US Practice update: State of play 12 months on

Nov 14, 2017

It’s now been 12 months since the US election and the world learning that Donald Trump would be the 45th President of the US.

This last week, there has been much reflection and commentary on the performance of Trump’s Administration since being elected. While failing to deliver on many key election promises, the general consensus has been that Trump has not been as ‘catastrophic’ as expected and his performance as President has been a little ‘ho-hum’.

While Trump brings a unique and rather large personality to the Presidency, very little has changed between Australia and the US. In 2016, the US was Australia’s largest source of foreign investment [A$860 billion] and the No 1 destination for Australian investment overseas [A$617 billion], making the US Australia’s leading economic partner with a bilateral economic engagement of A$1.47 billion. Without the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement, which came into force in 2005, and strong diplomatic relations between the US and Australia, none of this would be attainable.

Over the last 12 months, KCL Law’s US Practice has acted on many cross-border commercial transactions. More recently, our team has been involved in some very interesting and complex transactions involving companies doing business in the US and Australia, including representing:

  • an Australian-based specialist freight and logistics supplier with subsidiaries located throughout Asia. It was acquired by a major logistics company located in the US, and KCL Law was involved in a detailed due diligence process, as well as working closely with the American attorneys representing the acquirer;
  • a high-end Australian fashion brand launching in America. Our client will operate in the US selling its goods online, as well as operating bricks and mortar stores. KCL Law assisted the client by setting up a limited liability company (LLC), which included drafting the members’ agreement and related documentation required to operate the client’s US-based corporate entity so as to ensure the most tax-effective structure was employed; and
  • an engineering and design firm located on the west coast of the US, which is working on a number of high-level security projects in Australia and is attempting to expand its Australian operations. KCL Law advised the firm in relation to leasing, employment issues, tax and corporate registrations, as well as generally assisting them in becoming familiar with the key business practices in Australia.

In 2018, we are anticipating an increase in trade and investment opportunities between the US and Australia.

While both the US and Australian Governments face unique challenges of their own, and the regional and global dynamics grow more complex, what is reassuring is the sizeable investment relationship between the US and Australia – a clear sign of confidence in the strength of the two countries, their political and legal institutions, and the US-Australian relationship.

If you require assistance in relation to a commercial transaction involving the US and Australia, please contact either David Weinberger, Principal Lawyer, via dweinberger@kcllaw.com.au, or Roger Rothfield, Special Counsel, via rrothfield@kcllaw.com.au, of KCL Law’s US Practice.

BACK