International Trade Law

An almost uncountable number of national, European and international regulations require exporting companies to exercise the utmost care and ensure a maximum degree of internal compliance in the area of export control. Investment control has also become significantly more important in recent years due to the rising number of corporate acquisitions, the tightening of laws and the increase in Chinese takeovers in German key technologies. Furthermore, in the wake of Brexit, British investments in Germany have become subject to German investment control. Our team’s expertise in international trade law allows us to provide excellent advice on all matters pertaining to export and investment control, compliance, WTO law and EU anti-dumping law.

Our team is a reliable partner in safeguarding your interests and enforcing your claims against your contract partners. While our focus is on matters relating to international trade law, our thinking is interdisciplinary and we work closely with colleagues from other practice areas, such as corporate, antitrust, public subsidies/state aid or tax law, whenever the situation so requires.

Our range of advisory services

Export control

We are aware of the situation in, and the particularities of, important foreign markets, also as a result of our Asian offices, and, therefore, can provide excellent support for your export projects.

Our team can advise you on all matters pertaining to export control law, in particular in connection with embargoes, anti-terror lists, dual-use goods and export restrictions under the German Foreign Trade and Payments Act (AWG) and the German Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance (AWV), and can provide concrete training for your managing directors and staff.

We can also advise you on the drafting of your contracts with a special focus on export control law, support you during contract negotiations and provide assistance with approval or appeal procedures.

Investment control under the German Foreign Trade and Payments Act (AWG) and the German Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance (AWV)

We are well-versed in providing integrated advice in connection with investments by foreign – in particular, Chinese – investors in Germany. As takeovers are very complex transactions, clients are well-advised to know, and observe, at an early stage the legal framework conditions regarding duties to cooperate and other obligations under the German Foreign Trade and Payments Act (AWG) and the German Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance (AWV) and, where applicable, also under the relevant foreign law. We can advise you in the context of bidding procedures when it comes to dealing with the investment control requirements under the German Foreign Trade and Payments Act (AWG) and the German Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance (AWV), or to obtaining non-objection certificates and approvals from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).

Our experts can advise you on all matters relating to cross-sector and sector-specific investment control. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) may review the acquisition of German firms by foreign – in particular, non-European – buyers on a case-by-case basis for the purposes of guaranteeing the public order and security of the Federal Republic of Germany. Cross-sector investment control pursuant to Sections 55 et seq. German Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance (AWV) is of particular importance in practice and applies to any acquisition of a German-based company – irrespective of the sector in which this company operates – by an investor based outside the EU and the EFTA. After the most recent statutory amendments in 2017 and 2019, the acquisition of a 10% stake is now enough for certain investments to fall within the scope of the German Foreign Trade and Payments Act (AWG) and the German Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance (AWV), with a particular focus of the reviews being on stakes in “critical infrastructure” companies.

Another aspect that needs to be taken into consideration is the simultaneous review of planned transactions by other countries, in particular the increasingly stricter approval requirements applied by CFIUS, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. However, various EU countries are also tightening their national regulations, and the EU itself is working towards harmonising the investment control provisions of its individual Member States.

Compliance

Our experts can always provide you with top quality advice when drafting and reviewing internal export control guidelines and developing and installing compliance systems.

Service Compliance >>

WTO, anti-dumping and anti-subsidy law

Non-discriminatory, transparent access is a fundamental requirement for international trade among WTO members. Our team can provide solution-oriented support to your company on all issues that may arise in relation to trade barriers (WTO law) or restricted access to EU markets.

In the area of anti-dumping law, we can represent you comprehensively when confronted with dumping or subsidy allegations and work with you to develop protective measures. For example, we can help you answer questionnaires in anti-dumping proceedings and represent you with our international team vis-à-vis the European Commission.

If you have suffered damage or losses through the import of dumped or subsidised goods, we can defend your rights through appropriate complaint proceedings before the European Commission and coordinate such proceedings with other affected companies or associations. 

As foreign investments are made in other jurisdictions, they require special advice: regarding the risks involved, such as expropriation, breach of contract or discriminatory or arbitrary action, we can represent our clients in the event of interference by foreign governments and authorities. Furthermore, our experts can help you prevent, and, in particular, assist at all times with the defence of decision-makers against, criminal sanctions.

Providing advice on the tax aspects of foreign trade (e.g. transfer pricing, value added tax, international taxation) and dealing with customs law issues are an important part of our tax experts’ services, who can competently assist you with all issues that arise in connection with bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.

Key Contact >>

Key Contact

Ole-Jochen Melchior

Partner

T +49 201 9220 24028

Dr. Helmut Janssen, LL.M. (King's College London)

Partner

T +32 2 627 7763 / +49 211 5660 18763 / +49 1520 16 18763

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