Robert MacLean is a partner in our Competition, Trade & EU Regulatory practice and is based in our Brussels office. His particular expertise covers international and EU trade law, customs law and litigation before the European General Court and European Court of Justice.
Currently, he is involved in a large number of the EU trade defence proceedings initiated by the European Commission and acts for the full range of European industries and importers, foreign exporters and end-users. He has defended non-EU exporters as well as pursuing complaints, expiry and interim review requests for trade defence measures before the European Commission. Many of these representations have been high-profile ones and, in some instances, have involved litigation in the European Courts. Recovery of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties paid by EU importers and industrial consumers also is a significant part of his practice and recently he managed to achieve more than a dozen significant duty re-imbursements and refunds for his clients.
In addition, Robert is also is the architect of the firm’s EU customs duty recovery and reduction programme which returns real value to EU importers as well as processors of raw materials and semi-finished goods in the form of the recovery of past customs duty payments and the reduction of customs liabilities for future importing activities. Each year, he returns considerable revenues through this programme to EU enterprises though the cost saving toolbox applied through this programme.
His trade client list spans a wide spectrum of industries ranging from traditional manufacturing to advanced IT-products. He has represented clients located in more than two dozen different countries. One client has been DG-Trade of the European Commission for whom he was project leader for two significant evaluations of EU trade policy. He has been practising international trade and EU law, mainly in Brussels, for more than twenty years, a period including time in the European Commission’s Trade Defence Instruments.
Robert is also recognised as leading international trade practitioner by many of the leading publications ranking international and EU lawyers including Chambers Global
, The Best Lawyers in Belgium, The Legal 500 EMEA
and Who’s Who Legal Global
. He is also regularly asked for his commentary on global trade issues and European trade policy by the international financial media and has been quoted in a number of leading financial media sources including the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, the International Herald Tribune, EU Observer and frequently in the Chinese and Far East Asian media.
Significant EU Anti-Dumping Investigations
Significant EU Anti-Subsidy Investigations
- Tartaric Acid from China (Complaint, Interim and Expiry Review) (2012)
- Air Compressors from China (refunds) (2012)
- Bicycles from China (Expiry Review) (2011)
- Coated Fine Paper from China (2011)
- Mini Air Compressors from China (Scope Review) (2011)
- Continuous Filament Glass Fibre from China (2010)
- Certain Aluminium Road Wheels from China (2010)
- Candles and Tapers from China (2010)
- Sodium Metal from the United States of America (2009)
- Seamless Pipes of Iron and Steel from China (2009)
- Stainless Steel Rolled-Cold Flat Products from China, Korea and Taiwan (2009)
- Iron and Steel Fasteners from China (2008)
- Monosodium Glutamate from China (2007)
- Citric Acid from China (2007)
- Polyvinyl Alcohol from China and Taiwan (2007)
- Air Compressors from China (2007)
- Compact Recordable Disks (CD-Rs) from Malaysia, Hong Kong and China (2006-2007)
- Ethyl Alcohol from Pakistan and Guatemala (2006)
Significant EU Customs Matter Representations
- Coated Fine Paper from China (2011)
- Sodium Metal from the United States of America (2008-2009)
- CD-Rs from India (Initial investigation and interim review) (2006-2007)
Significant Market Access Representations
- Twelve EU duty suspension applications for lubricating products (2012).
- EU duty suspension for compacts for semi-conductor masks (2012)
- EU duty suspension for mini air compressors (2011)
- EU duty suspension for Polyvinyl Alcohol from all countries (2010)
- EU duty suspension for boric acid from the United States of America (2009)
- EU duty suspension applications for mechanical products and certain specialty chemicals (2009-2010)
- Various successful European Binding Tariff Information applications for ammonium nitrate fertilizers, spandex and other industrial products
- Major Review of the EU’s Market Access Strategy for DG-Trade of the European Commission (2006)
- Interim Report on the EU’s Trade Barrier Regulation (TBR) for DG-Trade of the European Commission (2005)
Membership & Affiliations
- Member of the International Bar Association (IBA)