International Trade

Architectural structure.

For companies expanding their international operations, trade compliance is a critical business function. With a steady rise in trade enforcement actions by the U.S. and foreign government agencies and an increasingly competitive international market, companies must adopt trade compliance programs that minimize legal risks while at the same time remaining cost-effective. 

Our International Trade Team of multilingual attorneys and trade advisors, which includes a former Mexican Undersecretary of Commerce and a member of the former President’s Export Council Subcommittee on Export Administration and the Industry Trade Advisory Committee for Aerospace in Washington, D.C., focused on international trade compliance and proven legal strategies to advance the growth of our clients’ businesses worldwide. With offices in the U.S. and Mexico, we have extensive experience decoding complex international trade regulations and preventing millions of dollars in potential fines and penalties. Foley’s multidisciplinary approach to trade compliance leverages the capabilities of the Firm’s multiple practice groups to ensure our clients’ global trade operations are legally structured to maximize efficiency and profitability from end-to-end.

Global Trade Compliance

Our team offers clients experience with a variety of substantive areas in global trade compliance:

  • Maquiladora compliance
  • Export process, licensing and agreements
  • Deemed exports and technology transfers
  • Office of Foreign Assets Control compliance and licensing
  • Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States filings
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) compliance and enforcement matters
  • Import process and Customs matters
  • Duty Drawback recovery
  • Foreign-Trade Zone establishment, auditing and compliance
  • U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the prior North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other free trade agreements
  • Compliance monitors and special compliance officer oversight
  • Trade compliance training
  • International corporate transactions
  • Investigations
  • Secondments

Export Process, Licensing and Agreements

Foley attorneys have substantial experience advising clients on the regulations governing the export of commodities, software and technology. Notably, our team includes one of the leading practitioners in the U.S. on the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, the complex regulations governing the export and temporary import of defense articles. Companies across multiple industries seeking to expand their export business can rely on the extensive experience and credibility of our practitioners developed over many years of representing clients before the export enforcement agencies. These representations include:

  • Commodity classification assistance and application filings
  • Commodity jurisdictional determinations
  • License determinations, applications and negotiations
  • Export Management and Compliance Program development and compliance protocols
  • ITAR compliance
  • Export Administration Regulations compliance
  • Internal reviews and penalty avoidance
  • Voluntary self-disclosures and corrective actions
  • Government investigations, penalties and denial proceedings
  • Internal Compliance Monitors and Special Compliance Officer Oversight
  • Embargoes and export restrictions
  • Defense industry commodity classification, registration, licensing and reporting requirements for ITAR
  • Denied party screening

Deemed Exports and Technology Transfers

Foley attorneys have extensive experience with the evolving trade rules and regulations governing the export of sensitive U.S. technologies abroad and to foreign nationals in the United States, including encryption controls. Our team also calls on the experience of our immigration team when required to partner on technology export matters involving foreign nationals employed by U.S. companies under various visa categories. These representations include:

  • I-129 Part 6 export due diligence reviews
  • Technology access controls and risk assessments
  • Encryption controls
  • Technology Control Plans
  • Technology classifications under the EAR and the ITAR
  • Licensing technology transfers and technical data releases

Office of Foreign Assets Control Compliance and Licensing

Our attorneys have experience in licensing, disclosures, denied party identification and reporting, and other critical compliance matters under the U.S. Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control. Foley assists clients with interpreting the scope of sanctions and setting up programs to proactively identify sanctions and prevent violations. We have a proven record of success in obtaining OFAC licenses for legal business activities in multiple countries.

Import Process and Customs Matters

Our attorneys have the depth of knowledge and experience required to efficiently resolve challenges related to Customs’ and trade import issues. Our attorneys assist clients with:

  • Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism applications and cargo security assessments
  • Guidance through the entry process, required documents and reasonable care obligations
  • Classification, valuation, country of origin determinations and ruling requests
  • Customs patent and trademark seizures
  • Drawback and duty deferral
  • Protest preparation and filings
  • Liquidated damages and penalty petitions, forfeiture and seizure petitions/negotiations
  • Recordkeeping requirements and penalty petitions
  • Customs’ broker training, representation and compliance issues
  • Importer Self-Assessment program applications, guidance and compliance
  • Focused Assessments, Customs audits and investigations
  • Internal reviews and compliance audits
  • Other governmental agency requirements and determinations
  • Embargoes and import restrictions
  • Non-resident importer procedures and compliance
  • Foreign import requirements and standards

Duty Drawback Recovery

  • Eligibility and feasibility studies
  • Compliance programs and implementation
  • Drawback calculations
  • Drawback claims and protests
  • Negotiations

Foreign-Trade Zones Establishment, Auditing and Compliance

  • Applications establishing a Zone or Subzone
  • Coordination and negotiations with FTZ grantee and taxing units
  • Conducting economic analysis, feasibility studies and justification
  • Preparation of zone activations
  • Development of procedures, manuals and training
  • Liquidated damages and penalty petitions, prior disclosures and other corrective actions
  • Guidance on FTZ inventory management
  • Compliance reviews and audits

Compliance Monitors and Special Compliance Officer Oversight

U.S. enforcement authorities often impose the use of compliance monitors as a condition of settling violations of the ITAR, EAR or FCPA. Our team is well qualified to serve as on-site monitors who will devote the necessary resources to learn the business of the company subject to monitorship and develop a clear and detailed work plan. Foley’s team can assist clients to ensure that all necessary actions are taken to meet and exceed measures required by the various U.S. export and import agencies after an enforcement action.

Trade Compliance Training

A comprehensive trade compliance program requires regular, well-documented training for employees with trade responsibilities. Foley attorneys have conducted hundreds of on-site or webinar-based training sessions that satisfy the standards of the enforcement agencies. Our training is practical and tailored to each client’s specific needs.


Our team also has a strategic alliance with the experienced forensic accountants and fraud investigators at GlassRatner. As former employees of major accounting firms and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, GlassRatner’s accountants and investigators work on-site with our team to offer investigatory and due diligence services in FCPA compliance matters, trade compliance audits, and investigations of books and records. GlassRatner can deploy teams worldwide to conduct due diligence and gather relevant evidence.


For organizations that need more direct support related to their global trade compliance, Foley can provide highly trained personnel to work off-site or on-site at clients’ facilities for any length of time required by the client.

  • Outsourcing of the trade compliance management function
  • Auditors – Customs, export, FCPA
  • Import and export classification services (on- or off-site)
  • Classification projects

International trade compliance is a cornerstone of successful international expansion. Foley helps companies grow globally with a view toward both trade compliance and profitability.