Laura van der Meer is the managing partner of Kelley Drye’s Brussels office. Laura is dedicated to assisting her clients in understanding and navigating complex international and European policy and legislative processes to better protect and advance their interests and market positions. Her practice includes the identification of opportunities, advocacy, analysis and strategic development and deployment, including position development, coalition building and drafting of position papers and written submissions, as well as direct outreach to governments and opinion leaders to achieve her client’s policy and legislative goals at the national or multinational levels.
Laura and her team monitor the international and European legislative and policy landscapes, providing early warning of key developments and trends. She assists her clients to comply with evolving legislation and policy, and to anticipate change to facilitate long- and short-term business planning. Laura designs and works with her clients to implement multidimensional advocacy strategies that protect and advance their commercial, operational and reputational interests. A member of the firm’s Export Control and Sanctions Compliance team, she also assists companies with international trade compliance, including internal and external investigations, development and implementation of export compliance programs, and business operations in conformity with restrictive measures imposed by the EU and/or its member states.
Laura has significant experience with international treaties, conventions and regulations and processes under the auspices of the United Nations, World Trade Organization, World Animal Health Organization and other international bodies that increasingly dictate or motivate national legislation applicable to businesses. She represents client interests in the global economy with the goal of both anticipating and influencing the progression of international laws and policies that advance their commercial interests and preserve their freedom to operate.
In her third decade of practice and a resident of Europe since 1999, Laura has lived and worked in the United States, Belgium, the Netherlands, Hungary and Switzerland. Her diverse personal and professional experiences enable her to appreciate and bridge cultural differences, helping clients to avoid misunderstandings and missed opportunities when operating in foreign markets, and enjoy credibility with European policymakers when representing clients.
Alliance of Aquatic Mammal Parks and Aquariums, international counsel, 2007–present:
- Supports the association and its members to monitor and effectively engage in decision-making processes concerning marine mammals at the international level.
European Association for Aquatic Mammals, European counsel, 2008–present:
- Devises and deploys strategies and advocacy to support marine mammal parks in species and habitats conservation, public education and awareness and sustainable tourism in Europe.
Fédération Mondiale du Cirque, Monaco, executive director, 2008–2015:
- Established and led a global effort to promote and preserve circus arts and culture under the patronage of H.S.H. Princess Stephanie of Monaco.
Advising biotechnology, pharmaceutical and food companies regarding new and proposed legislation, including proposed schemes for environmental liability, labeling, requirements for genetically modified foodstuffs, pharmaceutical approvals and the domestic implementation of international environmental agreements.
Analyzing and drafting comments concerning draft legislation, guidance and/or policies on biotechnology and/or biosafety of more than 40 countries for consistency with applicable international obligations, workability and effectiveness.
Leading a coalition resulting in a European Commission proposal to change EU laws concerning visa rules for live-performance touring companies and artists in the EU.
Training company personnel concerning compliance with EU and national laws governing the export of dual-use items.
Counseling companies on compliance with EU directives and regulations in the environmental and consumer protection fields, including those applicable to plant protection products, biotechnology, foodstuffs, food packaging and pharmaceuticals.
Obtaining permits for international trade of regulated animal species.
Identifying business impacts of the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Aarhus Convention on Access to Environmental Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice, and its Supplementary Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers.
Heading a coalition of major U.S. and European pharmaceutical companies to achieve the exclusion of human pharmaceuticals from the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the appropriate treatment of confidential business information.
Representing companies and trade associations to revise existing resolutions under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) to encourage the adoption of more practical solutions to the international movement of endangered species for commercial activity, education, captive breeding and/or other conservation purposes.
Advising companies and trade associations concerning legal and policy issues related to the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, including access to and use of genetic resources, proposed liability schemes, regulation of biotechnology and alien invasive species.
Providing information, advice and advocacy, including communication with the U.S. Congress, for a major U.S. energy company with respect to legal and political issues under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and implementation of the Kyoto Protocol to promote broader consideration of the relevant economic, trade and equity issues.
Developing “model laws” to assist countries with implementing their obligations and international agreements concerning biotechnology and liability.
Providing advice, outreach materials and strategic direction to avoid the inappropriate restriction at the international level on the use of innovative technologies in the field of agriculture.