International Trade Compliance

Extensive compliance experience to navigate the sometimes turbulent waters of international trade.

Meet the team

Locke Lord lawyers have extensive experience assisting clients navigating the sometimes turbulent waters of compliance with international and domestic trade (export and import laws), economic sanctions regimes, bank secrecy, anti-money laundering, anti-bribery / anti-corruption laws, and assisting non-U.S. vendors with certain U.S. government contracting regarding technology and restricted items. Whether you are buying and selling goods and services across borders, or acquiring companies and assets that trade internationally, our lawyers are prepared to help you meet every aspect of compliance and due diligence. We advise clients in a wide range of industries, including:

  • Auction services
  • Aviation
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Financial services
  • Gaming
  • Health care
  • Hospitality
  • Insurance
  • Manufacturing
  • Media
  • Military and weapons
  • Mining
  • Oilfield services
  • Public administration and government
  • Retail
  • Water and utilities

Export & Import Controls

Our international trade lawyers help clients comply with the key categories of regulatory requirements governing exports from the United States including:

  • The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) administered by the State Department's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) which applies to defense and military-related exports
  • The Export Administration Regulations (EAR) administered by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) which applies to export of commercial or dual-use products and technology
  • Foreign-Direct Product Rules that are part of the U.S. sanctions program prohibiting sales of U.S. technology to embargoed governments, countries, companies and persons
  • U.S. anti-boycott regulations

We regularly guide clients through the U.S. manufacturing licensing and registration processes for sensitive goods, import and export processes for goods, services, technology and data of all kinds. As instructed, we interface directly with governmental regulators on behalf of clients. We also help clients to comply with banking regulations to facilitate timely cross-border transaction payments.

We can also help companies register with the appropriate governmental agencies to:

  • Manufacture restricted items
  • Properly authorize an “empowered official
  • Develop effective compliance programs to manage manufacturing, licensing, importing, and export reporting and recordkeeping for restricted items
  • Properly determine origin of goods for “made in [USA]” classifications
  • Develop and maintain a foreign national employee technology control plan for ITAR and EAR-controlled Information
  • Establish effective information walls.


Our lawyers provide effective guidance for compliance with U.S. economic sanctions administered by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), including trade embargoes, asset freezes, export/import restrictions and designations of denied parties for trade purposes. Our team closely tracks the evolving restrictions in this area to ensure our clients' ability to conduct business within the full scope of permissible activity. Our lawyers determine whether particular activity may violate OFAC sanctions or coordinate compliance with other sanctions regimes such as EU, UN or UK programs as well as assist in obtaining licenses to transact with embargoed parties. We have helped clients be removed from embargo lists as well as obtain licenses to dispose of assets held in accounts of embargoed persons.

U.S. Customs and Border Control

We represent clients on U.S. import compliance matters, including tariffs, duty drawbacks, country of origin determinations and other trade treaties, ruling requests, classifications, valuations, protest and prior disclosures to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and representation in administrative hearings regarding CBP seizure of goods.

Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)/Anti-Money Laundering (AML)

BSA and AML requirements are becoming increasingly important topics for all businesses, and not just financial institutions. Our lawyers provide regulatory and advice and compliance counseling on a broad range of BSA/AML matters, including drafting policies and procedures, assessing a company’s Customer Identification Program obligations, reviewing Suspicious Activity Reports, responding to Section 314(a) requests, assisting with regulator examinations, providing insights into enhanced due diligence measures and other protective measures to avoid interaction with unsavory counter-parties and blocking of payments. A lack of effective policies, procedures and internal controls to detect and report such activity can lead to possible criminal and civil penalties as well as reputational harm. Our lawyers provide critical guidance and support to all types of institutions and individuals regarding their obligations to comply with AML laws, rules and regulations.

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)

The climate surrounding compliance with anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws has intensified. Our lawyers are experienced in handling the most complicated matters involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other international anti-corruption laws, including identifying and addressing corruption risks related to transactions, and a review of FCPA compliance programs.

Federal Acquisition Regulations (FARs)

Our lawyers provide effective advice to help non-U.S. vendors become GSA-scheduled suppliers or to otherwise enter into profitable transactions with the U.S. government as a contractor or sub-contractor.
For all of the above legal disciplines, we provide the following services:

  • Advisory. We provide legal interpretation on the application of laws, rules and regulations to specific transactions, products and services as well as the potential legal and regulatory risks associated with such transactions, products and services.
  • Due Diligence. We conduct due diligence compliance reviews and audits of clients' existing and prospective agents, distributors, joint ventures and counter-parties' trade compliance programs and procedures as part of ongoing evaluation and monitoring programs, pre-acquisition reviews of such relationships and for mergers and acquisitions.
  • Compliance Program Development. We routinely work with clients to develop tailored compliance programs that are practical and accessible, aimed to prevent, deter and detect potential violations of trade law.
  • Examinations. Audits and inspections may give rise to formal enforcement actions by regulators. Locke Lord lawyers have considerable experience preparing clients for audit and reviewing materials prior to regulatory disclosure to ensure accuracy and completeness — you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Whether the exam is part of the regulator’s routine schedule or triggered by complaints by aggrieved customers, Locke Lord lawyers are experienced to guide you through the process for best possible outcomes.
  • Training. We provide both awareness and detailed process level training to clients at all levels of their organization on topics involving AML/Know Your Customer (KYC), anti-bribery, FCPA, customs and border control requirement, sanctions, import and export controls (both commercial and military) and anti-boycott.
  • Investigations and Enforcement. When potential violations of laws are discovered, we help our clients efficiently assemble the best team to respond, including locating, identifying, assembling and preserving documents and electronic information, and performing the necessary forensic and direct investigation to limit client exposure. Should compliance issues proceed to the enforcement stage, the Firm's White Collar Defense and Investigations team can assist.