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Professional woman in a meeting with two clients

Sanctions, International Trade and Investment Compliance

Sanctions and international trade rules, as well as national security-related and business compliance laws, can result in the imposition of onerous restrictions on businesses. Violations can lead to substantial risks, including transactions being unwound, criminal liability, fines, penalties, loss of business, reputational harm, and a variety of associated costs which can be difficult to quantify.

We have a thriving practice advising corporations, financial institutions and individuals on the economic, financial and trade sanctions regimes of the United Nations, European Union, United States, United Kingdom and many other jurisdictions. Our market-leading team provides integrated cross-jurisdictional advice and is well versed in the most complex and sensitive transactions in the market.

Our team assists clients in navigating the complex and sometimes competing requirements to which they may be subject.

International trade is a complex area, and the movement of goods and services between jurisdictions is increasingly affected by governmental actions. We provide expert advice on matters relating to international trade law (including WTO law, associated regulations and free trade agreements), trade related disputes, trade defences, customs rules and tariff applications, the interpretation of customs codes and export and import controls. A number of our expert lawyers have worked on trade and sanctions-related issues for OFAC, the European Commission and the UK’s Department of International Trade amongst other government agencies and have an in-depth understanding of how trade organisations and regulators work.

We have expert lawyers working on national security-related issues such as advising on the impact of the UK’s National Security and Investment Act 2021 and interactions with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS). Our team includes lawyers with experience working at the heart of the UK’s and the U.S’s national security-related infrastructures.

Our team also regularly advises clients on matters of business compliance, and offers strong anti-bribery and anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing expertise. Our lawyers around the globe can advise on the rules and regulations in numerous jurisdictions.

For those facing investigation or prosecution, we have experienced litigators, including many former government litigators, in the EU, Asia, the Middle East and the U.S. who can defend them.

We provide the full range of support to clients including:

  • assessing potential risks associated with particular contracts, relationships or proposed business ventures, including in relation to sanctions, export controls, anti-corruption, and foreign direct investment
  • advising on mergers & acquisitions, lending, project finance and capital markets (debt and equity) transactions, and on dealings with agents, distributors and other third parties. This includes conducting due diligence, drafting and negotiating appropriate contractual protections, and setting in place operational, compliance and auditing protocols
  • advising on jurisdiction issues, for example, determining which sanctions apply to businesses or operations in other jurisdictions, to joint ventures, or to minority equity investments
  • drafting compliance policies and assisting clients with the implementation of these policies
  • managing compliance with conflicting sanctions obligations and blocking laws across multiple jurisdictions
  • providing sanctions, anti-bribery and AML compliance training to senior management, boards of directors, employees and agents
  • assisting clients faced with regulatory investigations or prosecutions concerning sanctions and other regulatory breaches, including approaching authorities and negotiating settlements
  • assisting clients to secure export, import and sanctions licences
  • advising on trade defence issues covering all aspects of anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and safeguarding measures and related disputes
  • advising on the impact of free trade agreements and WTO law on the cross-border movement of goods and the provision services
  • providing customs advice including in relation to tariff classification, valuation, origin, labelling, trade agreements and preference programs
  • handling WTO, customs and other trade related disputes
  • advising on the European Union Anti-Money Laundering Directives, the United Kingdom Proceeds of Crime Act, interactions with the UK National Crime Agency, the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act, U.S. money laundering laws, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and other international guidance
  • advising on foreign investment in the U.S., including in particular in connection with contemplated transactions that may impact U.S. national security
  • evaluating transactions to determine if they necessitate a filing with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), developing strategies for approaching CFIUS, and assisting in the transaction review process which CFIUS may conduct
  • advising on the UK’s National Security and Investment Act 2021 and multiple European foreign direct investment regimes supporting clients get clearances for transactions where necessary
  • tracking regulatory developments 

News & insights

Black LED screen displaying green and blue computer coding

Publications: 12 January 2022

How are government national security probes affecting technology transactions across the world?

The tightening of controls on foreign direct investment (FDI), on national security or national interest grounds, is having a significant impact on technology transactions – a trend that is only…

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looking up at glass skyscrapers

Publications: 12 January 2022

The UK National Security and Investment Act 2021: the impact on M&A

The mergers and acquisitions (M&A) landscape in the UK changed on 4 January 2022 when the National Security and Investment Act 2021 (the Act) came fully into force. The following article has been…

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Publications: 19 November 2021

Great Investor Insights podcast: You can’t buy that! - What an investor needs to know about sanctions

In this podcast MaameYaa Kwafo-Akoto, partner in the Institutional Investor practice, discusses with Kuang Chiang, Senior Counsel in the Sanctions & Regulatory Group, issues relevant to institutional…

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shipping container and crane

Publications: 16 November 2021

The UK’s trade remedies regime

The creation of an independent UK trade remedies regime is a critical and under-reported aspect of the UK’s new trade policy. Going forward, the UK’s newfound ability to shape its own trade remedies…

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Our international trade expertise

Sanctions, birds eye view of a boat

International trade is a complex area, and the movement of goods between jurisdictions is increasingly subject to financial and trade restrictions. 

Our trade remedies experience


Trade remedies are a key part of the tool kit of measures used by States to protect their domestic industries against disruptive trade flows.

Our sanctions and expert controls expertise

cargo ship in sea

Sanctions compliance can result in the imposition of onerous restrictions on businesses, and violations can lead to substantial risks, including criminal liability, fines, penalties, loss of business, reputational harm and a variety of associated costs which can be difficult to quantify.

Brexit Law - the way ahead

Brexit triangle graphics icons

Leading businesses through Brexit and beyond, our Brexit Law microsite provides key resources to help identify Brexit-related issues and contingency plan accordingly.

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