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Supply Chains & Trade

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Crowell & Moring is working with Fortune 100 companies and their regional and local affiliates in Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East on responses to the issues arising out of the supply chain disruptions and health and safety measures resulting from COVID-19. Our lawyers understand these challenges and take a risk-based approach to assess, customize, and implement solutions for our clients, wherever their operations are based around the world.

Global companies have business activities that span multiple jurisdictions with varied administrative, regulatory, legislative and judicial environments. Compliance in such diverse settings was already an extremely challenging task before the pandemic hit, and now those difficulties have increased exponentially.

The supply chain disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic are in many ways unprecedented. Existing supply chains around the world have undergone restructuring in order to meet customer demands. Global security, shortages, and product quality have all been impacted by the coronavirus. Factory shutdowns have caused delays in both inspections and deliveries. An inability to receive requisite supplies has led to failures in manufacturing and order completion, and, as a result, delivery delays have been rampant across virtually every industry.

Employers also need to consider how supply chain disruptions affect managing employees, vendors, agents, contractors, and subcontractors. They should pay special attention to compliance with international laws and regulations such as re-enforcement of training for local management and employees on compliance with employee handbooks, codes of conduct, and ethics policies, and to ensure that foreign suppliers are not using forced labor to lower costs and make their products more competitive.

Our team been dealing with these issues from the earliest days of the crisis, and has helped many companies adapt to the new environment and get their businesses running smoothly and efficiently again.

Current Supply Chains and Trade COVID-19 Representative Matters Include:

  • Advising health care nonprofit on its collaboration with manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, distributors, group purchasing organizations, and trade associations to create a data exchange platform. The parties will use the platform to share information, best practices, and strategies among key parties in the health care supply chain in order to further efficient management of supply and distribution across U.S. healthcare providers during the COVID-19 crisis.   
  • Advising a major consumer products manufacturer and a big box retailer on supply chain disruption issues related to coronavirus, including devising a workaround for inspection and random sampling testing ordinarily conducted on site and with contract dispute resolution on execution of a recall where the supply was delayed pending factory shutdowns.
  • Advising a pharmaceutical company regarding supply chain disruption issues related to its inability to receive API from its suppliers and the resultant inability to perform for its customers.
  • Advising a pharmaceutical company on whether the U.S. government would consider waiving the TAA requirement for certain pharmaceuticals that could be used in connection with coronavirus.
  • Advising a major multinational biopharmaceutical company on its strategy for communicating to policymakers from around the world the implications of COVID-19 for global supply chain security, shortages, and quality of both active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and finished dosage forms (FDF).
  • Advising a major government contractor on customer engagement and notification strategy to address delivery delays due to supply chain disruptions.
  • Advising a major industrial client on antitrust risk management issues associated with supply chain, production, and sales collaborations with competitors.
  • Advising a Fortune 50 company on international issues related to managing international workforce in order to comply with the ever changing landscape of new rules and regulations implemented in connection with the global coronavirus pandemic, including review and guidance on global and in country company policies for health checks and remote working, use of annual and sick leaves, delays in hiring and cross-border secondments, data privacy, and government reporting.
  • Responding to questions from a major global technology company on local government guidance in Asia related to the coronavirus outbreak in response to questions on health checks for employees and vendors entering company facilities.