Overseas exporters are just as susceptible to these pressures as local exporters.

With expertise across trade, international financing and investment, commercial, property, workforce and migration, we consider your specific situation from all viewpoints and provide you with holistic procedural and legal advice.

We assist both public and private sectors including importers, exporters, licensed customs brokers, freight forwarders, shippers, marine insurers and trade financiers, government agencies and other industry parties.

International trade

Government negotiations on multilateral, regional or bilateral trade agreements can dramatically impact the operating environment for import/export clients, as well as logistics services. Companies need to ensure they stay compliant with trade agreements and sanctions and ensure they are conducting their business in accordance with the laws of the countries or regions they are trading in.

It is wise to have a cyclical review of your business operations to ensure you are vigilant, informed and prepared.

We assist our clients throughout their full export/import journey, from major international companies with long histories in shipping and logistics through to manufacturers who are exploring export markets for the first time.

We can help you with:

  • diligence on overseas markets and counterparties
  • the interpretation and use of Free Trade Agreements (FTA)
  • trade financing options
  • commodity and freight contracts
  • international sale distribution agreements
  • dispute resolution and arbitration
  • drafting and reviewing terms and conditions of trade for all parties in the supply chain

Customs and tariffs

Agency inquiries and investigations can be extremely disruptive and costly to business operations; they can result in goods sitting on the dock, while lengthy proceedings are held. And no wonder: customs classifications are complex and ever-evolving and FTAs are often difficult to interpret and use

We provide public and private businesses with commercial and forward-thinking advice by ensuring they are correctly registering and optimising their customs product classifications.

Our astute legal knowledge of current local and global tariffs, as well as an understanding of how ear-marked changes will affect each individual client’s operations, provides our clients with the security of knowing they are comprehensively managing their trading practices.

If unforeseen issues arise, we can help you to defend allegations of breaches and provide corrective strategies to avoid or reduce the impact of penalties.

We have strong working relationships with many government agencies including the Anti-Dumping Commission (ADC), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Department of Home Affairs (DoHA), Australian Border Force (ABF), Office of Transport Security (part of the DoHA) and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR).

Importantly for importers, exporters and others in supply chain management, we have strong working relationships with international border agencies and are highly-experienced in dealing with other countries’ border management practices and controls.

We can help you with:

  • excise and customs duty advice
  • customs valuation of goods
  • tariff classification of goods
  • tariff concession orders (TCOs)
  • anti-dumping inquiries and investigations
  • country of origin disputes
  • customs aspects of transfer pricing arrangements
  • alleged breaches of licence conditions by service providers (such as licensed customs brokers)
  • labelling and licensing requirements
  • use of FTAs

Intellectual property

Whether you are entering into importing/exporting for the first time or adding additional goods or services to an existing product range, it is vital to ensure your intellectual property is protected before conducting any global trade.

We can provide advice when you are developing and commercialising intellectual property, licencing and reselling of software, looking to import a product, brand or service, if you think your intellectual property has been infringed, or if someone else claims that you have infringed their intellectual property rights.

Learn more about our intellectual property services >>

International alliances

We can provide you with access to international legal support through our Lawyers Associated Worldwide (LAW) alliance. Through LAW, we have access to more than 4,000 lawyers globally through a network of independent law firms in nearly 50 countries.

In addition, we have excellent relationships with specific expert customs and trade lawyers and firms across the world.

Industry training

Our experts are regularly requested by Government or industry associations to deliver educational seminars and Continuing Professional Development courses to service providers, and are frequently prolific guest speakers at industry forums internationally. We deliver approximately 30-40 sessions per year.

Please contact us if you would like to attend a seminar or engage our training services.

We are also prolific media commentators who are regularly called upon by radio and print media to provide opinion and updates on customs and trade issues.

Government and industry relations

Our preeminent team are respected amongst local and international trade and customs circles. We are members of a number of advisory boards, trade councils and industry associations including:

  • Director, Export Council of Australia
  • Committee of Management, Food & Beverage Importers Association
  • Victorian Advisory Committee member, Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia
  • Export Council of Australia and Food & Beverage Importers Association Representative, National Committee for Trade Facilitation (established and conducted by the Department of Home Affairs with other border agencies) as well as all advisory groups established under the National Committee on Trade Facilitation
  • Chair of the Private Sector Group constituted by private sector members of the National Committee on Trade Facilitation
  • Food & Beverage Importers Association representative, Air Cargo Advisory Forum (conducted by the Department of Home Affairs)
  • Export Council of Australia representative, Advisory Committee to assist implementation of the Australian Trusted Trade Programme (established by the Australian Border Force)
  • Food & Beverage Importers Association representative, International Trade Remedies Forum (established by the ADC and other government agencies) and all its sub-committees
  • Member, Advisory Committee to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s former Reference on ‘Civil and Administrative Penalties’
  • Deputy Chair, International Trade and Business Committee of the International Law Section of the Law Council of Australia
  • Member of Law Council International Law and Business Law Committees
  • Member, Stakeholder Reference Group established to co-develop the new NZ Customs and Excise Act 2018


We have used Rigby Cooke for all our legal needs. The service is great and when we have had major commercial issues to deal with they are very responsive.

Jody Freestone, general manager of Freestone’s Transport