Melisa is a Partner of R&T Asia (Thailand) Limited.
Melisa has more than eighteen years’ experience in Thailand, representing multinationals in trade & customs matters, as well as in all aspects of their licensing and compliance requirements. She has a particular expertise in complex regulatory matters involving foreign ownership issues, anti-bribery, competition, and data protection, focusing on both compliance and investigations. Melisa’s practice focuses on highly regulated industries such as telecoms, tobacco, alcohol, insurance, pharmaceutical, food & beverages.
Prior to joining Rajah & Tann, Melisa spent fourteen years in Thailand with two U.S. based international law firms, and brought with her to Rajah & Tann a well-established team of experienced practitioners with the collective experience to fulfill the broad spectrum of client needs.
Melisa’s long-term Thailand experience, coupled with her knowledge of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, provides her with a unique ability to meet the complex needs of clients in highly regulated industries. She is also able to draw on many years’ experience in both Corporate M&A and Dispute Resolution matters to provide an effective bridge for clients experiencing investigations by Thai regulators, particularly in areas with little or no precedent. Melisa’s particular strength also lies in having a team which has worked with her for many years in high-profile deals and investigations, enabling clients to draw on the collective experience of a team which is recognized for the quality of its work product and responsiveness to client needs.
Her experience includes:
Customs & Trade Law
- Representing a leading tobacco importer in its successful appeal to the Thai Board of Appeal against an uplift of their declared customs values on imports from the Philippines.
- Representing a leading tobacco importer in its settlement of a customs valuation dispute with Thai Customs.
- Representing a leading tobacco importer in its customs valuation dispute with the Department of Special Investigations.
- Advising the Government of the Philippines in its WTO Panel dispute against Thailand in respect of imports of cigarettes from the Philippines.
- Advising a NYSE listed alcoholic beverages company on customs valuation disputes, as well as its settlement of a dispute with Thai Customs.
- Advising a NYSE listed alcoholic beverages company on its use of preferential tariff rates.
- Advising a Japanese automotive exporter on a potential tariff classification dispute involving its subsidiary in Thailand.
- Advising a Japanese importer of vehicles and automotive parts on its use of JTEPA.
- Advising a Japanese pharmaceutical company on its importation and licensing of pharmaceutical products.
- Advising Japanese steel mills in Thai Government safeguard proceedings.
- Advising Japanese steel mills in Thai Government anti-dumping (sunset review) proceedings.
Regulatory & Investigations
- Advising a NYSE listed alcoholic beverages company during their FCPA investigation by the U.S. SEC.
- Advising a U.S. heavy vehicle manufacturer on an issue regarding compliance with anti-corruption laws.
- Advising various European manufacturers on reporting obligations under National Anti-Corruption Commission regulations.
- Advising a leading credit card company on its cross-border data protection issues.
- Advising a leading medical devices manufacturer on its data protection issues.
- Advising a European telecommunications company on a foreign ownership investigation by the Ministry of Commerce and Economic Crime Division.
- Advising a European telecommunications company on its shareholdings in a Thai mobile telecommunications company, including concession and 3G-related issues.
- Advising the U.S. shareholder of a life insurance company on its compliance with foreign ownership restrictions applicable to life insurance companies.
- Advising a leading tobacco manufacturer on Thai regulatory matters involving tobacco products, specifically packaging, labeling and advertising restrictions and issues relating to disclosure of ingredients.
- Advising a European telecommunications company on its acquisition of stakes in a Thai listed mobile telecommunications company.
- Advising a Singaporean holding company on its acquisition of stakes in a Thai listed mobile telecommunications company.
- Advising a PRC gaming company on its establishment of a joint venture in Thailand.
- Advising a European cement company on the divestment of its business in Thailand.
- Advising a private equity fund in the acquisition and subsequent divestment of a bookstore chain in Thailand.
- Advising a U.S. life insurance company on the divestment of its business in Thailand.
- Advising a U.S. heavy vehicle manufacturer in its acquisition of a wholly-owned manufacturing business.
- Advising a U.S. manufacturer of environmental lining solutions in its acquisition of a wholly-owned manufacturing business.
- Representing an Australian food manufacturer in Thailand.
- Representing a U.S. importer and manufacturer of ATMs in Thailand.