Economic Sanctions, Export Controls, CFIUS & Geopolitical Risk


In a changing world, Blank Rome’s International Trade group helps clients navigate complex checkpoints on the movement of goods, technology, and investment across borders.

We have deep experience across key geopolitical risk and national security disciplines, including economic sanctions, export controls, foreign investment review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”), and supply chain security.

Our team is uniquely positioned to assist with the emerging international risk issues of the 2020s. We advise a global client base on cutting-edge issues of the day, including complex and fast-moving sanctions regulations, export controls on advanced and emerging technologies, CFIUS review of inbound foreign investment, and supply chain security requirements.

We have vast industry experience that helps us to provide turn-key solutions tailored to the particulars of each client’s enterprise. Our team has advised clients around the world across an array of industries, including aerospace and defense, semiconductors, emerging technologies, software, telecommunications, financial, freight forwarding and logistics, and energy.

We provide a comprehensive suite of services for clients managing international risk matters, including day-to-day counseling, strategic planning, transactional due diligence, advice on mergers and acquisitions, internal investigations, development of compliance programs, submission of filings and disclosures to governmental authorities, government enforcement proceedings, and advocacy before regulators.

In order to provide comprehensive services to our clients, we work closely with other highly regarded groups within Blank Rome, including our Corporate, Government Contracts, Maritime, Intellectual Property & Technology, and White Collar Defense & Investigations teams.

How We Can Help

Economic Sanctions

Our team provides experienced advice and representation on economic sanctions matters before the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), the U.S. Department of State, and state authorities. We have extensive experience across all OFAC sanctions programs, including sanctions relating to Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and China, as well as OFAC’s activity-based sanction programs, such as Magnitsky and non-proliferation sanctions.

We provide the following services for clients on sanctions matters:

  • Advise on sanctions compliance in connection with international transactions
  • Conduct sanctions-related due diligence on mergers and acquisitions
  • Handle OFAC licensing matters
  • Develop and review compliance programs
  • Represent parties in connection with subpoenas, investigations, and enforcement proceedings
  • Prepare and submit voluntary disclosures to OFAC
  • Compliance audits
  • Development of compliance programs
  • Advise non-U.S. clients on the secondary sanctions implications of U.S. sanctions programs
  • Provide sanctions compliance training
  • Represent parties in connection with petitions to be removed from sanctions lists
Export Controls

We advise clients in all aspects of export controls, including matters arising under the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (“DDTC”).

We provide the following services for clients on export control matters:

  • Counseling on cross-border transactions
  • Product and technology classification analysis
  • Preparation and submission of licensing, commodity jurisdiction, and classification requests
  • Compliance audits
  • Development of compliance programs and provide export compliance training
  • Representation of parties in connection with subpoenas, investigations, and enforcement proceedings
  • Preparation and submission of voluntary and directed disclosures to BIS and DDTC
  • Advice on issues relating to the U.S.-China strategic trade competition
  • Industry-specific advice, including with respect to aerospace and defense, semiconductors and electronics, emerging technologies, telecommunications, cybersecurity, sensors and lasers, chemicals, and materials processing
  • Advice on compliance with anti-boycott regulations and related reporting requirements

We have experience in advising and representing clients in connection with inbound foreign investment transactions that may be subject to review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”).

We provide advice with respect to the following matters relating to foreign investment and CFIUS:

  • Assessment of CFIUS jurisdiction in the context of foreign investment in U.S. businesses and real estate
  • Advice regarding whether a CFIUS filing is required or recommended
  • Preparation and submission of CFIUS filings, and related advocacy
  • Negotiation of mitigation conditions and assistance with implementation
  • Complex issues relating to critical technologies
  • Advice regarding fund formation and early-stage investments
Customs and Supply Chain Security

We advise clients across a range of legal regimes regarding customs and supply chain security, providing services related to:

  • The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (“UFLPA”) administered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • Preparation and submission of voluntary and directed disclosures to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”)
  • Advice on compliance with customs classification and valuation requirements
  • Advise U.S. and non-U.S. companies on NAFTA, USMCA, and other Free Trade Agreement rules of origin requirements
  • The Information and Communications Technology and Services (“ICTS”) rules administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 regarding prohibited telecommunications equipment
  • Supply chain rules in the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (“DFARS”)
  • The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act


  • Represented an international firmware developer in an export controls enforcement proceeding with the U.S. Department of Commerce, which concluded without any penalties being imposed.

  • Advise large auto manufacturer regarding geopolitical risk issues, export control classification of its technology, implementation of its compliance program, and day-to-day counseling matters.
  • Conducted a cross-border sanctions internal investigation for a global logistics provider.
  • Advised a semiconductor developer / government contractor with respect to export control and CFIUS issues identified in the course of its sale to a European investor, including an internal investigation of compliance issues, preparation and submission to DDTC of a voluntary disclosure, and review of a CFIUS mitigation agreement, resulting in closeout of DDTC matter without penalty and clearance of transaction by CFIUS.
  • Represented a German multinational company in its acquisition of a U.S. company that developed and manufactured commercial and ITAR-controlled items and technology, including preparation and submission of a CFIUS filing, responding to questions from CFIUS, and export control-related due diligence.
  • Advise a large U.S. software company regarding its cross-border sales and operations, including with respect to its exit from Russia and management of Russia-related risk, and its exposure to geopolitical risk issues arising from the U.S.-China strategic competition, including the designation of certain of its customers on the Entity List.
  • Advised several global accounting firms in exiting Russia following imposition of OFAC sanctions.
  • Conducted a cross-border sanctions internal investigation for a large French company.
  • Conducted a comprehensive export controls compliance audit across the three subsidiaries of a U.S. defense contractor mainly focused on the aerospace and space industries, including site visits throughout the United States and 30+ interviews.
  • Assisted a company in responding to a subpoena and submitting voluntary disclosures to regulators regarding its exports of defense articles to Ukraine in support of Ukraine.
  • Advise a UK software company serving the airline industry with regard to its compliance with sanctions laws.
  • Advise a U.S. helicopter transportation company regarding export control issues related to its provision of search and rescue services to foreign governments and other parties outside the U.S.
  • Advised a Latin American steel producer regarding sanctions matters.
  • Advised a European multinational company in its acquisition of a medical device company, including diligence of the target company’s exposure to certain export controls and economic sanctions risks.
  • Conducted internal investigations for the UK and Italian subsidiaries of a large aerospace and defense company.
  • Conducted an export controls internal investigation for a U.S. cybersecurity company.
  • Conducted a sanctions risk assessment for an Australian mining company.
  • Conducted a sanctions risk assessment for a Norwegian energy company.
  • Advised semiconductor foundry / government contractor in acquisition by an investor, conducting comprehensive export control classification assessment of the company’s products and liaising with buyer’s counsel.
  • Advised private equity sponsor on ten-figure acquisition of large cybersecurity company / government contractor, leading international trade due diligence, identifying material compliance issues, negotiating a special indemnity in the purchase agreement, driving remediation of the compliance issues, and taking the transaction through closing and successful closeout of enforcement matter by authorities.
  • Advised Japanese electronics company on its entry into U.S. defense business, including with regard to strategic planning, obtaining an ITAR registration, and implementing compliance policies and procedures.
  • Represented a Chinese shipping line regarding sanctions impose on the company’s tanker fleet.
  • Represented one of the world’s leading technical advisory and classification firms, on international sanctions, in light of its previous role providing safety certification, verification, and technical expert services on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
  • Advised shipping and energy clients on compliance with U.S./EU/G7 countries’ restrictions and “price cap” on trade in Russian oil and energy products and conferring with Biden Administration officials on how to implement at an industry level.
  • Represented a major global petrochemical transportation and logistics company before the U.S. Department of State in connection with the shipment of Kurdish petroleum products across Iran for export.
  • Represented a major maritime flag state and vessel mortgage holder in connection with an OFAC actions against ship-owners smuggling petroleum in violation of Iran sanctions.
  • Conducted an internal investigation on and prepared a voluntary disclosure to the U.S. Department of State regarding possible violation of the brokering rules of ITAR in connection with sales of defense articles by a foreign subsidiary of a U.S. company.
  • Provided ongoing export control advice to a Fortune 500 company manufacturing military vehicles regarding the application of U.S. export control laws to numerous different transactions.
  • Advised a satellite software company on the application of U.S. export control laws to the sale of satellite software to satellite operators in numerous countries.
  • Advised a U.S. company engaged in research and development of alternative energy sources regarding the application of export control laws on the military application of their products, including joint ventures with foreign manufacturers.
  • Advised a U.S. company with a foreign subsidiary that manufactures defense articles on the structuring of company operations to comply with U.S. export control laws.
  • Advised a U.S. subsidiary of an Italian defense industry company regarding the application of U.S. export control laws related to the import and export of defense articles.
  • Advised a Canadian software company regarding application of U.S. re-export control laws on software with U.S.-controlled content.
  • Represented U.S. firm in disclosure to OFAC of possible violations of Russian sanctions program.
  • Represented U.S. electronic supply company in a U.S. Department of Commerce investigation related to unauthorized exports of controlled raw material to manufacturing subsidiaries in China and the Philippines.
  • Assisted a Fortune 500 manufacturing company in connection with due diligence and internal investigations, as well as the preparation of voluntary disclosures to the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of State related to unauthorized exports of technical data and controlled items.
  • Prepared technical assistance agreements for a U.S. subsidiary of an Italian weapons manufacturer for U.S. Department of State authorization to export technical data and defense services in connection with establishing a U.S. manufacturing facility and in participating in various foreign military sales programs, including obtaining various licenses from the ATF.
  • Prepared guidelines for U.S. and foreign affiliates of a Fortune 500 healthcare company on compliance with U.S. sanctions laws.
  • Assisted a Fortune 500 company in the preparation and filing of licenses and technical assistance agreements with the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Commerce to authorize the export of manufactured products and technical data to numerous foreign countries.
  • Represented large German company (with a large Chinese shareholder) in the transport sector in CFIUS review of its acquisition of a U.S. company with advance driving technology.
  • Represented U.S. manufacturer in disclosure to U.S. Customs and Border Protection of possible violations of import requirements.
  • Advised U.S. firm on country of origin marking requirements and Buy American rules for items imported from China.
  • Represented multinational telecom company in voluntary disclosure to and resulting audit by Customs.
  • Represented textile product manufacture in seeking customs rulings on classification and country of origin for imported products.
  • Advised Chinese firm in the services sector on potential U.S. secondary sanctions implications from its work for Russia companies.
  • Advise U.S.-based multinational company in the petrochemical and engineering sector on sanctions, export control, and antiboycott compliance.
  • Represented U.S.-based multinational refining company in voluntary disclosure of anti-boycott violation.

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