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.
Mr. Kerr 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, Mr. Kerr 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.
Mr. Kerr 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.
Mr. Kerr has assisted clients with projects in China, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore, 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.