Mark N. Sills, Partner
Mark Sills, founding partner of Sills Egsgard LLP, practises in the area of international trade and investment. He advises and represents foreign and domestic companies in Canadian trade remedy and customs cases and he provides legal and policy advice to foreign and Canadian companies and foreign governments on international trade and investment matters.
Mark's trade remedies practice involves anti-dumping, countervailing duty and safeguards matters and also the representation of foreign and domestic companies on challenges to government contract awards before the Canadian International Trade Tribunal. In the trade remedies area, he has represented both foreign and Canadian manufacturers, importers and exporters in trade remedies cases over the past ten years.
Mark Sills has extensive experience in customs compliance issues and has assisted numerous companies in challenging customs determinations of various sorts before Canada’s administrative appeal tribunals. He also has extensive experience in new and evolving customs issues such as export and import controls and international trade sanctions issues. Mark has frequently provided advice on Canadian Federal Government regulatory requirements affecting imports in areas such as food products, pharmaceuticals and motor vehicles. He also advises on packaging and labelling requirements including French language labelling.
In recent years, he has developed expertise in anti-bribery issues including internal systems for anti-bribery controls and related issues involving corporate social responsibility for companies doing business abroad. His extensive experience in the Canadian Foreign Service in Asia and Latin America and subsequent work with the Russian, Vietnam and Bahamas governments enables him to accurately assess and provide timely and effective advice to companies undertaking investments in challenging foreign environments.
Mark has had long-standing and extensive first-hand experience in international trade issues. He began his career in the Canadian Foreign Service in 1975 and was posted first to the Philippines and then to Brazil. On his return to Canada, he practised law in the Legal Bureau of the Department of External Affairs in the areas of international claims, nuclear safety and international trade. He later worked in the GATT Affairs Division and was Director of the International Energy Relations Division of the Department of Energy Mines and Resources during the Canada-US Free Trade negotiations. Subsequent to that, he worked on implementation issues for the Canadian government under the Free Trade Agreement and ultimately was a member of the Canadian legal team representing Canada during the NAFTA negotiations with the US and Mexico in 1991-92.
Mark Sills joined the Moscow office of Macleod Dixon in 1992 where he practised in the international trade, mining and general corporate and commercial areas for three years. One of his major activities was the provision of legal and trade policy advice to the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations of Russia. On his return to Canada in 1996, he joined the firm's Toronto office, continuing his international trade and investment practice, and became a partner in 1999. He has worked for the Governments of Vietnam and Kyrgyzstan on various trade policy projects financed by the UNDP and CIDA.
He successfully represented a number of foreign and domestic companies in anti-dumping, countervailing duty, safeguards and customs compliance cases and acted on behalf of Canadian companies on a number of challenges to Federal government contract awards.
In 2001, he accepted a retainer as international legal consultant to the Government of The Bahamas to assist that government in its application to join the World Trade Organization and to provide advice on participation in the ongoing fee trade negotiations with the European Union and Canada. That retainer continues to the present day.
In 2003, he began a five year retainer to the Ministry of Justice of the Government of Vietnam to assist in legislative reform in support of that country's application to join the World Trade Organization.
From 2003 to 2011, Mark practised law as a partner in the Toronto office of Fasken Martineau in the field of international trade and investment. During that time, he was a member of the firm’s Global Mining Group and the Asia-Pacific Group. He left Fasken Martineau at the end of 2011 to found his present firm, Sills Egsgard LLP.
Mark has been recognized by Chambers Global Guide - The World’s Leading Lawyers 2006 as an expert in the area of WTO/international trade law and has been listed in Chambers since that time.
- LL.M. (International and Comparative Law), 1973, Vrij Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
- LL.B., 1972, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, Toronto, Canada
- B.A. (Honours), 1969 Bishop's University, Lennoxville, Quebec, Canada
- Certificat d'Études Françaises, Cours Supérieur, 1968 Université d'Aix-Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, France
Called to the Bar of Ontario, 1975
- Member, Law Society of Upper Canada
- Member, American Association of International Law
- Member, Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada
- Member, American Society of International Law
- Represented a medium-size Canadian mining company in a dispute with an East Asian government over proposed increases in royalty taxes and successfully defeated the proposed measures;
- Represented a large Canadian ethanol producer in an anti-dumping and countervailing duty complaint in respect of grain corn imports from the USA.
- Represented a major US airframe manufacturer in contract negotiations with the Canadian Federal Government for a significant acquisition of new equipment for the Canadian military.
- Represented a major East Asian steelmaker and other steel fabricators in various anti-dumping and safeguards proceedings in Canada.
- Provided advice, as part of a project finance team, on numerous investor-state agreements for mining investments in various developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
- Represented a major Canadian petrochemical producer in a proposed NAFTA Chapter 11 challenge to California regulations prohibiting the use of MTBE.
- Represented a number of medium-sized Canadian corporations in challenges to Federal Government contract awards before the Canadian International Trade Tribunal.
- Drafted compliance handbooks in relation to Canadian export controls for a number of clients including a major US oilfield service corporation and a major nuclear products manufacturer and provided advice on numerous occasions to clients on the application of Canadian export controls to Iran and Libya.
- Provided advice to major Canadian pipeline company in relation to the legal implications and potential strategies to deal with Kyoto Protocol obligations and their potential effect on the energy sector in Canada.
- Provided a diagnostic study and proposed strategic advice to a major government in the Persian Gulf on proposed governmental reorganization to achieve greater efficiency and accountability in line with prevailing constitutional requirements;”
- Provided advice on the Canadian ''Controlled Goods Program'' to various major companies in relation to ongoing problems with unauthorized transfers of information and technology to Canadian operations and the revamping of internal company procedures to become CCGP-compliant.
- Provided advice to a major multinational mining firm on dealing with threatened expropriatory measures in an important South American mining jurisdiction.
- Provided advice on numerous occasions to Canadian and US corporations in relation to application of the Canadian Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act to US sanctions under the Cuban Assets Control Regulations and related legislation.
- Drafted numerous international sales agreements for exports of Canadian goods and services meeting regulatory compliance obligations in various fields.
- Trade Remedy Cases: Canadian International Trade Tribunal
- 2009 Inquiry NQ-2009-005, Polyiso Insulation Board
- 2005 Inquiry No. NQ-2005-015, Grain Corn from the USA
- 2005 File No. AP-2005-015 Tariff Classification Appeal: S.C. Johnson and Son
- 2005 File No. PR-2004-051: Procurement Complaint by ProSpect Scientific
- 2004 File No. PR-2003-082: Procurement Complaint by Bosik Vehicle Barriers Ltd
- 2003 Inquiry No. NQ-2002-003: Xanthates
- 2002 Reference No. GC-2001-001: Safeguard Inquiry into the Importation of Certain Steel Goods
- 2001 Inquiry No. NQ-2001-001: Certain Flat Hot-rolled Carbon and Alloy Steel Sheet and Strip
- 2001 Expiry Review No. RR-2000-001: Oil and Gas Well Casings
- 2000 Expiry Review No.: RR-99-004: Carbon Steel Welded Pipe
Publications and Presentations
- “USMCA: The End of ‘Proportional Sharing’ On Energy”, Sills Egsgard Bulletin November 2018
- “When Will the New USMCA Come into Force?”, Sills Egsgard Bulletin November 2018
- “NAFTA 2.00: The End of Chapter 11”, Sills Egsgard Bulletin November 2018
- “NAFTA 2.00: The New USMCA”, Sills Egsgard Bulletin November 2018
- “BREXIT and the Serious Challenges for the UK” , Sills Egsgard Bulletin, September 11, 2016
- “Rules of Origin in Canada’s New Trade Agreements” Webinar delivered to Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters October 21, 2015
- "Canada's Planned Amendments to Strengthen Laws Against Foreign Bribery", Sills Egsgard LLP E-Bulletin, February 7, 2013
- "Bribery by Third Parties: It may not be enough to say you didn't know", Northern Miner, May 5, 2013
- "Northern Miner Commentary: The new SEC rules for disclosing payments", September 30, 2012
- "Northern Miner Commentary: The new US rules for conflict minerals and their impact on miners", October 1, 2012
- Bribery Laws: Protecting Your Good Name, co-authored with Kevin O’Callaghan and Steven Beharrell Lexpert US Guide 2011
- Provincial Procurement under the New Ontario Procurement Directive. Presentation to the Toronto Computer Lawyers’ Group, October 29, 2009.
- Structuring and Protection of Investments in the Natural Resource Sector. Presentation at Summer Meeting of Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Meeting: San Francisco, July 2009.
- The Price of Might, Presentation at the American Bar Association Section of Business Law Spring Meeting, April 11, 2008.
- Combating Counterfeit in Global Supply Chains: Anti-counterfeiting Tools and Measures, The 40th Annual Supply Chain & Logistics Conference, April 30, 2007, joint presentation with May Cheng.
- International Agreements and Codes of Conduct Affecting Mining Companies, World Mines Ministry Forum 2006, Toronto, March 3, 2006
- International Agreements and Codes of Conduct Affecting Mining Companies, World Mines Ministry Forum 2006, Toronto, March 3, 2006.
- Foreign Ownership, Chapter 211 of American Law of Mining, 2 ed. Matthew Bender 2005.
- Navigating the Customs Audit Process in Canada, Presentation at the Customs Compliance Conference organized by the Canadian Institute, Toronto, February 17, 2006.
- The Bahamas and the WTO: Presentation at the Bahamas Financial Services Board 2005 Seminar, October 5, 2005, Nassau, Bahamas.
- Pitfalls in Doing Business Abroad: Presentation at the New York State Bar Association Fall Meeting, October 7, 2004, Nassau, Bahamas.
- Import-Export, Chapter 6 of Doing Business in Canada, Matthew Bender, 2004.
- Export of Controlled Goods to Canada: Pitfalls for the Unwary, The Corporate Counsellor, Volume 18, Number 11, Philadelphia, April 2004.
- Corporate Conduct and Security of Tenure in ’Weak Governance Zones’,
- Presentation at 2004 Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Annual Convention, Toronto, March 2004.
- Canada, the U.S. and the Kyoto Protocol: Conflict Ahead? NYSBA New York International Chapter News, Winter 2004, Vol. 9, No. 1.
- Investment Treaties and the Natural Resources Sector. Joint Presentation with Robert Wisner, Natural Resources Section, Canadian Bar Association,
- Ontario Section, Toronto, November 2003.
- International Trade Agreements and Health Care: Implications for the Future, Presentation at Health Policy Summit 2003, Toronto, Canada.
- Meeting Canada’s Kyoto commitments: trade disputes ahead?, Co-authored with Ron Ezekiel, Environmental Finance London, June 2003.
- The Future of the WTO from a Canadian Perspective, Presentation at ''The 3rd Millennium Changing Paradigms'' Conference, Toronto March 2002.
- Existing Legal Structures Relating to the Exchange of Energy Across the US - Canada Border, Presentation at Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) Conference, Calgary, October 2001.
- Sauce for the Goose and Sauce for the Gander - But Which Sauce? NAFTA
- Article 1105: Different Standards of Liability for Foreign and Domestic Investors? North American Free Trade and Investment Report Vol. 9, No.20,
- Concord Mass.: World Trade Executive Inc. 1999.
- Is the Russian Bear Becoming Bearable? Presentation at the Prospectors and Developers Association Conference, Toronto, March 10, 1998.
- The 1997 Canada-Russia Income Tax Convention, Co-authored with Mark Cooper, Canadian International Lawyer. Vol. 2, No. 4, Toronto: Canadian Bar Association, December 1997.
- Economic Evolution and Legal Reform ''à la russe'', Co-authored with Chantal Jauvin, Canadian International Lawyer, Vol. 2, No. 3, Toronto: Canadian Bar Association, June 1997.
- Doing Business in Russia: A Guide for Canadian Businesspeople, Prepared with David Jones and Sergei Terentiev for publication by the Canadian Embassy, Moscow, Russia, March 1995.
- Russia and European Aluminum Import Restrictions: Maybe the GATT Would Help, East-West Executive Guide Vol. 3, No. 12, Concord Mass.: World Trade Executive Inc. 1993.
- In the Name of the Law: Legal Analysis of Denial of Pipeline Access to JV’s, (1993) Russian Petroleum Investor, November Issue, Los Angeles: Market Intelligence Group.
- A New Direction for Interpretation of Treaty-Implementing Legislation: The National Corn Growers Judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada, (1991) 5
- Canada-U.S. Business Law Review, Toronto: Carswell.
- The Concept of Non-Violation Nullification and Impairment in the Free Trade Agreement, (1989) 3 Review of International Business Law, Toronto: Carswell.
- ''Recueil des Matières'', Casebook on international trade regulation prepared for course given at University of Ottawa during 1990.
- The GATT and Canadian Import Relief Legislation in ''How to Achieve Free and Fair Trade between Canada and the United States'', Athens Ga.: Dean Rusk Centre for International and Comparative Law, 1986.
- The Iran-United States Claims Tribunal 1981-83, Book Review in Canadian Yearbook of International Law, Vol. XXIII, Victoria: U.B.C. Press, 1986.
- State Responsibility for Damage to Property Rights of Aliens, XXII
- International Law Course, Washington: Organization of American States, 1985.
- State Responsibility for Death or Injury of Aliens, XII International Law Course, Washington: Organization of American States, 1985.
- Legal Ramifications of the KAL-Soviet Shooting Incident: The Canadian Claim for Compensation, Revista del Centro de Investigacion y Difusion Aeronautica-Espacial, Montevideo, 1984.
- Claims Settlement Agreements in Canadian Practice, International Law during 1981, Canadian Yearbook of International Law, Vol. XX, Vancouver:
- U.B.C. Press, 1983.
- Joint Business Ventures in Brazil, published by Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce, Government of Canada: 1981.
- Russian (reading, basic spoken)