litigation

International Trade

A global team offering integrated legal, commercial and politically sensitive solutions

Dechert’s international trade and government regulation team advises major companies, governments and financial institutions on the requirements and enforcement of international trade regulations affecting clients’ operations around the world. Our team of lawyers located in London and Washington, D.C. also counsels on investigative, preventive and remedial measures to help clients keep in compliance and successfully resolve breaches if they occur.

The multilingual team is uniquely qualified. It includes experienced lawyers; former national and multinational (EU) officials, including regulators, compliance officers and enforcement agents; trade negotiators; and political and public affairs advisers. This composition results in integrated legal, commercial and politically sensitive counsel and solutions.

In connection with our economic sanctions, export controls, anti-corruption and anti-money laundering work, we:

  • Conduct internal investigations, audits and internal reviews on trade compliance.
  • Develop, implement and improve compliance programs.
  • Conduct due diligence on third party partners and in connection with planned mergers and acquisitions.
  • Represent clients before local, national and international authorities.
  • Analyze the impact of regulatory policy developments on global operations of multinationals.
  • Develop and conduct training programs on compliance.
  • Assist with license applications and requests for advisory opinions.
  • Advise on dispute settlement on bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.
  • Assist companies and governments in the negotiations of trade deals.
Experience

Economic sanctions and trade embargoes

  • publicly-traded U.S. high technology company with operations in more than 100 countries to audit its approach to compliance with international economic sanctions laws: identifying gaps, recommending corrective actions and establishing a tailored global compliance program.
  • Clients across multiple industries and geographies of the impact of changes to sanctions regulations, including with respect to Iran, Cuba and Russia, among other jurisdictions, to their ongoing operations as well as in connection with potential corporate transactions.
  • Senior officials of a major European bank in connection with a U.S. government investigation of potential violations of U.S. economic sanctions.
  • major aerospace manufacturer on sanctions policies and compliance across three jurisdictions.
  • major European energy provider on all aspects of their sanctions and export control compliance policies.
  • One of the biggest providers of engineering services on sanctions in relation to Russia, Iran and Syria.

Export controls

  • U.S. and EU manufacturers of telecommunications equipment and related software in making and resolving voluntary disclosures to the Commerce and Treasury Departments in the U.S. and EU.
  • subsidiary of a major U.S. defense company with an export compliance audit.
  • global provider of business and financial news services to carry out an internal investigation into unlicensed transfers of controlled products from its European distribution center.
  • Japanese manufacturing company on EU and UK export control compliance.
  • leading testing and calibration company on EU export controls.
  • An engineering company on EU/French export control policy.

Anti-money laundering

  • Latvian bank JSC Multibanka in connection with a FinCEN enforcement action. Conducted internal review and advised regarding reform of AML practices and internal controls to the satisfaction of FinCEN, such that proposed imposition of “special measures” under the USA PATRIOT Act was withdrawn.
  • Multiple financial institutions, including banks, stockbrokers and insurance companies, with regard to reviewing AML systems and procedures.
  • An oil company on matters including anti-money laundering, in relation to a UK National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation. NCA investigated allegations that payments were made for the benefit of a former government official in exchange for lucrative oil contracts. We managed two dawn raids carried out by the NCA, including challenging the scope of the search warrants executed by the NCA, and other ancillary matters.

Anti-bribery

  • Fortune 500 manufacturing company in an FCPA investigation of alleged bribery of Middle Eastern officials.
  • Fortune 500 medical device manufacturer in an anti-corruption internal investigation into whether the company’s discount and sales practices breached the FCPA and/or French law.
  • The board of a global technology company regarding shareholder derivative claims related to FCPA violations.

Suspension and Debarment

  • senior official of a major non-U.S. defense manufacturer in connection with proposed debarment by the U.S. Department of Defense, stemming from an FCPA investigation.
  • European provider of humanitarian aid products and services in connection with a USAID investigation into bid-rigging and fraud.
Economic sanctions and trade embargoes

Dechert lawyers know far more than the published regulations and guidance. They advise on the practical scope, interpretation, application and jurisdictional nuances of the rules and the discretion exercised by enforcement authorities such as the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and European regulatory agencies, including the UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI). Our lawyers help clients with transactions, investments and exports as well as relationships with subsidiaries, employees and third parties who may raise compliance concerns. We provide a clear risk assessment of prohibited activity and commercially viable, legitimate business opportunity.

Export controls

Our lawyers advise on the requirements of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) administered by the U.S. Department of State. We also advise on the requirements that apply to “dual use” items under the EU Dual Use Regulation and the EU’s Common Military List, and requirements administered by the UK Department of Business, Innovation & Skills’ Export Control Organization (ECO) and other authorities in individual EU Member States.

FCPA, UK Bribery Act and other anti-bribery laws and regulations

The team works with companies across borders to create and implement risk-based anti-corruption compliance programs that detect and prevent violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), UK Bribery Act and similar laws elsewhere in the world.  Our lawyers counsel compliance officers, senior management, audit committees and boards of directors on sensitive matters including voluntary disclosure, discipline of employees and remediation.

Team members represent clients in internal and government investigations involving corruption, commercial bribery, bribery of foreign government officials and violations of local laws in Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. We also have experience with multilateral development bank anti-corruption investigations, audits and sanctions proceedings. We coordinate multi-jurisdictional and parallel investigations.

Anti-money laundering

Dechert lawyers advise on anti-money laundering litigation and enforcement matters before U.S. federal and state courts, and in administrative proceedings brought by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and U.S. federal financial regulators. Our team also represents UK and EU clients before UK and European financial regulatory authorities and works with Dechert’s cross-border investigations white collar defense group when clients face investigations and criminal prosecution. Team members serve as representatives to the Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group, as Skilled Persons in anti-money laundering inquiries and reviews for the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and as representatives to the global funds industry in Paris before the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Customs procedures and supply chain management

Customs procedures are highly specialized and technical. Our lawyers advise on the:

  • Completion of Export Customs Declarations
  • Appropriate customs documentation and statistical declarations for presentation to customs authorities
  • Product classifications, including Binding Tariff Informations (BITs)
  • Customs valuations
  • Complex rules of origin and preference calculations
  • Customs audits
  • Use of duty relief programs
  • Storage and movement of duty suspended goods
  • Accreditation under “trusted trader” programs like the EU’s Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) and the U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership against Terrorism (C-TPAT)
National security reviews of foreign direct investment

In the United States, the Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) is authorized to review foreign investment in a U.S. business that may affect U.S. national security. It is essential to consider CFIUS implications of a transaction early to prevent the transaction’s delay or collapse. Our lawyers advise foreign and domestic buyers, sellers and third parties on the CFIUS review process and similar national security review processes imposed by governments in Europe, Asia and around the world. We help determine whether to bring a transaction before the committee, assemble the required information and materials for a voluntary filing and negotiate mitigation agreements. We also advise on strategies to address any political and policy considerations.

Dechert also advises on the potential effect of ongoing policy discussions on the creation of investment control policies at the EU level.

Trade negotiations and Brexit

The team supports trade negotiations between the EU, UK and third country governments, with particular emphasis on the Brexit negotiations between the EU and the UK. Clients rely on Dechert to:

  • Identify core objectives for the negotiations
  • Analyze and assess the negotiating objectives
  • Evaluate technical and legal proposals tabled by the parties
  • Provide negotiations support to influence the negotiating teams through analysis and briefs
  • Undertake detailed economic and political impact assessments of negotiating proposals
  • Support the drafting and presentation of sound political, economic and legal arguments and counter proposals
  • Develop and implement comprehensive engagement strategies aimed at key decision makers
EU internal market policy

The EU provides a significant commercial opportunity to global businesses. Because many businesses are confused by the complex network of European institutions, legislation, policies and languages, they fail to fully expand their business activities in the internal market. Our team helps clients understand, comply with, influence and contest the rules and decision-making of EU institutions and their implementation by EU Member States. Clients learn to:

  • Identify the legislation, policy and industry standards that apply to their business.
  • Develop effective EU internal market compliance programs.
  • Anticipate regulatory changes and quantify their potential impact.
  • Challenge regulatory norms and legislative proposals persuasively.Understand and influence legislative proposals and decision-making.
  • Contest Member States’ implementation of EU rules through infringement proceedings.
  • Gain access to EU funding schemes.Assess the compatibility of EU policies with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.
EU policy development

Our goal is to minimize potential trade barriers and the negative impact of European regulation on the client’s business. Because many European operators have resource constraints, our lawyers help companies that operate in the EU or those that trade with European counterparts weigh in on EU policy development and shape tomorrow’s regulatory requirements. Clients benefit from our strategic analysis and solutions that overcome their legal and political challenges. 

EU regulation and government affairs

Our lawyers advise governments, trade associations and companies that operate in Europe or trade with European counterparts on compliance with a wide range of legal and regulatory requirements. We help clients navigate the complex network of regulation, legislation and standards that govern EU and broader global policymaking, and work to minimize the potential negative impact of current and future European regulation on their business activities. We develop persuasive legal, political and economic challenges to the status quo or plans for reform as well as effective influencing campaigns that target EU decision-makers, challenge EU Member States’ implementation of EU rules through infringement proceedings and handle legal and policy requirements for EU regulatory approvals and licenses.

EU regulation infringement

When a company believes it has been adversely affected by inconsistent application or enforcement of EU rules, the team can engage the European Commission to institute infringement procedures against the member state for alleged non-compliance. We advise on the process for submitting an infringement complaint to the Commission as well as on when, how and whom to engage at both a national and European level to build support for corrective action. Our approach is to work through the EU institutions to highlight the degree and seriousness of the infringement and the member state’s legal responsibility. Should the Commission’s “letter of formal notice” to the member state fail to deliver, our lawyers help the client present legal argument to persuade the Commission to commence legal proceedings before the EU’s Court of Justice or the General Court in Luxembourg.

EU trade legislation and policy

Our lawyers offer governments, trade associations and commercial clients legal and strategic policy advice on EU bilateral, regional and multilateral trade agreements; WTO Doha Round and accessions to the WTO system; and the EU’s Generalised System of Preferences. Our lawyers are experienced negotiators and include former EU and international trade negotiators who have participated at a senior level in the EU’s trade negotiations with third country governments. We analyze all legal, regulatory and policy issues likely to be raised during negotiations, the complex division of competence between the EU and its Member States and challenges that may arise in particular sectors.

FISA

Team members advise clients on the delicate issues that arise when a company receives a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) order or national security letter and negotiate the best options for response. Our experience includes high-level service in the U.S. Department of Justice, advising the president, U.S. Attorney General and senior intelligence community officials on the most sensitive national security legal matters, including FISA requirements and limitations. This government experience includes playing a central role in the executive branch’s efforts to work with Congress to reform FISA, and in the public debates and hearings leading up to the 2008 enactment of sweeping FISA amendments. Dechert partners are often called upon to present testimony in Congress and other forums, and to speak and write on the statutory and constitutional issues surrounding the government’s surveillance authority under FISA.

Trade defense measures

Our lawyers represent clients in all aspects of an EU anti-dumping and anti-subsidy proceeding.  We help clients complete questionnaire responses, draft injury submissions, prepare for and attend on-the-spot verification visits by Commission officials, provide representation at hearings before Commission officials and strategically engage all levels of the Commission and Member State administrations. We also offer strategic advice to clients who wish to prepare for future anti-dumping actions or cope with the impact of an anti-dumping measure, including the use of interim and sunset reviews, assistance with anti-absorption and anti-circumvention investigations, the use of undertakings and ultimately refund applications.

Anti-boycott compliance

The U.S. government prohibits cooperation with foreign boycotts of countries friendly to the United States. The complex rules apply not only to U.S. companies and individuals but also to foreign affiliates doing business in the Middle East and elsewhere. The team advises clients on substantive prohibitions and exceptions, related tax implications and reporting obligations. We perform internal compliance reviews, help draft voluntary disclosures and represent clients before government enforcement proceedings.

Suspension and Debarment

We regularly advise clients with respect to suspension and debarment proceedings before U.S. government agencies and international financial institutions (IFIs). We assist clients in improving compliance policies, demonstrating present responsibility, and negotiating settlement agreements with government suspension and debarment officials.

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