The World Trade Organisation and trade law demystified

Seminar description

As a result of the UK’s decision to leave the EU, the UK is facing the prospect of negotiating its own trade treaties for the first time in over 40 years. Post-Brexit trade with, and from, the UK, whether directly or in supply chains, will be shaped by complex interlocking issues. These include the WTO and the dynamics of negotiating with its 160 members, the terms of any new free trade agreement between the UK and the EU, the position of the UK and the EU in relation to the EU’s existing free trade agreements with countries such as South Africa, and the impact of any future free trade agreements the UK may independently make with third countries.

Our panel of speakers will consider:
  • What would the "hard Brexit" option of leaving the EU and relying purely on the WTO rules look like?
  • How do free trade agreements work, and what is killing TTIP?
  • As the UK considers approaching third countries/ trading blocs about free trade agreements, what is the correct sequence of events that, legally or practically, it needs to follow?
  • Are tariffs really the main issue? How do rules of origin/ product standards/ mutual recognition affect negotiations?
  • What are the issues businesses should be lobbying the UK government on?
Speakers will be drawn from:

The session will be chaired by Sir Christopher Bellamy QC, Chairman of Linklaters’ global competition practice and former judge at the General Court of the EU.

Matthew Weiniger QC is a partner in Linklaters’ dispute resolution department specialising in international arbitration and public and private international law. He has acted on cases involving all major sectors, but in particular the energy and financial services sector. He also advises on non-contentious matters involving the protection of investments under public international law.

Nicole Kar has practiced European law for the past 15 years with a specialism in competition, energy and utility regulation and is National Practice Head of the UK competition practice. Nicole co-ordinates our Trade practice.

Dr. Lorand Bartels is a Reader at the University of Cambridge and teaches, amongst other things, WTO law and EU trade law. He is the editor of a number of books and journals in this field including the Cambridge International Trade and Economic Law Series. Lorand has worked with the South African Government in relation to its EU FTA negotiations and regularly advises the Commonwealth Secretariat and developing countries on trade law issues.

Stephen Meltzer is an M&A partner in Webber Wentzel, one of South Africa’s largest law firms and Linklaters’ South African alliance law firm. He also heads their International Trade Practice where he represents South African Custom Union Industries, governments and exporters and focuses on all aspects of trade, including trade remedies, customs classification, import/export regulation bilateral, multilateral and regional international agreements and World Trade Organisation law.

Meluleki Nzimande is also a partner in Webber Wentzel and a member of their International Trade Law Unit which has represented various clients, including foreign multinational and South African companies, the South Africa's Minister of Economic Development, Industry Associations and the Southern African Customs Union in matters involving different areas of international trade law. He is listed in the Who's Who Legal for international trade.

Who should attend this seminar?

This session will be of interest to legal and commercial people alike keen to understand better how the WTO works, how free trade agreements work within the confines of the WTO and to begin to consider how trade relations with the EU and the rest of the world might look post Brexit.