Blank Rome provides practical and innovative solutions to problems arising in international trade. Our clients are global, trading both ways across borders, and include a wide range of entities from Fortune 500 companies to independent traders operating in a variety of industries and in agriculture.
We bring to our clients an unusual blend of regulatory, transactional, tax, intellectual property, and litigation experience, combined with trade policy knowledge. This combination allows us to advise clients with respect to the most difficult regulatory and transactional issues, as well as assess the impact of trade policy considerations on their ability to conduct business internationally. As detailed below, Blank Rome provides advice on all aspects of international trade regulation, including customs, antidumping and countervailing duty laws, global compliance issues, and trade agreements and treaties.
Trade Remedies and ITC Practice
The trade group actively participates in proceedings brought under U.S. trade remedy laws, including the antidumping and countervailing duty statutes, Sections 201 (safeguards provisions) and 301 (retaliation authority) of the Tariff Act of 1930, and Section 22 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act.
The group’s lawyers have represented industry and agriculture in trade cases involving a wide variety of products, including automobiles and auto parts, rubber and tires, television sets, glass, chemicals, cameras, electronic components, ball and roller bearings, steel, ferroalloys, pipes and tubes, ironing boards, wood and wood products, paper and paper products, leather, textiles, hand tools, honey, lemon juice, cattle, lamb meat, salmon, and fertilizer. Our clients have included U.S. producers, importers, exporters, and governments.
In addition to trade remedy proceedings, Blank Rome's attorneys regularly participate in fact-finding studies conducted by the U.S. International Trade Commission under Section 332 of the Tariff Act of 1930.
Customs and Border Protection
Blank Rome has in-depth experience in the whole range of matters that arise under the jurisdiction of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, including administrative proceedings before Customs and judicial proceedings before the federal courts. These areas include tariff classification and valuation; country-of-origin determinations and marking matters; compliance assessments and regulatory audits; penalty and forfeiture proceedings; and drawback claims, entry/departure, security, coastwise trade, and vessel repair duties.
In addition, our team assists clients in establishing and improving their internal customs compliance programs, including the development of prophylactic measures designed to eliminate or minimize exposure to antidumping duties. We help firms identify and manage risk, develop policies and procedures to meet their compliance needs, and audit the effectiveness of their compliance programs. Our comprehensive compliance systems encompass both U.S. import and export regulations.
The trade group also advises clients with respect to their participation in tariff preference programs such as NAFTA, the Generalized System of Preferences, and other special regimes, as well as with provisions establishing preferential tariff treatment for U.S. goods exported and returned to the United States.
Blank Rome provides a range of services related to the export of goods, services, and technology. We work with all regulatory offices, including the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, and the Bureau of Industry and Security. Our services include working with clients to obtain commodity jurisdiction determinations, product classifications, and export licenses; representation in connection with export violations, internal compliance audits, export and defense security compliance training, and due diligence for corporate transactions. We also provide clients with comprehensive systems to ensure compliance with both U.S. export and import regulations.
Trade Agreements and Treaties
We also closely track global events that may affect our clients’ interests, including the progress of the WTO Doha Development Round of multilateral trade negotiations, and the recent proliferation of Free Trade Agreement negotiations the U.S. has undertaken with a number of countries. We regularly provide advice and assistance to clients in connection with NAFTA, the Customs Modernization Act, and various agreements within the WTO Agreement. We help clients develop strategies to use WTO dispute resolution and U.S. trade agreements to resolve market access issues.
International Business Transactions
We have extensive experience in negotiating and structuring international business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, licensing agreements, distributorship and sales agency arrangements, and cross-border secured-financing transactions. Our attorneys represent clients in multiparty countertrade/barter transactions and offsets.
In structuring our clients’ cross-border transactions, we seek to achieve their business goals while providing mechanisms that protect them in the sometimes uncertain international market. We also ensure that such structures satisfy the requirements of the jurisdictions connected to the transactions and that the effects of the relevant tax laws have been taken into account. In appropriate cases, we represent clients before the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CIFIUS) and the FOCI Branch of the Defense Security Service.
In connection with our clients’ international transactions, we advise on the appropriate type of corporate entities required for their projects and coordinate the formation of those companies in the relevant jurisdictions in the United States and throughout the world. To ensure that our clients’ management goals are met in their companies’ international operations, we regularly advise on corporate governance issues for U.S. and international companies.
We also provide ongoing advice to our clients in their foreign business operations. We have developed a global network of international counsel with whom we consult on local commercial, investment, tax ,and other laws to ensure that clients receive advice that is correct from a local law viewpoint and that is consistent with the clients’ overall goals. In conjunction with Blank Rome's maritime practice, we also regularly advise clients on issues relating to repair bonds.
Blank Rome’s patent litigation attorneys have represented numerous clients in infringement suits and declaratory judgment actions, both on the patent enforcement and defense sides. Blank Rome’s patent attorneys are registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and hold bachelor’s and advanced degrees in chemical, mechanical, electrical, environmental, or nuclear engineering, or in physics or life sciences. By education and experience, these attorneys are equipped to handle technologies in virtually every industry, including emerging areas such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, and electronics. In the international area, Blank Rome has established itself as one of the leading firms in successfully prosecuting and defending intellectual property cases under the jurisdiction of the ITC.
Blank Rome’s trademark lawyers represent clients in suits based on federally registered marks and also in actions based on infringement of common-law trademarks, trading in “gray goods,” misappropriation of trade dress, and related acts of unfair competition, such as passing-off and false advertising. Our trademark attorneys have experience in counseling and representation in connection with inter partes proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, before the various U.S. courts, and before the ITC, involving all substantive aspects of trademark, trade dress, and unfair competition law. Also, Blank Rome’s lawyers advise clients on the intersection of trademark and country-of-origin marking issues.
Experienced Attorneys, Recognized in Their Fields
Our attorneys actively participate in organizations that shape and inform international trade issues. Examples of our involvement, past and present include:
Member, U.S. NAFTA Chapter 19 Roster of Panelists, to hear disputes under the trade remedy laws
Past member, Advisory Committee on Rules of the United States Court of International Trade
Former counsel to the chair of the President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations
Past member, U.S. Industry Advisory Policy Committee (providing advice to the President on NAFTA and Uruguay Round trade agreements)
Past chair, American Bar Association’s Section of International Law, International Trade Committee
Past director and chairman, Judicial Selection Committee of the Customs and International Trade Bar Association
General counsel, secretary, and treasurer, Association of Women in International Trade
Past president, Association of Women in International Trade
Board member, Association of Women in International Trade
General counsel, Women in Federal Law Enforcement
Member, Mergers, Acquisitions & Divestitures Task Force, Society for International Affairs