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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 U.S. Departments of State, Treasury, and Commerce.

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.

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, and other international instruments.

We have also assisted numerous private companies and a number of governmental entities in successfully navigating the U.S. 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. Our practice includes the former Chair of the U.S. International Trade Commission.

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.


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).

  • Chambers USA - Award for Excellence in International Trade (2016)
  • Law360, International Trade Group of the Year (2015)
  • Mark Plotkin was named an a Law360 MVP in the International Trade category (2015).
  • The International Trade practice was ranked Band 1 by Chambers USA (2016). 
  • The International Trade practice was ranked as a Top Tier practice by Legal 500 US (2015-2016).
  • World ECR - ‘Highly Commended’ for Export Controls Law Firm of the Year (Europe) (2015)