Vassilis heads up the firm's WTO & International Trade practice and is recognised by Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500 as a leading expert in his field.
Vassilis has been practising in Brussels since 1991 and helps his clients to achieve and improve market access, maximise trade benefits and be compliant with the complex web of global trade and EU laws, wherever they operate. He has more than 25 years' experience in the field of EU and WTO law, specialising in EU trade defence investigations (anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and safeguards), customs matters, trade barriers/market access issues, trade sanctions/export controls and EU anti-fraud investigations led by OLAF. He is also advising on EU competition law, including State aid, and in EU internal market, regulatory and public procurement matters.
Vassilis is advising European and Asian Governments and companies located in the EU, in Asia and in the U.S. He has worked for clients active in the steel sector, chemicals, high tech, transport, defence and aerospace and agriculture/food. He represents clients in several jurisdictions, including primarily the EU but also in trade defence investigations of the Eurasian Economic Union, Brazil, China or Turkey.
Vassilis's main objective is to ensure that his clients are compliant with trade laws and maximise the trade benefits that they can draw when their goods cross borders, including the minimisation of customs duty exposure through proper classification, usage of special customs procedures and customs duty or anti-dumping/countervailing duty refund procedures. He has won many trade defence cases, both on the complainant and on the respondent front. Should things get contentious, he is an experienced litigator, representing parties before the European Union courts in Luxembourg and other instances, such as the European Court of Human Rights, the High Court of the Eurasian Economic Union and national customs and administrative tribunals.
MembershipsPresident of the Belgian-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce since 2008 and served as a non-executive board member in an industrial development bank and manufacturing companies.
- Co-author, "The Shake-Up of the EU Institutions’ Dumping Calculation Methodology and the Compatibility of a Market-Oriented Concept of Normal Value with WTO Law" (2018) 13 Global Trade and Customs Journal, Issue 4, pp. 129–140.
Vassilis has been consistently recognised as a leading expert in the field of international trade law by Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500, which wrote about him in recent years:
- Regarded by clients as a "reference in Brussels," Vassilis Akritidis principally handles trade remedies mandates for both complainant and respondent parties, recently representing ASCER before the Pakistani trade authorities in an anti-dumping investigation targeting imports of ceramic tiles. Clients are impressed by his "direct, straightforward and consistently logical" approach and describe him as "a great lawyer" who "always helps to find the best solution and is available even at late hours." (Chambers & Partners Global Edition 2018)
- Clients value [Vassilis's] team's "depth of resources and cross-border capabilities." Others praise the department's "knowledge basis" and appreciate the firm's "boutique philosophy," despite the firm's international credentials. (Chambers & Partners Global Edition 2018)
- What Vassilis's team is known for: Noteworthy experience advising clients from across Asia on European trade matters. Particularly active anti-dumping and anti-subsidy practice, with additional expertise in customs law and sanctions. Advises on export control and WTO dispute settlement. Clients say that "the trade team is a highly experienced and cohesive unit." A client adds that the "team perfectly combines professional knowledge, efficient approaches in new cases and client service." (Chambers & Partners Europe-Wide 2017).
- Clients praise Vassilis Akritidis for his "very good knowledge and commitment to the client: he will try everything to win the case." One interviewee describes him as "passionate, flexible in finding a common platform and a strong negotiator." He also advises on anti-subsidy measures, customs law, market access and WTO disputes (Chambers & Partners Belgium edition 2017).
- The team represents a wide range of high-profile manufacturers, in trade defence investigations and are recognised for their advice on export controls and trade sanctions, market access and regional trade agreements (Legal 500 2017).
- One client reports about Vassilis Akritidis: ‘What impresses me is the way in which he argues matters with such confidence and depth of knowledge. It is remarkable, as we very seldom see such profound knowledge.’ (Chambers Global 2016).
- [The team's] consistently positive delivery distinguishes the practice from other firms. (Chambers Global 2016).
- Vassilis Akritidis heads the practice and earns positive client feedback: ‘He’s very knowledgeable in anti-dumping, so he has a great deal of experience with the practical side of the Commission’s investigations.’ (Chambers Europe 2015).
- Clients hold Vassilis Akritidis of McGuireWoods LLP “in very high regard – he has all the answers.” (Chambers Global 2013).
- “European trade team head Vassilis Akritidis is an expert in trade investigations.” (Legal 500 2013).
- Sources say: “[The team's] insight into the Commission is amazing – it understands how the Commission thinks and how it’ll interpret certain policies.” (Chambers Global 2012).
- This firm’s workload reflects its prodigious expertise in EU anti-dumping investigations, featuring a number of instructions from major private clients and industry associations acting as complainants (Chambers Global 2012).
- Vassilis Akritidis is valued for his assistance in difficult situations: “He stays calm when things get heated and brings it down to what is important. He gives you direction when there are too many factors in play.” (Chambers Global 2012)