Foreign trade

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Trade is becoming increasingly international

Trade relations are now less and less likely to be restricted to the domestic market. Companies wishing to develop new markets abroad not only face the challenge of understanding and adapting to the business practices of their foreign trade partners and the needs of different customers, they also have to comply with the legal provisions governing global trade.

Our foreign trade experts help trading companies, importers and exporters to ensure that their commercial activities comply with the special regulations applying to international trade.

Our advice around foreign trade covers the following areas in particular:

  • International payment transactions
  • Import and export regulations
  • EU embargo regulations
  • Global trade barriers / WTO
  • Anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures
  • Dual-use goods
  • The German Foreign Trade Act and Foreign Trade Regulations
  • The German War Weapons Control Act
  • Compliance

Rules on sensitive goods

Although there are now few restrictions on the supply of most goods within the EU, some notification and approval obligations apply to trade in politically sensitive exports even within the European Union, such as dual-use goods.

The CMS lawyers specialising in foreign trade matters help companies to identify import or export goods that require approval, and also goods where notification and documentation requirements apply. We provide advice on the appropriate legal wording of applications for import and export approval, as well as on required documentation and certificates of conformity. We support you in communicating with the relevant authorities, in particular the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control. We also assist you when undergoing a foreign trade audit by the customs authorities.

Trade restrictions due to embargos

Restrictions on trade arising from foreign policy or security considerations can apply to specific products, countries or (groups of) individuals. They are mostly implemented by way of EU Regulations, which may in turn provide for exceptions for individual goods, subject to mandatory approval.

Embargos can have a major commercial impact on companies, while breaches of embargo regulations incur severe penalties. Accordingly, we advise our clients at an early stage on all the steps required in relation to trade restrictions and on the liability risks facing the management team in the event of an embargo violation. We also help to raise awareness among managers and employees with regard to economic sanctions.

International payment transactions and custom duties

Capital and payment transactions with third countries are subject to a range of notification obligations and restrictions. Here again, violations can result in severe penalties. The same applies to failure to comply with customs regulations and anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures.

We help companies to comply with all the various rules relating to international payment transactions and in obtaining binding customs tariff information, as well as providing assistance in relation to trade barriers such as anti-dumping and anti-subsidy rules.


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