WTO Law and Practice

The international experience of our firm includes WTO law and practice, notably in the area of customs, trade defence and relevant litigation before investigating authorities and the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body.

The WTO is the result of the closure of the GATT's Uruguay Round in 1994. All EU Member States are collectively a member of the WTO, and all EU Member States have ceded all rights of access to the WTO to the European Commission as their representative. Under the obligations resulting out of the WTO system, most of the aspects of the EU's Common Commercial Policy must comply with the WTO provisions and case law.

The WTO provisions include several agreements concerning trade in goods and services, which, among others, implement the provisions of the GATT agreement in more detail. The key WTO principles are as follows:

  • Most favoured nation treatment - advantages concerning customs duties or formalities granted by any WTO member to any other country shall be similarly accorded to goods from any WTO member.
  • Maximum customs duties - schedules of concessions agreed during WTO negotiations constitute maximum customs duties with respect to all WTO members.
  • National treatment - internal taxes and all other charges affecting the internal sale, purchase, transportation or distribution of goods shall not discriminate against imports.
  • Anti dumping and countervailing duties - may be imposed against imported goods which are dumped or subsidized, if their release into free circulation causes material injury to the domestic industry of the importing member producing the like product.

Failure to observe the above principles by any WTO member may result in contentious proceedings before the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body ("DSB"). Some of our lawyers have pursued graduate studies and have obtained extensive experience in advising corporate entities and sovereign governments on the application of WTO provisions, including accession negotiations and the application of trade defense rules (anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and safeguards). Especially in the area of trade defense, businesses may draw great advantages from either having duties imposed on competitive goods imported in the EU or being properly represented in anti-dumping and other trade defense proceedings initiated by other jurisdictions outside the EU (third countries). For example, Greek exporters of goods may be faced with such investigations by any WTO member in the world. Should this happen, it is crucial to co-operate in full and attempt to minimize the level of duties to be imposed or even completely eliminate the risk. Sarantitis Law Firm is the best-placed firm in Greece to provide this type of advice and representation. Our lawyers have a collective experience of over 50 trade defense investigations during the last decade, through their experience gained in Brussels and other jurisdictions, worldwide.

 

Taxation

Sarantitis Law Firm has significantly expanded its activities to taxation, both locally and internationally.

Our tax lawyers pride themselves in providing innovative approaches in tax planning and controversies.

The firm provides services and advice in connection with tax issues related to business activities in Greece. We represent clients in a wide range of tax-related areas, including:

  • Tax reviews aiming at tracing errors and/or omissions regarding the compliance with domestic tax legislation;
  • V.A.T. issues;
  • consultation during tax audits performed by Greek tax authorities;
  • full support in litigating tax cases before the Greek Administrative Courts;
  • drafting of legal opinions in relation to all tax matters;
  • efficient use of tax relief investment incentives as well as the Tax Treaties for the avoidance of Double Taxation in case of international transactions;
  • significant experience on tax issues involved to mergers and acquisitions and the legacy thereof, split-offs, spin-offs as well as to liquidation of limited liability companies;
  • tax advice with regard to the establishment and/or reconstruction of all legal entities under Greek law;
  • all necessary contacts/actions towards the State Authorities aiming at ensuring compliance of the abovementioned activities; and
  • experts on tax matters involved with real estate donation and inheritance.

White Collar Crime

Criminal process against corporations and their officers has increased notably over recent years.

Sarantitis Law Firm has great experience and provides a wide range of services in defending individuals or companies against allegations of wrong doing in a variety of complex criminal investigations and trials in substantive areas such as breaches of business trust, financial, employment, social security, claims, conspiracy, environmental offences, insurance fraud money laundering, negligence, bad faith and other allegations of criminal wrongdoing.

Our white collar crime lawyers are experienced litigators, who are familiar with the handling of highly sensitive matters. Several cases of such nature, have ended in a successful result, without even becoming a matter of public knowledge.

According to the nature of each given case, our white collar crime lawyers put together a team consisting of specialist attorneys in the relevant field such as securities, finance, fair trade or tax. They also advise corporate clients on their compliance with business ethics and oversight programmes and, significantly, on the steps that a company needs to take in order to minimize the threat of criminal exposure.

Energy & Natural Resources

The Energy and Natural Resources sector is one where a wide range of projects, transactions or disputes emerge and Sarantitis Law Firm has played an instrumental role in that area in Greece.

Our team advises clients on preparation agreements, drafting and negotiating contracts and projects as well as ensuing litigation services. Our involvement is based on a special insight into problems and opportunities faced by the energy and electricity utility industries. Sarantitis Law Firm' substantial legal resources in the field allow us to provide creative, comprehensive and effective legal solutions.

Our sectoral experience in the matter allows our energy lawyers to understand the importance of tailoring solutions to meet the unique needs of each particular client. Such clients range from companies, banks and other financiers to regulators and, insurers. Our lawyers are well-equipped in handling both public and private sector companies.

Aviation

Sarantitis Law Firm has been actively involved in aviation law. The firm provides legal services and advice regarding the procedure of granting operational licenses in Greek routes performed by foreign airlines. Labour agreements of the air and land staff of foreign airlines, air transporters' liability issues in case of luggage / cargo loss, issues concerning helicopter landing operational license, the private airline companies' operator staff qualifications and the necessary equipment for flight safety i.e. radio communication / radar, equally form part of our firm's work over the recent years.

In addition, our aviation lawyers have gained significant expertise on handling domestic and international claims representing several aviation and insurance organizations.

 

Real Estate & Construction

The firm acts for major local developers as well as international private investors in all areas of commercial / industrial / residential real estate development and planning.

The recent statute law developments in real estate, that have established a favouring regime for investment in such property, have expanded our client base, that currently includes property companies, hoteliers, public and local authorities, major national warehouses, as well as investment institutions.