Competition, International Trade & Foreign Investment

The Cassels Competition, International Trade & Foreign Investment Group provides practical, solution-oriented transactional, compliance and litigation advice to clients of all sizes across a broad spectrum of industries. Our lawyers routinely deal with members of all branches of the Competition Bureau, Investment Review Division and Department of Canadian Heritage. Our knowledge of the current enforcement approach of these agencies allows us to provide strategic guidance that enables our clients to achieve positive outcomes.

Our group also has extensive experience representing clients in Competition Tribunal proceedings, including contested proceedings, consent proceedings and variations of existing orders. We are involved in many of the leading Canadian merger, conspiracy, and abuse of dominance cases, private applications under the refusal to deal and related provisions, as well as civil damages actions.

We regularly advise clients on both day-to-day compliance matters as well as extraordinary events. These clients run the gamut from major corporations and industry associations to private individuals. In addition to domestic expertise, our group has extensive international experience in all areas of competition law; we often act as the Canadian members of multinational teams in cross-border mergers, international criminal investigations and multi-jurisdictional civil litigation.

The competition lawyers at Cassels frequently provide advice to international clients regarding the application of the Investment Canada Act across a broad range of sectors including mining, cultural, natural resources, technology, financial services, consumer goods, retail, grocery, manufacturing and logistics. We also advise clients regarding investments by state-owned enterprises, as well the application of the national security review regime to their investments.

Our experience in working with clients involved in the film, music and publishing industries allows us to provide practical advice and facilitate cultural sector investments for foreign clients. This includes providing strategic advice regarding the application of Canadian Heritage policies related to foreign investment in the book publishing/distribution, periodical publishing and film distribution sectors.

Representative Transactions

  • Successfully obtaining Canadian Heritage approval for Ripplewood Holdings’ acquisition of Readers’ Digest Canada
  • Advising foreign companies regarding the application of Canadian Foreign Investment and Cultural Sector review laws to the electronic distribution of film and television content
  • Providing competition law compliance advice to Canadian Copyright Collectives regarding both their internal activities and their relationships with other agencies and associations
  • Acting for CF Industries Holdings, Inc. in its $915 million acquisition of control of Canadian Fertilizer Limited from Glencore International plc. and Agrium Inc.
  • Acting for Alpha Trading Systems Inc. and Alpha Trading Systems Limited Partnership in connection with the Maple Group’s $3.8 billion consolidation of TMX Group Inc., The Canadian Depository for Securities Limited and Alpha Group Partnership
  • Acting for Pfizer on its US$68 billion acquisition of Wyeth
  • Providing counsel to clients in connection with responding to production orders and “dawn raids”
  • Successfully obtaining immunity and leniency for clients in connection with alleged criminal conduct under the price-fixing and bid-rigging provisions of the Competition Act
  • Successfully obtaining intervenor status for Realtysellers Real Estate Inc., allowing it to participate in abuse of dominance proceedings brought by the Commissioner of Competition against the Toronto Real Estate Board
  • Acting as international coordinating counsel to Goldcorp in its US$21.3 billion combination with Glamis Gold and US$1.6 billion acquisition of mining assets from Barrick Gold, among others

International Trade

Our clients include Canadian companies, foreign companies, government departments and agencies, state-controlled corporations, international governmental and non-governmental organizations.

We provide a range of legal services related to the movement of goods, services, capital and intellectual property across international borders. We provide advice in several areas, including:

Injurious Imports and Trade Remedies

  • Acts for Canadian and foreign corporations in anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases under Canadian law. This includes dealing directly with the Canada Border Services Agency, and appearing as counsel before the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT), NAFTA panels and the Federal Court of Appeal in actions under Canada’s Special Import Measures Act

Transactional Trade-Related Matters

  • Advises on the trade and competition law implications of transborder mergers and acquisitions, particularly on the effects of NAFTA, the WTO Agreement and other international agreements on financial and asset-based transactions

Duties Relief, Customs Problems and Tariff Classification

  • Advises clients on a range of customs and tariff-related matters, including appeals on tariff classification and other matters affecting duties

Sanctions, Boycotts and Export and Import Controls

  • Advises clients on compliance with both Canadian and international trade restrictions and embargoes, including export controls implemented under United Nations sanctions, Canada’s Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act, the Export and Import Permits Act and related matters
  • Advises corporations on the effects of international agreements and Canadian law relating to foreign bribery and corruption

International Investment Disputes

  • Represents both Canadian and foreign companies under NAFTA Chapter 11 provisions, and in international arbitrations under ICSID and the UNCITRAL rules

Government Relations Counsel

  • Represents clients’ interests at the federal and provincial levels of government on matters of international trade and competition law and policy. This includes preparation of briefs and position papers for parliamentary and legislative committees, appearing as both counsel and spokespersons on behalf of clients at hearings of such committees, and ongoing representation at various levels of federal and provincial governments.

Some examples of our recent experience include:

  • Representing Canadian steel producers in many major steel products cases before the CITT, including an ongoing case involving dumped steel from China, Brazil and India
  • Representing a large foreign U.S.-based company in an investigation into the shipping of allegedly dumped and subsided cooper pipe fittings into Canada
  • Acted for a Canadian producer in the first successful countervailing duty (subsidies) case filed against exports from China, representing the client through the appeal process in the Federal Court of Appeal
  • Acted as co-counsel for Canadian corn producers before the CITT in a major dispute involving the dumping and subsidizing of corn from the United States