U.S. Export Control and Sanctions Laws

  • Holland & Knight’s International Group assists clients with all aspects of export licensing and related regulatory issues.
  • By closely monitoring changes in public policy, our team of trade attorneys is well-equipped to assist clients with export control, compliance and regulation matters.
  • Our attorneys regularly advise domestic and foreign companies on a wide range of issues relating to economic sanctions and embargoes, including those impacting trade with Cuba, Iran, Syria and Sudan.

The Holland & Knight International Trade Group represents U.S. and foreign companies on all aspects of export licensing and regulatory issues involving the Export Administration Act, the Foreign Assets Control Regulations, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, the Trading with the Enemy Act and the International Economic Emergency Powers Act.

Dual-Use Products and Technology

Our Trade Group has considerable experience in helping companies navigate the complex issues involved in exporting “dual-use” products and technology. We have aided companies, both foreign and domestic, on issues ranging from criminal investigations of alleged export violations to developing compliance programs.

We have worked extensively with officials at the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the principal agency that administers and enforces export controls on commercial goods under the Export Administration Regulations. Our Trade Group assists clients entering the export market in determining if their products are classified under the Commerce Control List, determining whether and how certain exemptions apply, and providing advice with export clearance procedures. We also routinely work hand-in-hand with in-house export compliance staff in developing export compliance policies and procedures tailored for that company.

The following is a brief overview of some of the Trade Group’s experience in this area:

  • submitted numerous encryption export authorization requests for software and telecommunications equipment vendors
  • advised multinational companies on U.S. re-export restrictions on U.S. goods, and inter-relation between BIS rules and OFAC rules
  • assisted an aerospace company in obtaining BIS authorization to manufacture gas-turbine engine components in a foreign country
  • worked extensively with electronics subcomponent manufacturers, and semi-conductor manufacturing equipment vendors on export issues relating to China
  • advised clients on “deemed” export regulations affecting certain foreign employees of U.S. companies, and drafted compliance procedures for such companies
  • advised clients both on self-classification and formal classification on products ranging from aircraft engine technology to semiconductors to telecommunications equipment
  • represented and counseled clients on all aspects of the voluntary disclosure process in connection with potential export violations
  • represented clients under criminal and civil investigation for alleged export violations, and coordinated defense where multiple agencies (e.g., Homeland Security, Justice, BIS) were involved
  • conducted export compliance audits and assisted in drafting tailored export compliance programs and procedures for companies

Defense Trade

The Trade Group has extensive experience representing companies regarding export controls under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). We closely monitor changes in policy and practice at the State Department, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls and provide advice on issues ranging from licensing to voluntary disclosures.

Since the ITAR applies not only to military equipment, but also to a range of other technologies, including commercial satellites and certain geodetic data, we regularly assist companies in navigating this area of export compliance.

The following is a brief overview of some of the Trade Group’s experience in this area:

  • serves as counsel to the UK Ministry of Defence, providing advice regarding defense trade controls
  • prepared a detailed Guide to U.S. Export Controls for a foreign government’s distribution to its defense industry 
  • assisted numerous clients in preparing Technical Assistance Agreements for technology transfer issues, including commercial satellite technology, helicopters and submarines 
  • provided guidance to U.S. and Canadian companies on the use and limitations of the “Canadian Exemption” to ITAR
  • counseled clients on re-export license requirements for military equipment shipped to the U.S. for repair or upgrade
  • advised and assisted entities ranging from small companies to major defense contractors on voluntary disclosure issues
  • represented clients under investigation for alleged ITAR violations
  • provided pre-merger due diligence and drafted filings regarding ITAR licensing and compliance in connection with mergers and acquisitions involving defense and aerospace companies
  • assisted clients in preparing export compliance policy and procedure manuals and in conducting internal audits of export compliance 

Economic Embargoes/Sanctions

Members of our Trade Group regularly advise domestic and foreign companies on a wide range of issues relating to U.S. economic embargoes. Our lawyers have extensive experience working with the Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

The Economic Sanctions regulations affect not only U.S. companies in their potential relationships with Cuba, Iran, Syria and Sudan, but also may affect foreign companies as well, particularly foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies. Compliance with embargo laws often involves complex questions of jurisdiction, and is further complicated by the applicability of different laws and regulations to each embargoed country. We work closely with our clients on issues ranging from implementation of transaction screening procedures to representation in criminal and civil investigations of potential violations.

The following is a brief overview of some of the Trade Group’s experience in this area:

  • obtained emergency authorization from OFAC to allow transactions relating to the salvage of a vessel that grounded in Cuban waters
  • advised a multinational chemical company on U.S. re-export restrictions regarding Iran, Syria, Sudan, and on foreign manufactured chemicals containing partial U.S. content
  • advised a major non-U.S. air carrier regarding embargo restrictions affecting U.S. operations
  • routinely advised clients regarding the scope of embargo regimes relative to non-U.S. subsidiaries of U.S. corporations
  • partnered with a major software company to develop KnightGuardian,TM, a sophisticated software solution for automatically screening transactions against various government barred party lists
  • helped a client in licensing sales of medical equipment to Iran pursuant to humanitarian exceptions
  • successfully petitioned the government to remove a vessel from the black list of vessels barred from entry into the United States 
  • obtained OFAC license for a client to repossess aircraft leased to an entity later placed on embargo list
  • assisted clients in establishing procedures for screening Internet sales to comply with embargo restrictions
  • represent and advise various religious and humanitarian organizations regarding OFAC licensing for Cuba and Sudan