Sanctions & Export Controls

United Kingdom

Sanctions and export controls are now a key risk for companies engaged in international trade. The risk of corporate fines and personal criminal liability, combined with constantly changing regimes reflecting changing political developments makes it a high-risk yet complex area of legal compliance.

CMS has in-depth international sanctions and export controls expertise. Our sanctions team is frequently called upon to advise on the application of sanctions regimes and assist businesses engaged in international trade. We regularly advise on sanctions compliance and controls within a broad range of sectors. 

Sanctions imposed by the EU have a particularly broad reach, affecting businesses that are incorporated outside of the EU or EU individuals working in other countries. The challenge facing businesses is how market participants operating in a global context, in complex supply chains, and in high-risk jurisdictions, can ensure compliance with complex and continually evolving sanctions restrictions. Practical scenarios rarely fall neatly within the wording of the legislative rules, and with little in terms of guidance or case law risk-assessment tends to fall to the commercial decision-makers in business.

We provide practical strategies to navigate the complicated regimes as issues arise, guidance on risk assessment, screening and due diligence, monitoring and reporting. We have experience of liaising with HM Treasury, including submission of licence applications for derogations under the relevant European rules. Our sanctions team advises on the specific aspects of UK enforcement, and works alongside our colleagues across CMS to advise on enforcement at different national levels in the EU.

Our sector focus helps us understand your business environment, and we can help you devise business strategies to address challenges in your market.

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