International Trade & National Security

Advising on a range of cross-border challenges to help navigate an increasingly complex world

International trade regulations affect businesses of all kinds. International markets, global supply chains, and cross-border investments face regulatory scrutiny and an increasingly complex sanctions landscape. Export controls reach products and technology, from the most sophisticated weapons systems to the simplest of consumer goods, when shipped overseas or being provided to foreign nationals in the U.S. Foley Hoag’s International Trade & National Security Group provides clients of all sizes with timely, considered, and practical counsel on a wide-range of international trade matters including those involving sanctions, export controls, anti-bribery, and national security laws.

Trade sanctions, export controls and national security laws affect more than the international shipping of goods. Rapidly evolving sanctions can impact the ability to do business with particular individuals, companies, or countries, the ability to get paid for goods or services already provided, and the flexibility to obtain or deal with international investors.  

International trade regulations are ever-changing, and increasingly high-profile, posing a constant risk and challenge to companies of every size in every industry. Export control laws govern the export of every product and technology from weapons systems, medical devices, and encryption technology to pencils — these laws govern not only shipping goods and technologies overseas, but also giving access to controlled items to non-U.S. persons who are located in the U.S. Sanctions cover an increasing number of individuals, companies, and countries. And regulatory changes continue to expand the number of cross-border transactions subject to government approval. Foley Hoag’s International Trade & National Security Group offers informed, risk-based, and practical regulatory advice from our experienced team to help clients avoid compliance missteps and address those that may have already occurred.

Our lawyers have a deep understanding of the laws that govern international trade matters, including:

  • Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions programs
  • Export Administration Regulations (EAR)
  • International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
  • Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) regulations 
  • Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR)
  • Import restrictions related to forced labor

As frequent speakers and thought leaders on international trade and national security subjects, we have the experience and technical knowledge necessary to help clients navigate an increasingly complex global environment.

Areas of Focus

Our lawyers advise on a wide array of international trade and national security matters, including:

  • Conducting internal investigations
  • Drafting disclosures to relevant government agencies
  • Defending clients in proceedings involving a wide range of governmental authorities, including the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Commerce, OFAC, and the U.S. Department of State
  • Due diligence for mergers and acquisitions related to sanctions and export controls risks
  • Advising on inbound and outbound investment controls, including reviewing cross-border investment activities for CFIUS implications and, if necessary, notifying CFIUS of the transaction
  • Designing and helping to implement international trade compliance programs for companies of all sizes
  • Advising on compliance with trade sanctions and export control laws
  • Drafting and submitting export license applications
  • Developing and delivering compliance training
  • Compliance reviews and audits
  • Navigating requirements related to the export of FDA regulated products
  • Advising on the modification of withhold release orders (“WROs”) issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, contractual issues related to forced labor, and best practices for supply chain management



  • Advised U.S. and non-U.S. entities on compliance with U.S. sanctions, including the Russia/Ukraine, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Global Magnitsky Sanctions programs
  • Prepared license applications and requests for interpretive guidance, and counseled clients regarding disclosures to OFAC 
  • Advised investment funds regarding compliance with the Russia/Ukraine and Chinese Military Companies Sanctions programs
  • Advised U.S. companies dealing with sanctioned investors and investments 
  • Represented clients in litigation against the U.S. government over executive order authorizing OFAC sanctions and civil and criminal penalties for individuals and entities supporting the International Criminal Court. 
  • Represented U.S.-based nonprofits and charitable organizations regarding compliance with OFAC sanctions, including applications for OFAC licenses.
  • Conducted internal investigations for various companies concerning potential sanctions violations, avoiding penalties by voluntary disclosure and implementation of necessary corrective measures.



  • Advised U.S. and non-U.S. companies regarding export control compliance and potential liabilities in mergers and acquisitions in both the U.S. and abroad.
  • Helped technology and software companies with export classification of encryption products in anticipation of future exports and necessary licensing.
  • Counseled technology and software companies regarding establishment of export control policies and compliance procedures for provision of cloud-based services.
  • Represented U.S.-based manufacturers with respect to U.S. export controls during integration of global manufacturing and development capacity.
  • Helped a U.S. manufacturer in connection with government inquiry into export controls involving biological materials.
  • Provided counsel to a variety of companies in connection with voluntary disclosures to DDTC and BIS of possible violations of export controls in connection with downloads of trial software products, deemed exports, exports to foreign government end users and other matters.
  • Represented a U.S. manufacturer in connection with the voluntary disclosure of possible violation of export controls.
  • Defended a technology company in connection with investigation of possible export controls violations and possible violations involving alleged misuse of classified information.
  • Represented a U.S. exporter at trial in criminal prosecution of export involving items and technology related to missile technology.
  • Advised U.S. companies regarding export controls implications of the employment of foreign nationals, including H1-B visa holders, research assistants, students and interns, as well as foreign national employees of parents, subsidiaries and affiliates



  • Represented a manufacturer in a petition to CBP for the modification of a Withhold Release Order
  • Advised a leading cosmetics industry client on supply chain due diligence related to the palm oil industry in Malaysia and Indonesia.
  • Provided guidance to a client in the extractive industry regarding the import of products from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
  • Advised a major auto manufacturer on how to assess and manage supply chain risks related to WRO compliance.
  • Advised Fortune 50 retailer regarding global supply chain issues, including providing guidance in connection with a WRO issued to one of its suppliers.



  • Analyzed whether a nanotechnology company produced a “critical technology” and advised on the CFIUS implications of investment by a Chinese entity
  • Advised a biotechnology company on the applicability of mandatory CFIUS filing requirements if the company accepted foreign investment.
  • Assisted a quantum computing company with classifying its encryption technology and preparing a voluntary CFIUS declaration.
  • Advised an aerospace company on the CFIUS implications of entering into a side letter with a German investor that grants board membership and other investor rights.
  • Served as CFIUS counsel to medical device company in Series B financing round 



  • Represented the chief executive of a major U.S. exporter in connection with internal and federal investigations of alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
  • Conducted internal investigation for technology company concerning alleged kickbacks provided in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the Middle East.
  • Represented multiple corporate executives of a large European pharmaceutical company in connection with a DOJ/SEC FCPA investigation involving activities in Eastern Europe and Africa.
  • Represented a Fortune 100 Life Sciences company to coordinate the investigation of suspected FCPA violations in India, Ukraine, China and Brazil, and to advise the company’s Internal Audit Department on conducting FCPA audits to ensure compliance.
  • Represented a multinational Fortune 100 Insurance Company in connection with an internal FCPA compliance investigation.
  • Prepared anti-corruption policies and trainings for a variety of companies across the globe