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International Trade and Commodities

Physical and financial trading in goods and commodities dominates the global economy. However, the complexity of the contractual, regulatory and financial landscape can create pitfalls for the unwary.

We have a team of more than 60 dedicated lawyers around the world, giving us a global perspective when dealing with the diverse contractual, regulatory and financial issues that affect the sector.

The team includes industry lawyers such as the former head of trade finance at a global investment bank, a former General Counsel of a Middle East state oil company and a member of the ICC Consulting Group for the revision of UCP terms.

Our work covers all aspects of physical and financial trading in both hard and soft commodities throughout the supply chain.

We advise banks, financial institutions, traders, brokers, ship owners, insurers, producers and industrial end users on all aspects of physical and financial trading in hard and soft commodities. We also advise traders and other market participants on the acquisition and management of distribution and warehousing assets.

We have a leading litigation and international arbitration practice which is highly rated for its commodities work.

Much of our work derives from key trading centres such as London, Geneva and Hong Kong. We also have offices in the fast growing or emerging economies within Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

Our particular areas of experience include:

Physical trading

  • Advising buyers and sellers on the sale and purchase of goods, including questions of title, quality and payment.
  • Advising charterers, ship-owners, banks, inspection companies and other clients on their international sanctions obligations.
  • Reviewing and revising FOB pro forma spot sale contracts and drafting pro forma CIF, CFR and DAP spot sale contracts.
  • Advising one of the world's largest international oil and gas companies on its tender documentation.
  • Drafting silent confirmation master agreements for a major international bank under a letter of credit arrangements with global commodity houses.

Structured trade finance

  • Advising a major international bank on the structuring and documentation of pre-export financing of soft commodities in South America.
  • Acting for a European state energy company against an international bank and trader in a multi-million dollar litigation over the financing of heavy fuel oil.

M&A, capital raising and distribution of assets

  • Acting on the sale of an European-wide multi-billion dollar downstream business and advising an oil major in Qatar on the establishment of an LNG trading business.
  • Advising a listed Chinese oil company on its 1 billion dollar bid for a Canadian company with oil assets in Eastern Europe.

Hedging and derivatives

  • Advising on the ISDA Master Agreement for EU emissions allowances.
  • Advising on mis-selling/valuation issues relating to FX derivatives used to hedge exchange rate risk under an international supply contract.

Shipping and insurance

  • Acting for a chemicals charterer in a dispute over an explosion aboard an oil tanker during STS operations in Hong Kong.
  • Advising a NYSE listed ship owner on its entry into the LNG market, including reviewing charter parties and financing 8 LNG tankers.

Litigation and international arbitration

  • Arbitrating trade disputes under the major institutional rules about commodities such as stainless steel, iron ore, oil, LNG, coking coal, copper and nickel.
  • Acting for a Middle Eastern gas company on a $billion price revision arbitration arising under a gas sale and supply contract.

Regulatory and environmental

  • Advising a global oil trader on a competition challenge to its terminal interests.
  • Advising on carbon and regulatory issues, including issues such as emission obligations and the purchase of Certified Emission Reduction units.