data but also report to their management/leadership on the company's duty position in various markets.

The Trade Cockpit Tool has been designed to help you in interpreting your trade data in an efficient manner while allowing you to identify any risks and/or opportunities. This tool will allow you to create reporting dashboards assist you in making strategic decisions and prioritize your their trade strategies.

Want to know more about what is happening in the world of customs and international trade? Our blog with more than 100,000 views provides first-hand insights and overview of the latest trends and developments across customs programs, policies and procedures, and trade remedies, including from the WTO and WCO.


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