Export Controls & Sanctions

Being compliant with export control and sanctions legislation is of great importance for companies engaged in international trade as violation of this legislation can lead to severe penalties as well as reputational damage. Companies should therefore be very aware of the risks related to export control and sanctions and take measures to mitigate these risks.

Export Controls

Export controls are restrictions on the export, import, sale, supply and intangible transfer of ‘controlled’ goods, software and technology. The provision of certain services connected with the transaction can also be restricted.Controlled goods are items with technical characteristics specified on lists published by national governments or where their end use may also be of serious concern (e.g.for use in a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) program or delivery to foreign military). There is a wide range of technical capabilities and affect a large number of industry sectors; see below for a non-exhaustive overview.

Economic Sanctions

Economic sanctions are published at an international and national level due to foreign policy and national security concerns. They target certain persons and also specific countries or their governments (e.g. Iran, Russia, Sudan, North-Korea). The measures prevent businesses from facilitating trade with these countries.

Regulators worldwide have intensified their focus on the key role that outside actors can play in cases of sanction violations. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Treasury Department enforces economic and trade sanctions on an extraterritorial basis, requiring companies with U.S. business interests to closely monitor U.S. sanction developments. Also, the various national export control authorities in the EU Member States are increasing control measures. As a result, EU companies have recognised a growing need to update their export compliance policies and processes.

Unique Approach

Our export controls and sanctions team is embedded in a broader-based customs and trade regulatory practice. We combine in-depth knowledge and experience in the areas of export controls and sanctions with our solid background in EU customs law. Our lawyers’ experience as company lawyers further provides for business sense and a solution-oriented approach. We can call on our extensive international network of export controls and sanctions specialist lawyers to assist in both non-contentious and contentious matters.

Service Offerings

Examples of our service offerings are:

  • Export controls classification
  • License determination, application and management
  • Advising and conducting on internal investigations
  • Compliance and Export Clearance for strategic controlled goods
  • Drafting and maintaining Internal Compliance Programs (ICP)
  • Drafting and maintaining internal training programs
  • Disclosures and dealing with the authorities
  • Helpdesk and advice
  • Risk Assessments & Due diligence
  • Technology for export compliance

Representative Matters

  • advised a global waste company on sanctions against Russia and their impact on various corporate transactions under EU and U.S. sanction regimes
  • represented a technology company in legal proceedings on license applications for exports to China
  • advised an oil and gas service company on license applications to the Dutch government pursuant to EU sanctions against Russia for, among others, oil exploration projects, supplies of key technology and products for the Russian oil and gas sector
  • advised a multinational electronics manufacturer on voluntary self-disclosure concerning unlicensed exports
  • assisted in a compliance review of the design, implementation and operating effectiveness of an aerospace and defense company’s compliance organization and procedures with regard to export controls.
  • advised oil and gas exploration services and offshore construction clients on the impact of EU and U.S. sanctions against Russia on oil and gas projects
  • advised a machine construction company on license applications to the Dutch government pursuant to EU sanctions against Iran
  • conducted an internal investigation in relation to the use of financial arrangements for oil and gas projects in Russia
  • advised a global courier delivery services company on the application of EU export control rules in relation to an IT outsourcing project
  • represented a global chemical company in successful litigation against export controls decisions of Dutch export control authorities
  • advised a sustainable mobility company on the impact of EU export control legislation on their R&D operations and exports
  • advised a consumer electronics company on EU and U.S. export control classification matters
  • performed an export compliance assessment at a global freight forwarding company
  • advised a global networking and communications company on the impact of UN, EU and U.S. sanctions against Iraq
  • advised a global energy company on the impact of EU sanctions against Russia, including on the consequences of accepting a request for tender involving Crimea
  • advised a global energy company with regard to the design, implementation and operating effectiveness of an Internal Compliance Program (ICP)
  • advised a global electric utilities company on the export control consequences for the sale and export of an energy plant