Tony Kerr is a senior trade consultant in the antitrust, competition, and trade regulation practice group. His experience covers the full range of customs and international trade issues, including full customs compliance reviews, customs and trade due diligence, and investigations. He has extensive practical and technical knowledge of customs legislation in China and in other countries across Asia.
Tony has worked with clients to help review their systems for the import and export of goods which has included reviews of third parties being used by his clients to support their imports or other trading activities – an area of great exposure for some clients. He also assists clients from an indirect tax perspective (related party transactions) on tax planning. His strategies have resulted in substantial duty, VAT, and GST savings for his clients. He reviews transactional and logistics flows to ensure that the client is gaining maximum benefit from the various trade agreements and in-country investment incentives.
In a volatile trade environment where his clients are exploring potential diversification of operations to minimize their products exposure to increasing import tariffs, Tony assists his clients to identify potential jurisdictions based on a series of risk factors including, but not limited to, environment, ease of doing business, infrastructure, supply chain, customs transparency, investment incentives, foreign exchange control requirements, export controls, and possible free trade agreements.
Tony also assists in M&A transactions where a target company is moving goods across borders or manufacturing under customs control. In this area he undertakes customs and trade due diligence and has been successful in assisting clients with early identification of customs and trade issues. This has enabled his clients to be better prepared in their negotiations with the target company. As most customs authorities apply the principle of successor liability, it is critical to any deal that the buyer is fully aware of any potential exposures.
While he has played a key role in the management of advocacy on behalf of his clients, he also provides a positive focus on areas where a business can gain opportunity and facilitation to give it a competitive edge whilst still being fully compliant with its legislative requirements.
Tony has assisted clients with projects in China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, and India, and has resided in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and China during his years in Asia. He has played key roles in customs advocacy matters in China, Singapore, and the Philippines, assisting clients to minimize the impact of customs penalties and other revenue. He has also led investigations teams in China and India for clients that were the subject of major customs investigations.
Prior to joining the firm, Tony served as a senior director at a global law firm. He has worked as a customs and international trade consultant in Asia since late 1996, prior to which he held a number of key positions within the New Zealand Customs Service during his 22 years there. He was also part of a team of Customs officers that provided training to Customs officers in Asia under APEC. In that role he provided customs valuation training and HS classification training to Customs officers in Indonesia, Brunei, and Malaysia.
- The Do’s and Don’ts when Diversifying Manufacturing Operations June 2019
- Reminder of the Changes to Singapore Goods and Service Tax July 2019
- Origin Fraud - When “Made in Vietnam” is not made in Vietnam, June 2019
- China’s Social Credit System - Another “To Check” Item for Due Diligence and Hiring Process?, March 2019
- Is Your Philippine Operation Fully Customs Compliant?, February 2019
- Mergers & Acquisitions: Provoking Thought and Action in Customs and Trade-focused Due Diligence, January 2018
- Thailand Modernises Customs Act, July 2017
- India to Introduce "Beneficial Owner" Concept in Customs Law, February 2017
- China Customs Focuses on Voluntary Disclosures and Under-reporting of Royalties, September 2016
- The Need to Review Royalty and Technology Transfer Agreements with Chinese Subsidiaries, October 2015
- The Impact of BEPS on Your Relationship with Customs Authorities, May 2015