Export Controls, Economic Sanctions, Foreign Anti-Corruption, and Imports

Client and Industry Challenges

U.S. laws on export controls, economic sanctions and foreign anti-corruption apply to transfers of U.S. products and technology, and to transactions and services involving foreign persons, entities, and governments. These laws impose restrictions on exports, re-exports, the provision of technology, including technical information through visual or oral disclosures to foreign parties while in the U.S. known as "deemed exports," and restrict the activities of U.S. persons abroad. 

Individuals and companies face potential strict liability for violations of these regulations. Export controls and economic sanctions are also volatile and frequently updated. The scope and jurisdiction of these laws expands to foreign subsidiary and branch offices, subcontractors, other agents, and foreign parties with certain U.S. nexuses. Domestic operations are also subject to these regulations. Inadvertent deemed exports can occur in the course of regular business activities, such as plant tours and hiring decisions.  

Our attorneys offer in-depth and efficient analysis and counsel on the impact of export controls and economic sanctions, the Foreign Corruption Practices Act (FCPA), and other foreign anti-corruption laws for all sizes and types of business operations. Our general compliance analyses include audits to determine compliance levels and risk exposure based on the relevant industry standards, official guidance, and geopolitical considerations. 

Areas of Service

Our export control and economic sanctions related services include:

  • Preparing foreign transactions policies and procedures, including export and anti-corruption such as restricted party screening and licensing determinations 
  • Preparing compliance manuals and providing training for management and employees
  • Assisting in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) registration for manufacturers, exporters, and brokers
  • Preparing and filing applications for commodity jurisdiction requests from the U.S. Department of State to ascertain whether goods are subject to the export regulations administered by the Department of State or the U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Determining the proper classifications and applicable export licensing requirements for a particular product or technology
  • Preparing and assisting in filing license applications with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls and Bureau of Industry and Security and assistance in communicating with these agencies during the interagency license review process
  • Ensuring on-going compliance with export license terms and conditions
  • Ensuring compliance with C-TPAT and other international trade security programs
  • Conducting audits and internal investigations related to compliance and certification, including C-TPAT procedures
  • Developing and implementing remedial strategies and actions following the detection of export controls and economic sanctions violations
  • Preparing voluntary and directed disclosures related to violations
  • Representing clients before government agencies, including the Department of Justice, the Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC), the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, Bureau of Industry Security and Customs and Border Protection in subpoena responses, enforcement proceeding, and seizures. 

Our attorneys can further assist in preparing Technical Assistance Agreements, Manufacturing License Agreements, Warehouse and Distribution Agreements, as well as in monitoring compliance with these agreements after approval. 

We can also assist in mergers and acquisitions, or foreign investments involving foreign parties in transactions potentially subject to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) jurisdiction by:

  • Advising in regard to foreign operations, especially wholly owned subsidiaries, branch offices, commercial agency relationships, ITAR brokering and Maquiladora arrangements
  • Reviewing letters of intent, nondisclosure, and other agreements to ensure inclusion of export control and economic sanctions safeguards and compliance with applicable regulations
  • Auditing current export license requirements and identifying whether licenses are required prior to the exchange of information necessary to due diligence and other expected transfers of technology
  • Performing pre-acquisition due diligence audits to protect acquiring companies from successor liability for past export control and economic sanctions violations by a target company
  • Submitting license and registration notifications, amendments and agreement novations, and developing an export controls transition plan to ensure continuity of post-acquisition business operations

Clients We Serve

Snell & Wilmer attorneys provide compliance counseling on export controls, economic sanctions, foreign anti-corruption, and imports in a wide range of industries, including defense, aerospace, semiconductor and related technologies, telecommunications, software, chemical and pharmaceutical, shipping, food & beverage and other industries producing products for dual-use (defense and commercial) applications. Our attorneys foster collaboration and open communication with our clients' internal legal staff, experts, and other local counsel to defend our clients and exceed their goals, needs and expectations.

Why Clients Select Us

Commitment to Our Clients: Each of our foreign transactions attorneys is dedicated to providing our clients with superior legal services on a timely, effective and cost-efficient basis while maintaining the highest standards of professional integrity. We partner with clients to design economic sanctions, foreign anti-corruption, and imports compliance programs that not only ensure adherence to the law but facilitate the efficient movement of products and technology to meet business demands without unnecessary delays due to regulatory obstacles. Furthermore, we strive to use the latest technological advances to enhance and expedite client requests and interactions.

Dynamic Cross-Border Capabilities: In addition to our office in Cabo, Mexico, our firm is an active member of Lex Mundi, the leading association of the world’s top 160 independent law firms. Through our involvement with this recognized worldwide resource, our clients can have the confidence that they will receive quality representation from an elite selection of law firms with local market knowledge. This extensive network, together with Snell & Wilmer's offices in the United States, enables us to stay on the forefront of our profession and to provide legal services to our clients in more than 76 countries worldwide. We regularly collaborate with our colleagues to handle matters with multiple jurisdictional implications. 


Export Control Matters

  • Registration, licensing, voluntary disclosures and other compliance matters and administrative proceedings under the International Trade in Arms Regulations (ITAR).
  • Obtain technical assistance (TAA) and manufacturing license agreement (MLA) for companies that will manufacture U.S. munitions list and other defense products abroad. ITAR controls often extend to traditionally civilian hardware and technology when they are used as components of defense articles. We have also advised companies on export control programs and record-keeping requirements
  • Export licensing and export control programs for companies shipping semiconductors and other high-tech products and related technology under the U.S. Department of Commerce controls. The Export Administration Regulations (EAR) provide controls for the licensing of civilian and dual use articles and technology
  • Advising companies with exports and transactions that may be subject to OFAC economic sanctions and embargoes. These include exports and re-exports to countries such as Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, and several other sanctions regimes of varying scope.
  • Advising companies on deemed exports. Agencies enforcing export controls view these transfers of information as if they were actual exports to the foreign nationals' home countries and licensing or screening is often required
  • Representing companies and individuals in regard to the FCPA and related anti-corruption laws of other countries, including the U.K. Bribery Act, alleged violations, investigations and prosecutions

U.S. Customs and Import Matters

  • Tariff classification, valuation (transfer pricing), setting up overseas sales structures to minimize duties; use of free trade treaties such as the USMCA, use of foreign trade zones, subzones and bonded facilities
  • Advice and compliance with Customs' cargo security programs such as C-TPAT and "10&2" (importer security filing)
  • Advice on antidumping and countervailing duty investigations and orders
  • Customs audits and penalty proceedings
  • Immediate response to Custom seizures and related investigations to ensure minimal disruption to supply chain processes

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