Background - Practices (Details)

Export Controls


Export controls and sanctions regulations present significant challenges and potential compliance risks for global companies. The U.S. government regulates transfers of goods, technology, software, and other products and services to foreign destinations as well as to foreign persons within the United States and abroad. These controls are far reaching, extending to direct transfers of goods, technology, software, and services from the United States, "reexports" of certain U.S.-origin items and technology from one foreign country to another, and reexports of certain foreign-manufactured items containing U.S. content. They also apply to transfers of technology to foreign persons within the United States and U.S. persons working for foreign companies. Other governments have their own export control and sanction regulatory regimes, creating complex compliance obligations with practical and commercial implications for businesses, including problems with inventory management and shipping delays.

With lawyers across North America, London, and Brussels, Crowell & Moring's International Trade Group advises clients on the full range of laws governing exports and reexports of goods, technology, software, and services. In conjunction with our full-service international policy and regulatory affairs affiliate, C&M International, and our international network of experienced, knowledgeable local counsel, we assist clients in gaining access to markets beyond the United States and the European Union (EU), including Hong Kong, Israel, and Singapore, as well as across Central and South America. Our U.S. and Brussels trade practices are consistently ranked among the world's leading practitioners by Chambers USA and Chambers Global, which cite our work in numerous areas, including export controls and economic sanctions.

With respect to the EU and its 28 Member States, our European lawyers advise on legislation regarding export controls of dual-use and defense-related items, including intra-EU transfers of defense-related items and EU economic sanctions regimes. Our U.S. lawyers routinely train and counsel clients on compliance with the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) of the U.S. Department of Commerce governing commercial or "dual-use" items, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) of the Department of State governing defense articles and services, and sanctions and embargoes of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Department of the Treasury, which target specific countries and designated nationals. We also advise on controls implemented by other agencies, including the Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the scope of foreign filing licenses under U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) regulations. 

Our clients include a variety of large and small companies such as high-tech companies in the semiconductor, software, and software encryption industries, manufacturers in the aerospace and defense industry, producers and distributors of specialty chemicals, and providers of financial services and insurance. We also represent airlines and air freight forwarders, which are also subject to export controls and sanctions, and have unique compliance responsibilities and challenges as transportation providers. We know that our clients' needs, budgets, business models, and time frames vary, and our advice and compliance strategies are designed to meet each client's unique situation.

Our services include the following:

  • Advising on licensing requirements and preparing license and agreement applications
  • Performing internal investigations and assisting with voluntary disclosures
  • Performing compliance audits
  • Designing and implementing compliance programs
  • Performing jurisdictional assessments and preparing requests for commodity jurisdiction determinations
  • Assisting in self-classification of products and preparing requests for commodity classification requests
  • Performing export control/sanctions due diligence reviews related to proposed mergers and acquisitions
  • Representing clients in civil and criminal enforcement proceedings
  • Training on export control procedures and requirements