International Trade

Leading in foreign trade law

Worldwide customer and supplier relationships have become a part and parcel of everyday life for most businesses. GvW Graf von Westphalen advises businesses, forwarders, insurers and logistics providers operating in foreign trade in all areas of customs and export control compliance.

Our firm has been ranked by JUVE German Commercial Law Firms as the leading foreign trade law practice for many years, highlighting in particular the broad portfolio of advisory services in various areas of foreign trade law, the strong headcount of the team and the wealth of experience of our Partners.

We deliver comprehensive solutions to the most complex issues of foreign trade. This includes working out the most appropriate contract structure for our clients and providing tax and insurance law advice. For decades, lawyers of this Practice Group have successfully represented and advised clients in their dealings with the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control [Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle – BAFA], the customs authorities and before national and European courts, particularly in preliminary ruling procedures before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

The combined experience of the team is invaluable to clients looking to define, improve and implement compliance programmes tailor made for the specific risks of their businesses, while helping them complete cross-border transactions effectively and safely. This allows them to prevent risks and seize opportunities in foreign trade.

Key areas of our work include:

Advice on EU customs law including customs issues of foreign trade law

Customs issues of anti-dumping regulations

Advice on sanctions and embargoes

Export control advice

Advice on foreign direct investment regulations

WTO law advice

Legal advice on VAT legislation

Legal advice on excise duty law

Legal advice on energy tax law

Design of contractual frameworks, and advice on financing and payment guarantee arrangements

Representation of businesses and their executives in proceedings relating to criminal and administrative offenses

Customs and export control compliance

Assistance with customs audits, company audits and foreign trade audits

Representing businesses in their dealings with national authorities, the European Commission, and with fiscal and administrative courts up to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)

Advice and training for Chief Export Compliance Officers (CECOs)

Our clients include not only international corporations but also many export-oriented SMEs. In addition to legal advice, we also offer seminars and training courses for Chief Export Compliance Officers (CECOs) of companies. Our lawyers regularly appear as speakers at the Hamburg Customs Academy [Hamburger Zollakademie – HZA] and other training providers, professional associations, and Chambers of Industry and Commerce. They also contribute to publications about customs and foreign trade law, such as leading legal commentaries and practical manuals.