The U.S. export controls and economic sanctions regimes are some of the most complicated and dynamic areas of the law. The rules and regulations rapidly change in response to foreign policy and geopolitical developments, affecting virtually every industry.
U.S. export controls govern the shipment and transfer of goods, software, technology, and services across national borders. Companies face real compliance challenges when they ship or transfer goods, software, technology, and services across national borders; engage in global M&A activity; outsource patent applications abroad; or allow access to certain information by non-U.S. employees. These controls also apply to purely domestic transfers (so-called “deemed exports”), where controlled technology or information is shared with non-U.S. persons (such as a H1-B visa holder) within the United States.
Nixon Peabody has broad experience with U.S. export laws and regulations, including the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) administered by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) administered by the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), and the Foreign Trade Statistics Regulations (FTSR) administered by the Census Bureau.
We handle all registration, licensing, and export control compliance requirements. We help clients overcome regulatory hurdles and delays that can hinder exports, and provide practical advice on how to obtain the necessary authorizations and license exceptions. Our attorneys understand the legal and policy considerations that affect export licensing decisions, as well as the agency procedures that drive regulatory interpretations and decision-making. We also work with our clients to develop and implement export compliance programs to minimize the risk of potential export control violations. When necessary, we conduct internal investigations, prepare voluntary disclosures, and defend against civil and criminal enforcement actions. Our attorneys also advise and assist companies that engage in global M&A activity in doing due diligence and in negotiating language for proposed transactions to avoid violations of U.S. export control laws and regulations.
The vast framework of U.S. economic sanctions includes trade embargoes, asset freezes, import/export bans, and designations of blocked persons and entities with whom a U.S. person may generally not do business. These sanctions affect companies in every industry. We help clients understand and navigate the complex and dynamic rules governing trade with sanctioned countries and their nationals, and have counseled clients regarding all major U.S. sanctions regimes administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
Violations of U.S. export control laws can result in criminal sanctions. Penalties can reach 20 years imprisonment and fines of up to $1 million for each violation. Administrative penalties could be the greater of $500,000 per violation, or twice the amount of the transaction causing the violation. Violations can also lead to the revocation of export privileges and suspension, or debarment from government contracts.
Industries and products
Some of the industries and products covered by our export control and economic sanctions advice include:
- Analytical magnetic resonance instruments
- Aviation and aerospace equipment and tooling
- Computer products
- Defense contractors
- Diamonds and diamond-based products
- Fatty acid and glycerin production
- Food and agricultural products
- GPS-tracking devices
- Industrial equipment and tooling
- Lasers and laser-based products
- Marine technology
- Medical devices
- Military electronics
- Molecular spectroscopy technology
- Nuclear, biological, and chemical detection equipment
- Precision ammunition and ordnance components
- Reflectorless measurement technology
- Source code
- Spectrometers and microscopes
- Submarine equipment and tooling
- Super-hard materials and synthetics
- Telecommunications equipment
- X-ray systems
We can help
At Nixon Peabody, we are here to help business leaders and their organizations through the steps necessary to ensure an understanding of and compliance with the export control and economic sanction regime. Our services and advice can help provide clients the necessary assurance that they are abiding by the rules that govern our global environment.