Blank Rome’s international trade team provides practical and innovative solutions to problems arising in international trade.
With extensive experience in export controls, trade sanctions, customs and import regulation, anti-dumping and other trade remedies, foreign acquisitions of U.S. businesses, trade agreements, defense industries, and other areas detailed below, our experienced team in Washington, D.C., is well positioned to assist domestic or overseas clients with global trade issues.
How We Can Help
- Compliance—We work with clients on a daily basis to develop and administer compliance plans, provide day-to-day operating advice, secure necessary licenses and approvals, navigate recordkeeping and reporting requirements, and provide training and instruction.
- Corporate Transactions—Trade compliance is an essential prerequisite of many mergers, acquisitions, securities offering, lending agreements and other corporate transactions. We support these transactions by reviewing corporate compliance plans and policies, conducting due diligence on current compliance practices, ensuring deal documents address trade compliance risks and responsibilities, and assisting parties with necessary licenses, filings and reports.
- Investigations and Enforcement—Working with Blank Rome’s extensive white collar defense and investigations group, our international trade team represents clients in a broad range of trade-related cases and proceedings before regulatory agencies and courts. Our team has extensive background in internal investigations, voluntary disclosures, and other strategies to address enforcement and compliance issues efficiently and expediently.
- Policymaking, Government Relations and Diplomatic Outreach—Our Washington D.C.-based international trade team works on a daily basis with policy-making agencies, guiding our clients on the impact of new and proposed regulations and policies. We represent our clients’ interests before federal agencies to help shape agency regulations, trade agreements and other initiatives. Together with our colleagues in Blank Rome Government Relations LLC, we have broad capabilities to advocate for sound trade policies before the Congress and Executive Branch agencies. Our team also maintains strong working relationships with numerous foreign embassies in the U.S., allowing us to work on cooperative, practical solutions to emerging trade issues.
Blank Rome supports our clients in the export of goods, services, and technology. We work with all relevant agencies, including the U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (“DTC”) with regard to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS") with regard to Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”).
Our services include working with clients on commodity jurisdiction determinations, product classifications, export and re-export licenses, and Automated Commercial Environment (“ACE”) filings. Our concentrations include exports of military and non-military goods, defense services, technology, software, encryption controls, and “deemed export” transfers to non-citizens.
We represent clients in connection with export violations and government investigations, voluntary and directed disclosures, and internal compliance audits. Our team crafts clients’ compliance plans and policies, provides export and defense security compliance training, and advises on recordkeeping and documentation requirements. We also provide export compliance due diligence and other support for corporate transactions (such as mergers, public offerings, and loan agreements).
Our team also advises clients in connection with the antiboycott laws administered by BIS, which restrict U.S. companies from furthering or supporting certain foreign boycotts.
Our team provides experienced advice and representation on economic sanctions matters before the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), the Department of State and other agencies. We advise on sanctions compliance in connection with international transactions, handle OFAC licensing matters, develop and review compliance plans and procedures, provide training, represent parties in connection with subpoenas, investigations and enforcement proceedings, prepare voluntary disclosures, and represent parties in connection with Specially Designated Nationals de-listing petitions. We conduct sanctions-related due diligence in connection with corporate transactions, asset sales and loan agreements, and guide clients with regard to sanctions clauses in transaction documents and other agreements. We also represent parties before the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Sanctions Policy and Implementation in connection with Iran “secondary sanctions” on third-country targets.
Customs and Import Compliance
Blank Rome has in-depth experience in the whole range of matters that arise under the jurisdiction of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), including administrative proceedings before CBP and judicial proceedings before the federal courts. These areas include tariff classification and valuation, country-of-origin determinations and marking matters, declaration and valuation of production assists, and drawback claims.
We also support clients with compliance assessments and regulatory audits, penalty and forfeiture proceedings, detentions and seizures, import duty protests, petitions against improperly classified competing imports, and enforcement of intellectual property rights against infringing imports.
Our team advises clients with respect to their participation in tariff preference programs such as North American Free Trade Agreement (“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. We also guide clients in connection with in-bond entries/transits, Foreign-Trade Zone admissions/transfers, consideration of privileged/non-privileged admission and use in further manufacturing (duty deferral/reduction). We serve clients in compliance with the Foreign Trade Regulations (“FTR”) administered by U.S. Census Bureau, including filings with Census for exports, voluntary disclosures, Census/BIS investigations, and settlement of penalty assessments. Our team also assists clients in establishing and improving their internal customs compliance programs, including the development of measures designed to eliminate or minimize exposure to antidumping duties.
With regard to CBP’s role in maritime transportation, our team is a recognized leader in coastwise (“Jones Act”) regulations, including enforcement proceedings and overseas “new and different product” ruling letters, as well as vessel repair duties.
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), 301 (retaliation authority), and 337 (unfair import practices) of the Tariff Act of 1930. These include:
- Antidumping duty orders to address injurious market penetration by private party unfair price manipulation
- Representation of petitioners and respondents in initial investigations by the U.S. International Trade Commission and International Trade Administration and in various on-going (often annual) reviews of “unfair trade” remedy procedures
- Countervailing duty orders to address unfair export subsidization by foreign governments
- Actions against other unfair import practices such as IP infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, trade dress infringement, passing off, and false advertising
- Safeguard actions against increased imports, seriously injuring domestic industry
Our attorneys 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, lemon juice, and fertilizer. Our clients have included U.S. producers, importers, and exporters.
In addition to trade remedy proceedings, Blank Rome’s attorneys participate in fact-finding studies conducted by the U.S. International Trade Commission under Section 332 of the Tariff Act of 1930.
Foreign Investment Controls
We have experience in advising and representing clients in connection with inbound foreign investment transactions that may be subject to review by the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”). Such experience includes evaluating whether a voluntary submission to CFIUS should be made, and if so, developing and implementing a strategy, preparing a submission, and negotiation with CFIUS regarding conditions necessary for a favorable outcome.
Arms Import and Manufacturing
We support clients in connection with the regulations administered by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“BATFE”) for the permanent importation of items from U.S. Munitions Import List (“USMIL”) and the manufacture and domestic transportation of explosives, weapons, and other USMIL items. Our services include application of BATFE regulations to specified activities, licensing (including preparation, filing, and counseling), BATFE investigations of possible violations, and defense and compromise of proposed violations.
National Industrial Security Program, Defense Security Service, and Facility Clearances
We support defense sector clients in connection with the purchase and sale of companies with a Defense Security Service (“DSS”) Facility Clearance for classified work, and notification to DSS of transactions involving Facility Clearances, including preparation of notification materials. Our experience also includes negotiation of Mitigation Agreements for foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies with Facility Clearances (including Special Security Agreements and Proxy Board documents), as well as analysis of the scope of mitigation of foreign ownership, control, or influence (“FOCI”) on U.S. companies with a Facility Clearance.
Transportation, Maritime and Logistics
Our team has extensive experience in connection with international shipping and logistics regulations, including licensing and regulation of carriers and freight forwarders by the Federal Maritime Commission ("FMC"), Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, and other agencies. We are also experienced in a broad range of FMC matters, including FMC trade proceedings administering sanctions to counteract overseas restrictions on U.S. companies in the shipping, ports and logistics sector.
Foreign Sovereign Immunity
We have counseled and advised foreign governments, state-owned enterprises, and foreign government contractors regarding sovereign immunity issues, including invocation of Vienna Convention rights protecting diplomatic and consular personnel and records in US judicial and administrative proceedings.