Businesses involved in cross-border trade and investment face numerous contractual concerns and regulatory compliance requirements. Overcoming the hurdles requires counsel skilled in trade negotiations and familiar with the matrix of rules and regulations. Our International Trade group includes lawyers who develop strategies for regulatory compliance while enabling clients to expand their markets and optimize their business opportunities.

Clients rely on Blakes because of our wide-ranging experience advising businesses and governments on international trade relations and negotiations, including bilateral, multilateral and multinational agreements and treaties. Foreign and domestic businesses engaged in trade seek our guidance on the negotiation, interpretation and application of international trade agreements, including World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other agreements to which Canada is a party.

Blakes lawyers have extensive experience with the various treaties and agreements that regulate the global marketplace, including WTO agreements and protocols. Working with other specialty groups within the Firm, we advise on WTO and NAFTA dispute avoidance strategies and assist with dispute resolution, including arbitrations under NAFTA and bilateral investment treaties.

Our lawyers negotiate international trade arrangements, offer guidance on public policy considerations, assure compliance with customs restriction, address economic sanctions and advise on import and export controls as well as anti-boycott and anti-corruption issues. We also provide counsel on securing international intellectual property protection, offer security reviews of foreign investment and trade agreements, and use trade policy to resolve specific problems.

Representative Matters

  • Advised one of the world's largest retail companies on the negotiation of the Canada-India bilateral investment treaty.
  • Examined the alternative models that could be employed for negotiating investment and service provisions in the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), and in particular, assessed the benefits and disadvantages of a NAFTA model compared to other models recently adopted by the EU.
  • Provided an assessment to a leading energy producer on whether two pieces of mining legislation implicate the expropriation provisions of the NAFTA.
  • Advised the second-largest producer of distilled spirits and wines on the WTO and NAFTA consistency of a North American government’s alcoholic beverages distribution and pricing practices and intellectual property protection of “geographic indications.”
  • Provided a legal opinion to a North American government on the consistency of supply management programs regulating various agriculture and agri-food commodities (chicken, dairy, meat) in the light of several WTO decisions and rulings.


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Associate | Vancouver
Vancouver: 604-631-5255
Areas of Expertise: Europe, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Construction Dispute Resolution, Corporate Litigation, International Trade, Energy Litigation, International Trade Agreements & Compliance, Arbitration
Partner | Toronto
Toronto: 416-863-4306
Areas of Expertise: International Trade, Customs & Import Controls, Sanctions & Export Controls, Sales & Commodity Taxes, Drones, International Trade Agreements & Compliance, Trade Litigation
Partner | Vancouver
Vancouver: 604-631-4220
Areas of Expertise: Anti-Money Laundering, Constitutional & Charter of Rights, Construction, Corporate Litigation, Energy, Environmental, International Trade, Media & Defamation, Mining, Mining Lending, Mining Streaming & Royalties, Mining Litigation & Dispute Resolution, LNG, Aboriginal, Public & Political Law, Financial Services Regulatory, Environmental Assessments & Approvals, Anti-Corruption & Bribery, Customs & Import Controls, International Trade Agreements & Compliance, Investment Treaty Arbitration, Sanctions & Export Controls, Trade Litigation, Construction Dispute Resolution
Partner | Toronto
Toronto: 416-863-3327
Areas of Expertise: Competition & Antitrust, Foreign Investment, International Trade, China, Abuse of Dominance & Reviewable Matters, Criminal Investigations & Prosecutions, Competition Law Compliance, SIR/E-Discovery, Merger Review & Control, Misleading Advertising, Pension Funds, Investment Funds, Investment Vehicles, International Trade Agreements & Compliance
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