30 November 2016

Moulis Legal’s Principal Partner, Daniel Moulis, has told the 4th CNI e IBRAC Seminar on International Trade that Australia’s bilateral trade agreement strategy has been “to go after our biggest trade partners and expand the trade even further”. He contrasted this with Brazil’s strong reliance on the WTO and Mercosur, and the fact that Brazil has no comprehensive bilateral deals in force with any of its top 15 two-way trade in goods partners.

The annual seminar – organised by the Brazilian National Confederation of Industry (CNI) and the Brazilian Institute for the Study of Competition, Consumer Affairs and International Trade (IBRAC) – was held this year in Brasilia on 9 November. It brought together public sector officials and professional advisors to talk about how best to advance Brazil’s trade and development interests.

Mr Moulis’s presentation in the panel session entitled “New Issues in the Brazilian Trade Agreements Agenda” gave insights into Australia’s push into services, investment, intellectual property and government procurement in its “new-age” free trade agreements. Statistically, he demonstrated how Australia’s focus on first-quality agreements with its biggest trade partners has worked, and he outlined the rights and obligations that have evolved.

He also commented on the Trans Pacific Partnership as an example of a very ambitious “WTO plus” regional trade agreement. Speaking the day after the US presidential election, he voiced the opinion that the precedents that the TPP has tried to establish will remain on the negotiating agenda of many countries into the future, regardless of whether it comes into force. These include the strengthening and expansion of intellectual property rights, well-considered investor-state dispute settlement, and alternative trade rules to address the perceived non-commercial behaviour of government-related companies.

Although acknowledging the difficulties presently confronting multilateral trade initiatives, and the benefits of “good” FTAs, he reinforced the importance and primacy of the WTO agreements and WTO dispute settlement. They remain as the platform for bilateral agreements, he said.

“The WTO Agreements are truly marvellous pieces of work. The complicated thoughts and interests that were compromised and converged and made coherent in those documents is truly amazing. We must acknowledge and respect this. The WTO is a very solid baseline for open trade.”

Mr Moulis wishes to sincerely thank CNI and IBRAC for inviting him to contribute to the important Brazilian trade policy debate.

Pictured, from left to right – Daniel Moulis, Founder and Principal, Moulis Legal, Australia; Carla Junqueira, Partner, Mattos Engelberg Advogados, Brazil; Abrão Neto, Secretary of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services, Brazil; and Frederico Lapova, Chief of Staff, Under-Secretariat of International Trade, Ministry of Production, Argentina.

Moulis Legal is active in helping Australian and overseas companies in trade and cross-border investment. For more information, please contact Daniel Moulis or Alistair Bridges on +61 2 6163 1000 or by email at and