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Venable partner Lindsay Meyer was quoted in a November 1, 2009 Industry Week story about the push to reform the United States’ tangled web of export control laws. The laws, which can fall under the purview of numerous agencies, govern how and to which countries products ranging from high-end weapons systems to everyday items such as some paints can be exported.

As they seek to expand their global presence, large and small manufacturers alike appear to be struggling with trade compliance. Even the Commerce Department has said that it recognizes the laws are too complex, but even as it works to revise the laws, U.S. manufacturers face heightened enforcement of the rules and tougher penalties for violations.

Venable partner Lindsay Meyer says a first step in avoiding export control issues is for manufacturers to know their clients. This is because the U.S. government expects a certain amount of due diligence to ensure that clients are not exporting items for prohibited end uses or to embargoed nations. And, Meyer says, the regulations don't stop once the item leaves the United States.

"What the government would look to see is, how have you put your customer on notice about certain laws and regulations?" she explains. "What steps have you taken to make sure you know your end customer? For instance, if it's going to a trading company in the UAE free-trade zone, you can be pretty sure your office chair is not going to end there."