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Non-lawyer trade advisor joins APJ-SLG

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Delhi firm APJ-SLG Law Offices has hired a non-lawyer as a "principal advisor" in its trade law practice.

T.S. Vishwanath has joined APJ-SLG to strengthen its World Trade Organisation (WTO) and free trade agreement (FTA)-related work after heading up the WTO trade division of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

He is working with the firm's partner Sharad Bhansali on a case study that involves the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Indian Ministry of Commerce devising tools to understand rules of origin under FTAs.

The firm’s partner Sharad Bhansali said: "Vishwanath’s presence in the firm brings in loads of experience and knowledge, which will help us provide sharp research-based inputs to the industry as well as to the Government. His induction adds to the firm’s unique ability to provide research-based legal solutions to its clients".

Vishwanath said that his role as a non-lawyer in a law firm would include to "strategise and advise on how companies can work and understand the challenges and opportunities emerging from bilateral and multi-lateral trade agreements".

Vishwanath has over 22 years of experience as a specialist in trade related practices and started his career as a journalist in mid-80s with the Financial Express newspaper. He then joined the Economic Times, and left it briefly to work for Business Line, but later returned to the Economic Times.

In 1999, after his last stint as Economic Times deputy trade editor, Vishwanath joined the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) trade policy department. From there he was posted to Geneva to head the CII during the Doha Rounds of the WTO and then returned to India to head the WTO-Trade division of CII.

Previously, Bhansali had worked on organising trading seminars for a Vietnamese company. He said that APJ-SLG was also hired by the United Nations Development Programme UNDP to train its officials.

APJ-SLG has four partners and 25 associates and was formed after the alliance of APJ Chambers and Strategic Law Group in 2001.

Vishwanath joined in APJ-SLG in April of this year.

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