Peter Lichtenbaum

Peter Lichtenbaum

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Covington & Burling LLP
One CityCenter
850 Tenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001-4956
Tel: +1 202 662 5557



  • Harvard Law School, J.D., 1990
    • cum laude
  • Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, M.P.P., 1990
  • Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, A.B., 1986
    • magna cum laude
    • Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia

English   中文

Peter Lichtenbaum is a partner in the Washington, DC office and co-chair of the International Trade and Finance practice group.  He has experience in a broad array of international regulatory compliance and trade matters, including export controls, economic sanctions, national security reviews of foreign investments, anti-corruption laws, market access, and international trade disputes, and he has specialized experience in the aerospace, defense, and homeland security industries.

Mr. Lichtenbaum has recently worked with many leading aerospace and defense companies on internal investigations and disclosures related to trade controls and China.  He also advises many of these companies on export control reform and defense trade policy issues, including international agreements on the regulation of defense trade.  He has extensive experience with the trade controls issues that arise in the US system for national security review of foreign investment, helping companies to identify issues and mitigate government concerns.

Mr. Lichtenbaum served as Vice President for Regulatory Compliance and International Policy at BAE Systems, Inc., the US subsidiary of one of the world’s largest defense contractors.  In this role he was responsible for a broad array of regulatory compliance and policy issues, including in particular export controls.  He oversaw the company’s compliance with US export controls and led several company initiatives relating to international policy, including defense trade treaties with the United Kingdom and Australia, US export control reform, and the passage and implementation of legislation reforming US national security review of foreign investments.  He participated in BAE Systems’ development of innovative standards of internal governance in order for the company to be recognized as a global leader in ethical business conduct.

Previously, Mr. Lichtenbaum held senior positions in the Department of Commerce, one of three key agencies responsible for administering US export and foreign trade controls.  From October 2003 through February 2006, he served as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration, responsible for developing the Bureau of Industry and Security’s (BIS) policies regarding controls on the export of dual-use items for national security, foreign policy, nonproliferation, and other reasons.  Mr. Lichtenbaum also chaired the inter-agency Advisory Committee on Export Policy, and he managed BIS’s participation in multilateral export control regimes.  He represented the Department of Commerce in a number of sensitive matters reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

During his tenure at Commerce, Mr. Lichtenbaum also served for seven months as Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security, in which capacity he led BIS.  His responsibilities included the development and enforcement of strategic trade controls, regulation of foreign acquisitions that affect US security, and oversight of the defense industrial base.  In addition, he served for several months as Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.  In this role, he led the 2,500-employee International Trade Administration and participated in senior-level decisions regarding pending international trade policy issues such as free trade agreements.

Mr. Lichtenbaum’s background also includes managing the development and defense of several major WTO dispute settlement cases, in which he worked closely with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and other governments. He advised major companies regarding WTO trade policy matters and US regulation of international businesses, particularly in the areas of foreign economic sanctions administered by the Treasury Department and export controls administered by the State and Commerce Departments. He also obtained significant experience handling a wide variety of anti-dumping and countervailing duty matters.

Representative Matters

  • Advised large multinational company regarding internal investigation and disclosure of dual-use export control violations related to China.
  • Advised US helicopter manufacturer regarding CFIUS and export control review and filings in connection with its sale to a Chinese state-owned entity.
  • Advised US helicopter manufacturer regarding market access concerns related to government procurement in Latin America.
  • Advised major aerospace company regarding settlement of Justice Department and State Department defense export control enforcement cases.
  • Led analysis of European dual-use and defense trade controls for major aerospace company with sites in several countries.
  • Advised on application of new US and European sanctions on Libya to ongoing business operations of multinational firms.
  • Defended individual charged with criminal violations of US dual-use export controls.
  • Assisted US aerospace company with export classification and licensing requirements for joint venture with Chinese partner.
  • Represented US company in State Department and CFIUS review of asset sale to Chinese purchaser.

Previous Experience

  • BAE Systems, Inc., Vice President for Regulatory Compliance and International Policy
  • U.S. Department of Commerce, Assistant Secretary for Export Administration
  • U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of General Counsel (Honors Attorney)

Honors and Rankings

  • Law360, International Trade MVP (2012)
  • Washington DC Super Lawyers, International (2014)
  • Chambers Global, International Trade/WTO (2014-2015)
  • Chambers USA - America's Leading Business Lawyers, International Trade: Export Controls & Economic Sanctions (2013-2014)
  • Best Lawyers in America (2013-2015)
  • Legal 500 US, “Leading Lawyer” - Litigation: International Trade (2014)
  • Legal 500 US, Litigation: International Trade (2013-2015)
  • Who's Who Legal, Trade & Customs (2013)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Washington Export Council, Vice-Chair
  • Stimson Center, Task Force on Partners in Prevention
  • American League for Exports and Security Assistance (ALESA), General Counsel
  • ITAR Forum, Chairman
  • American Bar Association Section of International Law, past co-Chair, Committee on Export Controls and Economic Sanctions
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce, International Policy Committee (2009-2012)
  • Defense Trade Advisory Group (DTAG) (2006-2008)
  • Center for National Policy, Steering Committee (2006-2010)
  • Aerospace Industries Association, International Council (2007-2010)

Publications and Speeches

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