The International Trade Group at Holland & Knight represents U.S. and foreign companies, institutions, associations, and foreign governments on virtually all aspects of international trade matters. Through our familiarity with the trade policy process in the United States, our contacts within the Executive Branch and Congressional offices and committees, and our experience in the application of U.S. trade laws, and multilateral and bilateral trade agreements, we can assist clients in understanding trade issues and resolving trade problems. We are well versed in dealing with the regulatory agencies that oversee international trade matters and regularly appear before these agencies. As a result of doing business in and with many countries around the world, our Trade Group has developed an in-depth understanding of differing business cultures and legal systems. This experience and knowledge provides a direct benefit to our clients.
Our Trade Group has experience in all aspects of Customs matters. We represent clients before local port officials, at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) headquarters, and before the Court of International Trade. Our attorneys have experience handling such matters as tariff classification and valuation issues; administrative protests; prior disclosures; rulings and internal advice proceedings; penalty proceedings; country of origin and marking issues; drawback claims; and duty preferences under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and other tariff preference regimes. We also represent companies in obtaining ruling letters on such issues as valuation, classification, marking, preference programs, Foreign Trade Zone programs, and advising companies on participation in C-TPAT (Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism). Our experience also includes the preparation of compliance programs that are tailored to the size and operations of a company, conducting compliance audits, and representing companies in fines and penalty matters and in customs investigations.
U.S. Export Control and Sanctions Laws
Our Trade Group represents and counsels both U.S. and foreign companies as well as foreign governments on all aspects of export licensing and regulatory issues, including “dual use” exports under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), defense exports under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and U.S. embargo laws and regulations. We regularly represent clients before the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DTC) and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). In addition, our Trade Group has extensive experience assisting clients in enforcement actions, voluntary disclosures, licensing (including complex Technical Assistance Agreements under the ITAR), commodity classification and commodity jurisdiction requests, and deemed export issues relating to foreign nationals employed in the U.S. We advise foreign and multinational companies on the complex issues arising from the re-export of U.S. products and the extraterritorial application of U.S. embargo laws. We also have extensive experience assisting clients in developing export compliance programs, training, and audits (including merger due diligence).
Our Trade Group represents the interests of foreign governments and U.S. and foreign industries before the agencies of the United States Government, the United States Congress and multilateral financial institutions. We partner with our clients to determine the desired trade policy outcomes, create a detailed plan to implement those outcomes and then strive to effectively lobby the relevant governmental and international entities to achieve the desired result.
Representations have included, among others, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the governments of the United Kingdom, El Salvador, all five Central American countries, Turkey, Senegal, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, as well as a broad range of foreign commercial interests. We also have considerable experience with the GATT, WTO, CBI, NAFTA and other trade agreements. Our Trade Group has advised and provided counseling in trade negotiations regarding market access for goods and services in unilateral (GSP, CBI), bilateral and multilateral (GATT, WTO, NAFTA) trade agreements, and in bilateral services and investment issues.
Holland & Knight has an active international trade litigation practice, including participation in antidumping, countervailing duty, safeguard (Section 201) proceedings before the Court of International Trade, and other trade remedy litigation. For two decades, we have initiated representations on behalf of domestic and foreign manufacturers, trade associations and multinational trading companies. Our Trade Group has extensive experience providing counsel and representing clients in original investigations, administrative review, changed circumstances reviews, scope determinations anti-circumvention investigations and sunset reviews. In addition, our Trade Group has extensive experience in litigation of Customs cases and those of other trade agencies before the Court of International Trade.
The rise of globalization has caused an increase in cross-border corporate acquisitions, including in the defense industry. Due to the national security implications of this trend, the United States Government has strengthened requirements of control over foreign investment in certain U.S. high-tech and defense industries. Holland & Knight’s strong trade and government contracts background has allowed our firm to play a leading role in this emerging area of the law.
- Exon-Florio – We have represented numerous clients before the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), regarding foreign direct investment in the United States. We regularly advise clients on CFIUS issues, including whether a transaction should be reported to CFIUS, preparing the joint notification to CFIUS and representing clients in the CFIUS review process.
- FOCI – U.S. laws regarding Foreign Ownership, Control, or Influence (FOCI) generally prohibit a foreign-owned or foreign-controlled U.S. company from obtaining the facility security clearance necessary to bid on or perform classified U.S. government contracts, without specific government approval through the process of FOCI mitigation. Our Trade Group conducts negotiations with the Departments of Defense, Energy and Justice on behalf of clients to develop negotiation plans, and advises on how transactions might be structured to best anticipate FOCI concerns.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
Our Trade Group has extensive experience in representing and counseling U.S. and foreign companies with regard to corruption-related issues. We represent U.S. and foreign companies of all sizes in numerous industries, from the very small to the largest companies in the world. There are few, if any, factual scenarios that we have not addressed. Members of our Trade Group have lectured around the world on corruption matters, set up compliance programs and held training seminars for U.S. companies and their overseas subsidiaries, conducted numerous internal investigations on potential corruption issues throughout the world and represented companies in U.S. enforcement proceedings. In addition, members of our Trade Group have written extensively on the FCPA, including Doing Business Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a leading textbook on the subject.
Our Trade Group has broad experience in advising U.S. companies and their foreign subsidiaries on the application of the U.S. antiboycott laws. Our experience on antiboycott matters extends to both the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the Tax Reform Act (TRA) and also includes setting up antiboycott compliance programs, conducting training, representing companies in voluntary disclosures and enforcement actions, conducting compliance audits, and lecturing in the U.S. and around the world on U.S. antiboycott matters.
Our Trade Group regularly advises U.S. companies, including financial institutions and mutual funds, on a wide range of anti-money laundering (AML) issues. We have experience establishing AML compliance programs, advising on the reporting of suspicious activities and enhanced due diligence requirements, establishing customer identification and documentation requirements, and reviewing and preparing customer/investor profile forms to obtain the requisite information.