International Trade

Our understanding of the regulatory, legislative and commercial issues affecting international trade can translate into practical solutions for your business. Moreover, our familiarity with the relevant agencies assures that you are alerted to coming changes in time to adjust your strategies and take advantage of new factors in international trade.

In spite of the strong tide of globalization, the mechanics of doing business across oceans and borders are more challenging than ever. The rewards may be greater, but the hurdles keep growing.

With increased enforcement of trade rules both here and abroad, Venable trade attorneys help clients solve everyday issues—such as classifying products and obtaining export control authorizations. We help clients create business strategies that optimize savings through preferential trade programs and help them reduce their costs of doing business effectively around the globe.

We handle all aspects of international trade. How this works to your benefit...

Venable trade attorneys see the big picture, as well as all of the details. Because we’re in touch with decision makers on all sides of trade issues, we can alert you to evolving trends in trade policy and enforcement. We advise clients on how to set up procedures that keep goods moving and remove roadblocks to transactions and thereby reduce compliance costs.

We’re well known in Washington. How this works to your benefit...

We are headquartered near the relevant government agencies—the Departments of State, Commerce and Treasury, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the many other agencies—where decisions are made that affect your business. More importantly, Venable attorneys include former agency officials and possess, on average, more than 20 years’ experience.

Long-standing connections around the world. Yet another benefit...

We work closely with a wide network of experienced trade attorneys in countries around the world—attorneys with exactly the right skills to accomplish what you need, wherever you need it.


Import and U.S. Customs issues.

We cover the entire range of issues and procedures involved in importing goods into the United States—entry procedures, tariff classification, duty preference programs, country-of-origin marking and labeling, protests, assessment audits and prior disclosures. We obtain product Customs rulings, help clients deal with restrictive quotas, as well as confirm eligibility under preferential trade programs such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and numerous bilateral and multilateral agreements.

We also assist clients in gaining the benefits of participating in various CBP programs including the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and Importer Self-Assessment (ISA) programs.

Focus on avoiding problems with Customs and other government agencies at the border.

Importers call on us to represent them in U.S. Customs audits, and in dealing with detentions, forfeitures, seizures and other enforcement and penalty actions. For several Fortune 100 companies, we conduct pre-audit import and export compliance assessments, including developing corporate-wide, multi-location assessments and tailored training programs.


U.S. export controls.

Clients rely on Venable for our deep understanding of the complex U.S. trade regulations governing exports. We provide advice and guidance on all aspects of exporting items, software, technology and defense services from the United States, as well as on “deemed exports” which occur within the U.S.

We are skilled in solving issues associated with export controls and embargoes, including compliance with the regulations administered by the Bureau of Industry and Security, the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls and the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

We evaluate proposed transactions, seek classification rulings, obtain licenses and authorizations, develop compliance programs and conduct compliance audits and training for employees, agents and distributors alike.

When problems arise, we represent exporters in investigations and enforcement proceedings. Our experience also includes guiding companies in their compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) and the anti-boycott laws.

In other countries, our well-established relationships with knowledgeable trade counsel provide clients with the skills and experience needed to resolve problems related to maintaining worldwide supply-chains and distribution networks.

Trade Disputes

Resolutions of domestic and international issues.

We represent companies involved in all types of trade disputes—often defending clients in antidumping and countervailing duty investigations, safeguard disputes and other matters before the Department of Commerce, International Trade Commission and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Venable trade attorneys also handle litigation and appeals arising from such proceedings. We regularly practice before the U.S. Court of International Trade and Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. We protect your interests overseas as well, representing clients in global trade disputes including those before the World Trade Organization.

Trade Strategies

Positioning you to achieve your goals.

We advise clients in developing and executing strategies that enable them to expand their businesses. This often involves many moving parts—strategic sourcing, sales and distribution arrangements both in the U.S. and abroad, compliance with export controls, use of foreign agents, affiliated offices and joint ventures. When needed, we collaborate with Venable’s Legislative advisors to promote trade policy initiatives and decisions of the Executive Branch or to affect legislative matters in the U.S. Congress, which can impact a client’s interests.

International Trade and Logistics

Venable's International Trade and Logistics Group regularly counsels both U.S. and non-U.S. companies on transactional matters and cross-border legal/regulatory and policy concerns, concentrating on export controls, economic sanctions, technology transfers, Customs compliance, and transport (all modes) regulation.

We are well versed in transport commercial terms and related regulatory oversight, including matters before the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), Surface Transportation Board (STB), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Customs and Border Security (CBP), and non-U.S. regulators, such as various EU directorate-generals and the PRC's Ministry of Transport (MOT).

We have decades of experience counseling exporters and importers (i.e., shippers, consignees) on master service agreements, ocean service contracts, NVOCC tariff and non-tariff options (NSAs and NRAs), and air transport agreements that may include direct or indirect carriers. Given our commercial understanding of the international trade community, we are able to factor into our advice practical solutions, while ensuring legal and regulatory requirements are addressed.

The Group is also seasoned on cargo liability issues—from proactively addressing possible liability concerns during contract negotiations (including supplemental cargo coverage) to dealing with after-the-fact cargo damage or loss claims. This experience runs throughout the supply chain—from Warsaw Convention/MP for air transport, and Carmack Amendment for U.S. interstate moves, to U.S. Carriage of Goods by Sea (COGSA) for ocean transactions.

The Group is committed to understanding the commercial realities that shippers, carriers, intermediaries, and other supply chain actors face today. We have found that knowing the supply chain translates into sound, practical legal advice that can be put to immediate use by our clients.

Government Experience

Experience Working for:

  • Department of Commerce
  • Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR)
  • Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee (TEPAC)


  • Law360, FCPA Powerhouse, 2013 
  • Main Justice, Distinguished Service Award, 2013
  • Chambers USA, Transportation: Shipping/Maritime: Regulatory, 2021 – 2023
  • Chambers Global, International Trade: Customs, 2016 – 2017 
  • U.S. News – Best Lawyers
    • Best Law Firms, International Arbitration – Commercial, 2016, 2023
    • Best Law Firms, International Arbitration – Governmental, 2016
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2019 – 2022 (Venable attorneys selected for inclusion)