Sanctions & Export Controls

Marnix Somsen
Marlies Heemskerk- de Waard
+ 5 other experts

We align corporate goals with legal compliance

We assist our clients with their matters in the field of international trade, economic sanctions and export control regulations, helping them to navigate the complex patchwork of these regulations which are known for rapid change, overlap, broad scope and strict enforcement. We advise on the permissibility of transactions and the applicability of license requirements and other restrictions. If so desired, we assist clients in obtaining the necessary clearance from authorities, ranging from classification decisions to export licenses.

We also regularly conduct internal investigations into economic sanctions and export control related matters. We have ample experience in representing clients in economic sanctions and export controls related enforcement matters vis-à-vis various regulatory and criminal authorities. These include the:

  • U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC),
  • U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS),
  • Department of Justice (DoJ),
  • Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and
  • Dutch Central Department for Import and Export (CDIU).

We also advise a range of financial institutions on the specific requirements that apply to them in relation to economic sanctions and related governance issues, closely cooperating with our colleagues in our Financial Markets Regulation practice. Similarly, together with our M&A and Competition colleagues, we advise on transactions and foreign direct investment screening relating to strategic investments, notably those involving sensitive technologies.

As matters in this field often involve various jurisdictions, we keep close ties with specialised foreign counsel, including in the U.S. and the U.K., while the quickly evolving developments in China are covered by our own Shanghai office.

Our clients include multinational corporates and financials, based in the Netherlands and abroad. Clients value our advice for our multidisciplinary approach and ability to provide effective solutions, aligning corporate and commercial goals with legal compliance. In enforcement matters they choose us for our broad, multinational experience and ability to handle cross-border internal and regulatory investigations in close coordination with foreign counsel and authorities.


14 June 2021

Recast of the EU Dual-use Regulation set to enter into force on 9 September 2021

On 11 June 2021, the new EU Dual-use Regulation 2021/821 was published in the EU Official Journal, set to replace current Regulation 428/2009 of 5 May 2009 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual use-items. Often referred to as the Recast, it will enter into force on 9 September 2021. While it introduces additional controls, the Recast is much less ambitious in scope than the European Commission had originally envisaged, particularly in terms of addressing the human rights aspects of export controls and the lack of a level playing field due to differences in interpretation, application and enforcement among the Member States. Even so, it expands the range of general export authorisations available, reducing the administrative burden for exporters of relevant items. Companies involved with dual-use items are recommended to take note of the changes and to assess any implications and benefits that these may have on their business.
28 April 2021

Bill on UBO register for trusts and funds for joint account sent to Dutch lower house

A bill introducing a UBO register for trusts and funds for joint account (fondsen voor gemene rekening) was submitted to the lower house of the Dutch parliament on 26 April 2021. The register will be kept by the Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands.
16 March 2021

China's new Blocking Rules - more conflicting requirements for international business

China recently enacted Rules on Counteracting Unjustified Extra-territorial Application of Foreign Legislation and Other Measures. These "Blocking Rules" are designed to block the extraterritorial application of foreign laws and measures that may endanger the fundamental national security and economic interests of China and of Chinese entities. For example, they may prohibit Chinese entities, including Chinese subsidiaries of foreign companies, from complying with US export controls and US secondary sanctions. While meant to protect against foreign legislation restricting Chinese business, the Blocking Rules may mean more conflicting requirements for Chinese companies and foreign companies operating in China. We recommend that multinational companies doing business in and with China closely monitor legislative and enforcement updates, assess the risks they may face, and take mitigation measures where necessary.