Bird & Bird launches international trade and customs practice with team hire


International law firm Bird & Bird has recruited a team of 4 lawyers to launch a dedicated trade and customs practice. Led by partner Jasper Helder, a widely recognised international trade and customs expert, the team also includes Tim Hesselink, who has been practising customs and trade law for 10 years and two assistants. The team joins Bird & Bird from Simmons & Simmons and will be based in the firm’s office in The Hague, which was set up only 5 years ago and has now grown to a 70 lawyer practice.

Highly rated in the leading legal directories, Jasper’s team focuses on international trade, customs and regulatory advice. The team has experience of a broad range of market access issues including rules of origin, transfer pricing and customs value, customs classification of products, import and export controls and licensing as well as product safety and labelling. Jasper himself has unique EU cross-border experience in relation to TRIPs customs seizures for patent and other intellectual property infringement. He works mainly in the high-tech, consumer electronics and food sectors.

Although based in The Hague, the team will work closely with Bird & Bird’s international IP, Tax, Regulatory and Competition practice groups, creating further cross border synergy between the businesses of these groups.

Commenting on this appointment, Armand Killan, co-managing partner of the firm’s office in The Hague and also partner in the Dutch IP group said:

“Strategic IP litigation and legal product management, particularly on the regulatory and transactional sides, has always been a top priority for our clients, specifically for those whose business is to manufacture and sell products like mobile phones, consumer electronics, pharmaceuticals as well as food and beverages. The experience and knowledge Jasper and his team will be bringing with them will be invaluable for these clients with whom we can work together on an even closer partnership.

As well as this, customs compliance and the supply routing of goods into the EU and within the EU has become an increasingly important and continuous issue for our international clients. The regulation of market access for their products and also, the implications of customs border seizures, for example, are serious issues for these clients and we need lawyers like Jasper and Tim to provide them with further support.

Jasper will inevitably work closely with our IP, Tax, Regulatory and Competition teams. Given the cross-border nature of Bird & Bird’s work this means that the team will be involved in the business interests of all our international groups”.

Commenting on his appointment, Jasper said:

“Bird & Bird’s clear and distinct focus on technology combined with its international coverage makes this move a good step for our team. The firm stands out in IP and regulatory work, both contentious and transactional, which connects closely with international supply chains and legal regulation of product market access; areas in which we have extensive experience. Combining Bird & Bird’s experience with ours offers the firm’s clients a truly unique package”.

For more information on this please contact Natalie Arestis, PR Manager on 020 7905 6248 or

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Notes to Editors

About Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird is a full service international commercial law firm with an in-depth knowledge of chosen industry sectors. We focus on aviation & aerospace, communications, banking & financial services, e-commerce, information technology, life sciences, media and sport.

With offices in Beijing, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, The Hague, Hong Kong, London, Lyon, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris, Rome and Stockholm, we offer our clients local expertise within a global context, helping them to realise their business goals both domestically and internationally.

Bird & Bird was identified as one of the Top 50 Law Firms in the world that has “taken the greatest strides towards globalisation while maintaining quality”, in a recent survey carried out by researchers for the PLCWhich Lawyer? Yearbook.