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Export Controls & Economic Sanctions

Transacting international business while complying with the myriad patchwork of US and international trade controls is an increasingly complicated endeavor.

Technology advances at an exponential rate, the structure of international business transactions is ever more complex, and international politics, as well as the rules governing export trade and economic sanctions, change on nearly a daily basis. At the same time, governments' and investors’ compliance expectations have reached unprecedented levels.

Our Team

We assist our clients in anticipating and exceeding those expectations while maximizing the return to the business. We offer a full-service export control and economic sanctions practice, advising clients on US and international trade controls requirements with an emphasis on compliance, counseling, investments, and disclosures.

  • With over 125 years combined experience, including US Government and in-house experience, our team has breadth and depth of knowledge in multiple industry sectors.
  • We advise clients daily on export controls, defense trade controls, economic sanctions, and antiboycott compliance issues.
  • We provide comprehensive services including counseling, classification, licensing, opinion writing, and auditing the most sophisticated worldwide systems.
  • We are advocates with a proven track record defending our clients and achieving favorable resolutions of civil and criminal investigations and enforcement actions.

ArentFox Schiff counsels clients on US and international export control laws, including:

  • Department of Commerce Export Administration Regulations and Foreign Trade Regulations
  • Department of State International Traffic in Arms Regulations
  • Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations on the export of nuclear equipment, material, and technology
  • Food and Drug Administration and Drug Enforcement Agency regulations
  • Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and Department of State economic sanctions
  • Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosive regulations

Our Work

Compliance with the Export Administration Regulations (EAR)

We advise on all aspects of compliance with the Department of Commerce and the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) regulations, including enhancing compliance programs; licensing; classification of commodities, software, and technology; license exceptions; encryption; deemed exports / reexports; diversion risks; proliferation concerns; military end use and end user and military intelligence end user rules; de minimis and foreign direct product rules; enforcement actions and negotiating penalties; emerging and foundational technologies, training; and export documentation requirements (AES / ACE) under the Export Administration Regulations and Foreign Trade Regulations.

Compliance with the ITAR

We advise clients on compliance with the Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) regulations (ITAR). We provide advice on enhancement of compliance programs; benchmarking; registration; licensing; commodity jurisdiction and classification of commodities, software, technical data, and defense services; brokering; licensing exemptions; identifying technical data and defense services; Part 130 compliance; training; investigations, voluntary and directed disclosures; audits; enforcement actions and negotiating penalties; and strategic guidance.

Embargoes and Sanctions/OFAC

We advise US and non-US clients on trade and banking compliance with the full range of US and multilateral sanctions and embargoes administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Departments of State and Commerce against sanctioned countries, regions, entities, and persons. Our work includes compliance and strategic advice; advisory opinion requests; negotiating enforcement actions and penalties; investigations; delisting; and licensing.

US Anti-Boycott Compliance

We advise our clients on compliance with US laws penalizing companies from participating in unsanctioned foreign boycotts. Our team routinely counsels clients on the substantive proscriptions and reporting obligations under both the US Commerce and Treasury Departments’ anti-boycott laws. We design anti-boycott compliance systems; train US and foreign personnel; conduct compliance audits and internal investigations; and defend clients before the Commerce Department’s Office of Antiboycott Compliance (OAC) and the Internal Revenue Service.

Compliance and Investigations

  • Compliance Programs: We have worked with clients of all sizes to develop and enhance comprehensive programs to ensure compliance with ITAR, EAR, sanctions and embargoes, and other export control and sanctions regulatory regimes. Our compliance program advice always addresses the needs of business operations and takes into consideration implementation and training. 
  • Audits: We conduct both government-directed and company audits of export controls and sanctions. Our most recent work consisted of a directed audit for a large multinational aerospace company that was directed by DDTC. 
  • Disclosures: We regularly assist clients with investigations; determinations of whether a disclosure is required; drafting initial and final disclosures; and follow up with US Government agencies. Additionally, we assist clients in identifying root causes and implementing corrective actions. 
  • Mergers & Acquisitions: Assist both acquirers and targets with the due diligence and US government filings (e.g. ITAR, CFIUS) associated with M&A activities.
  • Government Investigations: We assist clients with a wide range of government visits and inquiries, ranging from visits and letters to administrative and criminal subpoenas and search warrants. 

US Security-Related Regulation

Our team assists foreign companies in filing Exon-Florio notifications with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). We also assist clients who wish to invest in US companies with security clearances from the Department of Defense under its Foreign Ownership or Control or Interest (FOCI) rules and advise clients on The Economic Espionage Act of 1996 and for the Agents Registration Act.

Key Contacts