Practice Areas & Industries: Greenberg Traurig, LLP


Group Profile Lawyers in this Group Offices Locations for this Group

Practice/Industry Group Overview

The mission of the U.S. government's system of export control laws and regulations is to ensure that controlled products, services, software and technologies are not provided to certain prohibited countries, entities or individuals, or made available for certain prohibited end uses. However, meeting changing U.S. compliance requirements while engaging in cross-border business is an ever-more complex job in the post-9/11 environment. As a result, Greenberg Traurig’s Export Controls Practice places an emphasis on meeting both the transactional and U.S. regulatory requirements for clients selling internationally in highly regulated commercial, defense, aerospace and other high-tech sectors. Our attorneys working on export controls are experienced in these regulatory requirements and frequently counsel clients on the application of these laws to U.S. and foreign businesses. Our team advises clients on a range of international technology transfer issues, as well as compliance and licensing matters.

U.S. Export Control Policy

The U.S. government has developed a system of export control laws and regulations to ensure that controlled products (i.e., “commodities”), software and technologies are not diverted to certain countries, companies or individuals, or for certain prohibited end-uses.

The system imposes controls on both U.S. and foreign persons and entities for the following activities:

  • Physical shipment of commodities offshore 
  • Disclosure of controlled technology to foreign nationals in the United States or offshore 
  • Licensing of technology offshore 
  • Performance of certain technical services 
  • Hiring of foreign nationals to handle, or have access to, controlled commodities, software and/or technology 
  • Export and re-export of foreign-produced commodities and technology with U.S. origin content

Penalties for export control violations may include disciplinary action (up to and including termination of employment), corporate fines, revocation or suspension of export privileges, and individual fines and/or imprisonment of responsible personnel. Mitigating circumstances in enforcement actions are critical to the reduction of potential penalties. As a result, clients may depend on experienced counsel, with solid agency relationships, who can advise on the export compliance and enforcement process.

U.S. Government Export Enforcement Agencies

U.S. export controls are regulated by several governmental agencies depending upon the type of commodity, software and/or technology that is the subject of the export. The Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) has jurisdiction over military defense articles, the technical data related to those defense articles, and the provision of “defense services.” Such defense articles, technical data and defense services are identified on the U.S. Munitions List (USML), which is contained within the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

The Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), pursuant to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), has jurisdiction over non-military/commercial and dual-use commodities. “Dual use” refers to commodities, software or technology that have predominant commercial/non-military application but could be of strategic importance if such items were used for military purposes. These items are identified on the Commerce Control List (CCL), which is contained within the EAR. BIS also exercises jurisdiction over certain re-exports from foreign countries of U.S.-origin commodities, software and technology. Finally, in certain instances, BIS has jurisdiction over exports from foreign countries of foreign-made commodities that are manufactured from U.S.-origin technology or contain U.S.-origin parts or components.

The Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and DDTC manage U.S. embargoes and trade sanctions imposed against certain countries deemed hostile to the United States.

U.S. Government Prohibited Lists

There are various lists promulgated by the U.S. government identifying those entities with which a U.S. person either may not do business or may not do business without permission from the U.S. government. No commodities, software or technology may be exported to the persons and entities identified on these lists without prior U.S. government approval. U.S. companies have an affirmative legal obligation to refer to these lists prior to conducting business with non-U.S. persons.

Legal Services

  • Assist companies in developing export compliance procedures and export management systems 
  • Counsel companies on the export classification of their commodities, technologies, software and services 
  • Prepare licenses and agreements, followed by submission before the Departments of State, Commerce, Treasury, Justice (e.g., Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) and Energy 
  • Guide companies through export controls due diligence in domestic and multinational transactions 
  • Defend companies in administrative and criminal export control-related prosecutions 
  • Counsel on legislative and agency relations related to U.S. export policy 
  • Conduct internal training to best manage export compliance


Services Available

Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:

'Brexit means Brexit' - UK outlines plans for Brexit
Addiped Cheng,Declan Grady,Gillian Sproul, February 06, 2017
Shortly after taking office on 14 July 2016, UK Prime Minister Theresa May resisted suggestions that the UK's Referendum vote to leave the European Union might not be followed through. She stated: "Brexit means Brexit and we are going to make a success of it". Since then, there has been...

United States Imposes Targeted Sanctions Against Russian Intelligence Agencies and Operatives Accused of U.S. Presidential Election Hacking
Kara M. Bombach,Cyril T. Brennan,Sandra K. Jorgensen,Renee A. Latour, January 17, 2017
In late December 2016 and early January 2017, the U.S. government took action to sanction Russian individuals and intelligence agencies determined to be involved in hacking activities related to the November U.S. presidential election.

While Cuban Embargo Remains, Latest Round of Historic U.S. Changes Foster Increased Trade
Kara M. Bombach,Cyril T. Brennan,Yosbel A. Ibarra, October 26, 2016
While the nearly comprehensive U.S. embargo on trade with Cuba remains and will require an act of Congress to be eliminated, the U.S. government has issued another round of measures further easing the U.S. sanctions and export control restrictions against Cuba. Effective Oct. 17, 2016, the U.S....

U.S. Increases Civil Penalties for Export Controls and Economic Sanctions Violations
Kara M. Bombach,Cyril T. Brennan,Sandra K. Jorgensen, September 11, 2016
The U.S. government has announced significant increases to the maximum civil penalties for U.S. export controls and sanctions violations. The increases are required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (the FCPIA Act). Details of the penalty increases are...

EU Sanctions Against Russia Adopted and Extended; Sanctions Extended Concerning Crimea and Sevastopol
Renee A. Latour,Marie-José van der Heijden, August 24, 2016
In early July 2016, the EU extended the economic sanctions targeting the financial, energy and defense industries of the Russian economy, as well as dual-use goods, until Jan. 31, 2017. These sanctions were prolonged because the European Council determined that the Minsk agreements concerning...

Brexit: The UK’s Options for Future Trade with the EU
Simon Harms,Lisa Navarro,Gillian Sproul, August 23, 2016
This note provides an overview of the various trade models that could potentially govern UK-EU trade following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. It is one of a series of GTM Alerts designed to assist businesses in identifying the legal issues to consider and address in response to the UK's...

U.S. Extends Authorization for Transactions with Sanctioned Belarusian Entities
David Baron,Kara M. Bombach,Sandra K. Jorgensen, May 18, 2016
On April 29, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued General License No. 2A extending its previous Oct. 29, 2015, Belarus-related general authorization (General License 2) to engage in transactions with all sanctioned Belarusian entities. The...

New North Korea Sanctions Designations
Kara M. Bombach,Cyril T. Brennan,Sandra K. Jorgensen,Erik de Bie,Marie-José van der Heijden, April 14, 2016
Further to the newly-enacted North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 (H.R. 757) (the Act) summarized in our previous GT Alert, on March 16, 2016, President Obama issued an executive order implementing a number of sanctions measures pursuant to the Act.

U.S. Further Eases Restrictions on Cuba Travel and Financial Transactions
Kara M. Bombach,Cyril T. Brennan,Yosbel A. Ibarra,Sandra K. Jorgensen, March 30, 2016
In its most recent move in a series of changes designed to increase engagement between the United States and Cuba, and in line with the Administration’s policy, on March 16, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) amended the existing Cuban...