International Trade > Overview

The international trade practice at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP offers an array of services designed to optimize our clients’ ability to engage in the cost-efficient and timely exchange of goods and services across borders, in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Our lawyers and advisors assist clients with issues before the World Trade Organization (WTO); the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR); the International Trade Commission; the departments of State, Treasury, Commerce, Justice and Homeland Security (including U.S. Customs and Border Protection); and other federal agencies and offices that deal with international trade regulation.

In Europe, we advise our clients on compliance with EU trade regulations and represent our clients before the customs administrations, export controls and sanctions regulators (UK ECO/OFSI, German BAFA, Netherlands CDIU, etc.) of the EU member states that administer and enforce EU laws, as well as before the European Commission and its Directorates General for Customs and Taxation and Trade.


Our lawyers are frequently designated as leaders in the international trade field based on the recommendations of clients, peers in private practice and publications:

  • Chambers – shortlisted for the Chambers USA Awards 2017 in the International Trade category; Akin Gump lawyers have been designated as leaders in the international trade field based on the recommendations of clients and peers in private practice in the 2017 Chambers Global, USA, Europe and Asia Pacific editions
  • WorldECR Awards – winner, 2017 Sanctions Law Firm of the Year and 2016 runner-up; winner, 2017 Export Controls Practitioner of the Year; runner-up, 2017 Young Practitioner of the Year and 2015 runner-up; highly commended, 2017 U.S. Export Controls Law Firm of the Year; highly commended, 2015 Export Control Practitioner of the Year
  • Cuba Trade named to the magazine’s inaugural list of leading legal and consulting firms advising businesses seeking to engage in Cuba
  • Women in Compliance Awards – shortlisted in 2017 for Best Corporate Lawyer of the Year and Regulatory Law Firm of the Year; selected in 2016 for Best Regulatory Lawyer of the Year
  • Financial Times’ Most Innovative North American Law Firms – recognized in the “Compliance and technology” category for a project led by our international trade team to develop systems for defense contractor clients in U.S. export control and sanctions compliance
  • China Business Law Journal – named Akin Gump a winner in the International Trade category in its 2014 and 2015 China Business Law Awards
  • Latin Lawyer – selected Akin Gump among “the names that governments and private companies operating in Latin America need to know to make the most of global trade links and avoid falling foul of the rules” in its 2014 international trade law survey
  • The National Law Journal – selected an Akin Gump lawyer to its list of 2015 Regulatory & Compliance Trailblazers
  • Other Accolades and Rankings – eight lawyers are recognized in the 2017 U.S., U.K. and EMEA editions of The Legal 500; three lawyers are included in The Best Lawyers in America 2017; six lawyers are included in the 2016 edition of Who’s Who Legal; and one lawyer is recognized in The Best Lawyers in Switzerland

Areas of Experience

We have extensive experience guiding companies and industries through the detailed trade regulatory processes and are adept at simplifying complex substantive regulations and procedural timetables. With our access to key decision-makers, we are able to provide timely communication and representation. Our services include the following critical components:

  • Antidumping and countervailing duty litigation. Foreign and domestic companies and industries have relied on Akin Gump’s experience in more than 100 antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings. We counsel clients on the advisability of instituting and participating in proceedings; in prosecuting, as well as defending against, these cases; and in minimizing liability before and after the inception of formal proceedings, in review processes and in judicial appeals. Akin Gump lawyers also negotiate complex and creative “suspension” agreements on behalf of clients and assist importers and purchasers faced with trade remedy measures.
  • Customs laws. We advise clients on classification, valuation, country-of-origin marking, substantial transformation, preferential duty and drawback issues. Our lawyers also assist clients with audit procedures and possible prior disclosure of violations. We also handle major customs fraud investigations and advise clients on compliance with homeland security measures.
  • Export Controls. We advise companies on the complex laws and regulations governing the export and re-export of goods and technology from the United States and EU. We are experienced in export classification and licensing, compliance and enforcement under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and EU trade regulations (such as the Union Customs Code and its implementing regulations, the EU trade defense regulations, the EU Dual Use Regulation, the EU Common Military List and the EU Common Position on export licensing criteria for military goods, EU sanctions regulations).
  • Economic sanctions. We advise clients on U.S. trade embargoes administered by Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the imposition of economic sanctions against foreign interests, as well as the EU sanctions as implemented, administered and enforced by EU national governments’ departments and offices and United Nations’ Security Council sanctions resolutions.
  • Antiboycott laws. We represent companies before the U.S. Office of Antiboycott Compliance in matters concerning the laws and regulations that limit the terms and conditions under which they may do business with countries supporting the Arab boycott. In addition, we advise clients on the implications of the EU Blocking Regulation targeting the U.S. embargo against Cuba, and EU countries’ national blocking laws.
  • WTO dispute resolution proceedings. We advise numerous clients concerning the applicability of WTO rules to trade-restrictive policies of various foreign governments and assist them in seeking U.S. or foreign government action in connection with these potential WTO violations. We represent private clients and governments in connection with WTO dispute resolutions and advise clients concerning the possible impact of WTO rulings and negotiations.
  • Other trade proceedings. The question of whether imports have injured a domestic industry is a critical issue in proceedings under Section 201 (global safeguards), Section 232 (national security safeguards), Section 406 (market disruption from nonmarket economies) and Section 421 (market disruption from Chinese imports). We work closely with clients to develop an understanding of the political considerations influencing such cases, and the competitive conditions in the markets involved, in order to provide effective representation in these proceedings.
  • Trade policy. We represent and advise U.S. and foreign companies on a range of international trade policy concerns that intersect with their business interests, including trade, tariff and investment issues associated with the negotiation, implementation and enforcement of bilateral and multilateral international agreements and treaties. Additional areas of representation include legislative initiatives and executive branch actions involving the USTR and the departments of Commerce, Treasury and State, as well as other government agencies, and proceedings involving the granting or removal of tariff preferences under the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences.
  • Corporate social responsibility (CSR). Our lawyers and advisors counsel clients on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) matters, including responsible trade and investment practices, resilient supply chains, human rights risks, environmental stewardship and overall compliance with the laws and regulations of domestic, foreign and global governing bodies. Whether a company has a CSR program in place or is considering developing one, our knowledgeable lawyers and advisors can create or enhance a coherent, scalable plan that addresses existing legal requirements and anticipates future responsibilities.
  • Antibribery, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and U.K. Bribery Act. We represent a variety of companies and industries in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and U.K. Bribery Act actions, including in the first case ever to come before the FCPA. Through criminal and civil litigation; conducting internal company investigations; counseling in proposed business transactions; and developing, implementing and reviewing corporate anticorruption compliance policies and procedures, our experienced team brings to bear a results-oriented approach to the antibribery issues of our clients.
  • World Bank and international financial institutions investigations, compliance and monitorships. We have wide-ranging experience in representing companies before the World Bank and other international financial institutions with regard to compliance programs, investigations and monitorships. We design corporate compliance programs that effectively identify, prevent and remediate misconduct. In the event that misconduct is identified, we are adept at conducting investigations and, where appropriate, preparing disclosures to avoid the imposition of costly sanctions. We are also skilled in serving as an independent compliance monitor for companies that have participated in the World Bank’s Disclosure Program.