Strategic Research Sponsor of the American Bar Association's Section of International Law
Sanjay Notani
Office:
109A Dalamal Towers
Free Press Journal Road
Nariman Point
400 021
City:
Mumbai
Country:
India
Tel:
+91 22 6636 7000

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders: Trade & Customs

Sanjay Notani is a Partner at Economic Laws Practice (ELP). He represents domestic and foreign clients, including businesses, governments and trade associations in administrative and appellate litigation to obtain trade remedial reliefs arising from inbound or outbound duty. He has participated in disputes originating from free trade agreements (FTAs)/regional trade agreements (RTAs). He also provides trade advice on various FTAs/RTAs being negotiated and signed by India including WTO disputes. Besides this, he advises on strategy related to NTB, SPS, TBT, Market Access. Sanjay is listed as a leading lawyer in Who’s Who Legal: Trade & Customs (2015-2017).

DESCRIBE THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? 

Providing commercially viable and sustainable legal and policy solutions to a wide-ranging global clientele requires us to undertake rigorous data analysis, packaged into clear and concise legal presentation, while accounting for various extraneous factors. Since no two cases are the same, every assignment that I have worked on to date has been a learning experience.

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACING PRACTITIONERS IN THE SECTOR IN INDIA? 

Several challenges confront trade and customs practitioners in India. These include adapting to fast-changing regulatory landscapes, dealing with business disruptions and assessing political deliverables. 

Moreover, the application of these to settled legal principles before domestic and international regulators and courts, as well as the WTO, is equally challenging and exciting.

HAVE THERE BEEN ANY SIGNIFICANT REGULATORY CHANGES IN YOUR JURISDICTION OVER THE PAST YEAR THAT HAVE AFFECTED THE PRACTICE OF TRADE AND CUSTOMS LAW? 

Significant regulatory changes – both globally and locally – have impacted Indian businesses. Recent examples include the introduction of GST in India, procedural changes to promote compliance with the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and the revision of export control regulations covering dual-use items.

INDIA IS REPORTEDLY CONSIDERING ANTI-DUMPING DUTIES ON A NUMBER OF CHINESE PRODUCTS. TO WHAT EXTENT DOES THAT REFLECT A GENERAL TENDENCY TOWARDS PROTECTIONISM IN THE GLOBAL MARKET? 

Currently, India runs a trade deficit with China (US$52 billion in 2015–2016, and US$51 billion in 2016–2017). China is a global manufacturing hub; some even refer to it as the “world’s factory”. Given its geographical proximity to India, it is expected that a high volume of products from China will enter Indian markets. Notably, many of these products are used as intermediary inputs while others are finished goods. Many national sectors also rely heavily on imports from China including capital and engineering goods, steel and metals, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and electronics. If domestic industries in India are detrimentally affected by lower prices of imports from China, then they can petition national regulators in India as tested legal remedies are available to them. India has traditionally been an active user of trade remedy instruments. Therefore, it would not be entirely correct to state that the use of trade remedy instruments indicates a protectionist, inward-looking approach.    

WHAT HAS BEEN THE IMPACT OF RECENT CHANGES TO INDIA’S EXPORT CONTROL REGIME WITH REGARD TO DUAL-USE GOODS AND TECHNOLOGIES? 

India is intensifying its efforts to formalise its participation in multilateral export control regimes such as the Australia Group, Nuclear Suppliers Group and Wassenaar Arrangement. It has also classified dual-use items and introduced changes in the procedure and monitoring of their exports. However, much work is still required to monitor cloud computing and encryption standards. India will also need to re-initiate wider outreach programmes to ensure compliance of exports of dual-use goods with the export control and allied regulations.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNGER PRACTITIONERS KEEN TO SPECIALISE IN THIS AREA? 

We deal with issues that are governed by international regulations. This often requires us to balance domestic and bilateral concerns to arrive at a solution that is acceptable to all. For this reason, trade and customs lawyers must constantly remain mindful of updates on issues of law, economics and politics. After all, lawyers are at the forefront of business and policy forces that shape the world, which remain disruptive at all times.

Biography:

Who's Who Legal Trade & Customs: Lawyers

Sanjay Notani is a partner at ELP and co-heads the International Trade & Customs practice. He is a member of the American Bar Association (ABA), the Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA) and the Customs and International Trade Bar Association (CITBA).

Sanjay represents domestic manufacturers, foreign exporters, governments trade associations and importers in administrative and appellate litigation to obtain trade remedial reliefs from unfairly traded imports in anti-dumping, countervailing and safeguard duty proceedings initiated inbound, outbound and disputes arising from free trade agreements (FTA’s) and regional trade agreements (RTA’s). He also provides trade advice on various FTA’s or RTA’s being negotiated and signed by India including WTO disputes. This includes analysis of all the matters that make up an import or export declaration including valuation, classification, country of origin, marking and labelling, qualification for the relevant free trade programme or agreement and free trade zone issues. He helps clients respond to customs notices, conduct internal compliance reviews, pursue customs rulings and providing advice on issues such as regulatory barriers.

Sanjay’s expertise lies in advising various multinational companies on import and export control as well as licensing issues, specifically the dual use of goods and technologies regulations maintained by the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of External Affairs and other allied Ministries. He has worked across various sectors, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, chemicals, textiles, telecom, energy, and consumer products.

Sanjay has been recommended for his expertise in Chambers Asia-Pacific 2013 to 2017, Chambers Global 2015 to 2017 and The Legal 500 2015 to 2017. He has also been identified as a Leading Expert by Who’s Who Legal Trade & Customs 2015 & 2016; and as a Legal Thought Leader in Who’s Who Legal 2017. Sanjay has been recognised as a specialist for International Trade in India by the BRIC Expert Guide 2013. He recently featured in the WorldECR 2016 Awards (June 2016 issue of the magazine) for export controls and sanctions expertise. Recently Sanjay has been elected to the ABA Committee 2017 as well as being selected as vice chair for the IPBA 2017. He has been featured as a thought leader in Who’s Who Legal: Trade & Customs 2017.

WWL says: Sanjay Notani is a very active practitioner in the Indian market, recognised for his first-class representation of manufacturers, governments, importers and exporters and trade associations.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Trade & Customs which can be purchased from our Shop.

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