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As companies have developed their global footprint, the relevance of international trade and investment law has expanded.

Described as a “preeminent trade group with market-leading strength in a broad range of areas of international trade,” by Chambers and Partners, Covington offers full-service international trade services to the world’s leading companies.

Our lawyers and policy experts have held senior positions in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the International Trade Commission, the U.S. Departments of State, Treasury, and Commerce.

We have a strong trade practice in Europe, where members of our team have held senior positions in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Trade, in the European Parliament’s Trade Committee, in the Council, and as UK Trade Minister.

Trade Controls

Described as “the leading firm for export control issues,” Covington advises on U.S. and EU trade controls, including export controls, economic sanctions, and anti-boycott laws and regulations.

With trade control lawyers based in Asia, Europe, and North America, we help clients navigate compliance with trade control laws and regulations around the world. Our work includes:

  • advising on compliance with export controls, including export jurisdiction and classification;
  • developing and implementing export controls and sanctions compliance programs;
  • counseling on the frequent changes in sanctions programs and export control regulations;
  • providing counsel and assistance on interpretive matters, and obtaining licenses and other authorizations;
  • advocating changes in regulatory programs and legislation;
  • conducting risk assessments, compliance reviews, and internal investigations;
  • preparing disclosures to U.S. government agencies, defending clients in administrative and criminal enforcement cases, and negotiating settlements of trade controls matters; and
  • conducting and responding to due diligence and otherwise representing clients on the trade controls dimensions of M&A activities.

Trade Law, Policy, and Disputes

Through various international agreements, countries have made commitments to open their markets to foreign suppliers. We assist clients in pursuing these commitments in negotiations. We also assist clients in enforcing commitments that have been made. Our clients benefit from our extensive senior level government experience in trade policy and market access issues, including as Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Department, Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Assistant Secretary of Commerce, and Senate Finance Committee staff—and, in Brussels, as Deputy Director-General for Trade in the European Commission, a senior member of the European Parliament’s International Trade committee, President of the Council, and UK Trade Minister.

We help clients respond to violations of trade commitments through both formal and informal mechanisms, and we regularly assist private companies, trade associations, and governments in disputes arising under the WTO Agreements, NAFTA, EU Free Trade Agreements, and other international instruments.

We have also assisted numerous private companies and a number of governmental entities in successfully navigating U.S. trade remedy laws, including:

  • antidumping and countervailing duty (CVD) laws, including appeals of these cases to the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit;
  • proceedings under Section 201 (“escape clause”), Section 301 (authorizing retaliation against foreign countries that restrict access to their markets), Section 232 (effect of imports on national security),and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP); and
  • dispute-settlement proceedings arising under NAFTA and the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding.

Our practice includes the former Chair of the U.S. International Trade Commission. In Brussels, we have assisted clients in litigating EU anti-dumping matters before the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Our team has also advised clients on the negotiation of every important U.S. free trade agreement of the past decade, helping our clients achieve objectives in such diverse areas as technical standards, intellectual property, e-commerce, government procurement, and competition policy. Our team has extensive experience with EU free trade agreements, and is in a position to help clients engage in the negotiation and implementation of such instruments.


Covington advises on a range of U.S. customs compliance matters, including:

  • the proper classification and valuation of imported merchandise;
  • country-of-origin marking and labeling requirements;
  • customs bond obligations;
  • harbor maintenance and merchandise processing fees;
  • American Goods Returned;
  • the establishment and operation of Foreign Trade Zones (FTZs);   
  • the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP); and
  • NAFTA and other trade preference programs.

We also help clients develop and implement customs compliance programs and represent clients in audits conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

  • Latinvex Top Law Firms: Top Trade Firms (2018) 
  • China Law & Practice, International "Firm of the Year for Trade" (2017)
  • Chambers USA - Award for Excellence in International Trade (2016)
  • Law360, International Trade Group of the Year (2015, 2017-2018)
  • Chambers Global, International Trade/WTO (2018-2020) 
  • Shara Aranoff was named an a Law360 MVP in the International Trade category (2018). 
  • David Fagan was named an a Law360 MVP in the International Trade category (2014, 2018).
  • Mark Plotkin was named an a Law360 MVP in the International Trade category (2015, 2017, 2019).
  • The International Trade practice was ranked Band 1 by Chambers USA (2016-2018). 
  • The International Trade practice was ranked as a Top Tier practice by Legal 500 US (2015-2017).
  • World ECR - ‘Highly Commended’ for Export Controls Law Firm of the Year (Europe) (2015)