Foreign trade law in Germany

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie's practice provides combined customs and foreign trade law expertise and focuses on advising US companies. The team led by Anahita Thoms and the 'very pragmatic' Nicole Looks advises international market leaders as well as several DAX 30 companies on export control and sanction law but its offering also includes trade compliance, Brexit-related restructurings and, in particular, investment audits. Looks, who also heads the firm's German tax law practice, puts her focus on the optimisation of inbound transactions from a VAT and customs perspective, while Thoms' core competencies include global investigations and complex issues at the interface with trade and data protection between the US and the EU.

Practice head(s):

Anahita Thoms; Nicole Looks


‘Baker McKenzie possesses a comprehensive expertise in the areas of export control law and customs rights.’

‘The team delivers pragmatic, binding and comprehensible counselling results.’

‘An international team with a business-oriented approach and pragmatic, always legally correct recommendations for action.’

‘Anahita Thoms is an extraordinary team leader with good connections and networks in the economy and politics.’

‘Paul Amberg possesses excellent expertise on matters of US law and knows how to implement and use it correctly.’

Work highlights

  • Advice to a US-American wine producer and supplier on the restructuring of the European production and distribution channels with regards to Brexit.
  • Advice with emphasis on transaction support to a Chinese investor in the course of the purchase of a German production company with regards to the necessity of notification and approval of the transaction by the Federal Ministry of Economics.
  • Advice to a brewery group on compliance with EU and US sanctions.


Dentons' foreign trade law practice is on course for growth: With the arrival of trade compliance specialist Andreas Haak from Taylor Wessing and Florian Wiesner, previously at Clifford Chance, the firm opened a new office in Düsseldorf in 2019, which complements its offices in Berlin and Frankfurt. In the interest of organic growth, team head Julia Pfeil, who is particularly experienced in advising banks on the financing of large-scale export projects, was elevated to the partnership in March 2019. The team's broad offering includes the whole spectrum of foreign trade and export law and, thanks to the firm's global network, has impressive international reach with a particular geographical focus on Russia and Iran. Clemens Maschke handles matters at the intersection with M&A transactions and joint ventures and counsel Maria Brakalova is rated for her expertise in export control and embargo measures against countries and individuals.

Practice head(s):

Julia Pfeil; Andreas Haak


‘Julia Pfeil has got excellent expertise in the area of embargo and sanctions law and has a very good interconnectedness with a multitude of decision-makers nationally and internationally.’

Key clients

AMEPA Angewandte Meßtechnik und Prozeßautomatisierung GmbH

Ausfuhrkredit-Gesellschaft mbH

Enbridge Inc.

Honeywell International Inc.


Llobe GmbH & Co. KG

Neurocrine BioSciences, Inc.


vbw – Verband der Bayerischen Wirtschaft e.V.

Work highlights

  • Advice to the Canadian energy infrastructure company Enbridge Inc. on foreign trade law concerning the 49%-share in the course of a joint venture with the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board.
  • Preparation of several handouts and FAQ-documents on business activities in sanctioned countries for the Verband der Bayerischen Wirtschaft (vbW).
  • Advised LafargeHolcim on several different matters of export control law and sanction law.

Graf von Westphalen

Graf von Westphalen's foreign trade law practice focuses on export control and sanction law matters alongside classic customs and excise law issues. The 'responsive' team led by Lothar Harings also provides extensive advice on matters at the intersection with US sanction law and acts for a number of textile sector clients. Harings is best known for his expertise in EU law, while Marian Niestedt, who assists several clients from the technology sector, is experienced in public procurement law. In January 2019, Katja Göcke made non-equity partner. Alongside her focus on customs and foreign trade law, she also advises on state aid and subsidy law.

Practice head(s):

Lothar Harings


‘GvW knows how to keep communication to the essential amount, without overloading the expertise with too many details.’

‘The law firm has a well-founded know-how in the areas of German and European foreign trade law.’

‘GvW ist perfect for the legal processing of cases concerning foreign trade law, but is equally excellent at the reconditioning of circumstances with a complex technical background.’

‘As a client, one can sense the vast practical experience in dealing with the authorities.’

‘Gerd Schwendinger und Katja Göcke are both characterised by being very responsive and their expertise includes feasible recommendations.’

‘Gerd Schwendinger is a very good lawyer with an intuition for practical feasibility.’

‘Marian Niestedt is very experienced in the areas of German and European foreign trade law and a go-to-lawyer in Germany concerning these areas of law.’

Key clients

Novartis Pharma AG

Shell Deutschland Oil GmbH

Badger Meter Europa GmbH


CPG Engineering & Commercial Services GmbH

CUBE Bikes ZPG GmbH & Co. KG

Cybertronics-EU GmbH


Dermot Brett


FläktGroup Holding GmbH

Galaxy Energy GmbH

GE Healthcare

GE Medical Systems Information Technologies GmbH

GEA Group Aktiengesellschaft

Hamburg Süd

Heinrich Georg GmbH Maschinenfabrik

Horst Kürvers GmbH


J. Müller Agri + Breakbulk Terminals GmbH & Co. KG

JT International Germany GmbH u.a.

Kelvion Gruppe

Leineweber GmbH & Co. KG


Mares Shipping GmbH

Marquardt & Bahls AG

Michael Priestoph GmbH


Power Data S.A., Schweiz

Riehl Logistik GmbH

SCA Logistics GmbH

SGS Group

SKF Marine GmbH

Sumitomo Electric Industries

TherCanni GmbH

Verband der Säge- und Hobelwerke von Hamburg und Umgegend e.V.

Work highlights

  • Ongoing advice to the legal department, the compliance department and the operative level of the DNV GL-Gruppe on several matters of foreign trade law, in particular export control, sanctions, free trade agreements and technology transfers.
  • Advice to the solar system manufacturer and importer Galaxy Energy GmbH with regards to the import of photovoltaic technology from China, as well as legal representation at the Finance Court of Baden-Wuerttemberg concerning the reimbursement of anti-dumping duty.
  • Comprehensive advice on customs and import sales tax law to the Swiss electronics trading company Power Data as well as legal representation in several proceedings against customs authorities.


With Bärbel Sachs in the lead, Noerr covers a wide range of international and European foreign trade law. Customs and export law advice is just as much part of its offering as embargo and sanctions law. Its client portfolio includes leading global companies from various industries, such as plant construction, aviation and medical technology. Sachs also has special expertise in WTO law and Christian Pelz frequently acts at the interface with criminal investigations and proceedings. Senior associate Johannes Schäffer is noted for his expertise in advising on financial services in embargoed countries.

Practice head(s):

Bärbel Sachs


‘Noerr has a very good market understanding and reachability and the advice is efficient and effective.’

‘Bärbel Sachs has outstanding industry experience, a very good access to the authorities and can efficiently steer proceedings.’


BLOMSTEIN Rechtsanwälte

BLOMSTEIN Rechtsanwälte covers a broad field of foreign trade law and provides global assistance with complex matters. In export control law in particular, the team also deals with criminal investigations and represents clients in fiscal disputes with the customs administration. It also has substantial expertise in assisting energy providers and mineral oil players with electricity and energy tax matters. Key contact Pascal Friton is an expert in EU economic sanctions and German anti-boycott law, while the 'well-connected and responsiveRoland Stein has been increasingly active for clients from the energy, manufacturing, infrastructure, IT and technology sectors. The practice also has a strong bench of senior associates: Sarah Jaus is noted for her detailed sanction assessments and Florian Wolf puts his focus on trade compliance.

Practice head(s):

Roland Stein; Pascal Friton

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Jaus; Florian Wolf


‘Blomstein possesses excellent detail knowledge, also in the specialised sectors of excise tax and customs matters.’

‘The team surrounding Roland Stein and Florian Wolf are characterised by excellent expertise on foreign trade law, practical advice and a friendly demeanor.’

‘Roland Stein is highly qualified and has very good strategic thinking in combination with a good intuition for the situation.’

‘Due to his wealth of experience, Roland Stein always comes up with feasible and convincing solution approaches, which make sense economically.’

Key clients


Art 3D Museum

Deutsche Bank


ED&F Man


Hollywood Garment Sales

Infineon Technologies


Kobe Steel



Oiltanking Deutschland

Raffinerie Tirlemontoise



Thermo Fisher

TIS Tresury Intelligence Solutions

Work highlights

  • Legal representation and advice to Kobe Steel in an investigation initiated by the EU commission concerning protective measures against steel imports.
  • Legal advice to RWE concerning legal proceedings at first instance at the Finance Court in Hamburg on tax exemption of power consumption at a nuclear power plant.
  • Regular advice to ADM Hamburg und Mainz on matters of customs, consumer and energy taxation law as well as legal representation in several proceedings at fiscal courts.


Oppenhoff & Partner's clients, including companies engaged in foreign trade, logistics services providers and financial institutions, benefit from the team's strength in compliance and contentious matters. Its expertise also extends to economic sanctions and embargoes, international economic agreements and customs law. Practice head Stephan Müller has particular expertise in compliance matters pertaining to anti-corruption, money laundering and internal investigations. Associate Mareike Heesing frequently takes on the lead in investment audits under foreign trade law alongside export control matters and sanctions with particular emphasis on high-tech companies.

Practice head(s):

Stephan Müller

Other key lawyers:

Mareike Heesing

Key clients

Satisloh AG

Work highlights

  • Advice to a multinational arms manufacturer group on the formation of an independent third party and international trade compliance.
  • Advised a company in the food industry on matters regarding export and customs compliance.
  • Advice to the Satisloh AG on the formation of an environmental and international trade compliance.


Working in close conjunction with its antitrust law, commercial and IP practices is a key feature of CMS' foreign trade law team. Brussels-based Kai Neuhaus and Hamburg-based Hermann Müller regularly take the lead in investment controls and anti-dumping proceedings alongside matters pertaining to export control and corresponding compliance systems. Müller is particularly well versed in dealing with dual-use goods under commercial law, while Neuhaus is the main contact for transactions alongside court proceedings and proceedings before the European Commission.

Practice head(s):

Hermann Müller; Kai Neuhaus

Work highlights

  • Advised Airbus Defence and Space on the matter of a notification requirement for a share-deal under foreign trade law.
  • Advised Eurofighter on the effects of a hard Brexit on restrictions under export control law.
  • Advised Calian with regards to investment control on the purchase of a company in the sector of satellite communication.

Deloitte Legal Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH

Deloitte Legal Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH prides itself for being able to handle all elements of foreign trade law, both in a national and international context. With Bettina Mertgen in the lead, the practice focuses on providing combined and integrated advice on foreign trade law matters involving customs law elements. Its client portfolio predominately includes export-oriented companies such as automobile manufacturers and component suppliers. Mertgen also has extensive experience in compliance management system audits and other related advisory matters as well as in customs valuation and tariff law. Associate Philipp Weber-Lortsch is another key contact for trade compliance.

Practice head(s):

Bettina Mertgen

Other key lawyers:

Philipp Weber-Lortsch


‘Deloitte possesses competence on the topic and offers clear statements in a difficult environment.’

‘Deloitte doesn’t do one-size-fits-all advice, but convinces with differentiated considerations and assessment of the individual circumstances.’

DLA Piper

Due to the close cooperation with its M&A practice, DLA Piper puts significant emphasis on investment control work. The team led by Ludger Giesberts, who predominantly advises on export control, also has a niche in insurance law-related sanction compliance. Counsel Thilo Streit assists several companies from the automotive, mechanical engineering, IT, chemical and insurance sectors with foreign trade law compliance. The team also handles issues pertaining to Iran and Russia sanctions.

Practice head(s):

Ludger Giesberts

Other key lawyers:

Thilo Streit

Key clients

Dasan Zhone Solutions

exceet Group AG

Georgmarienhütte Holding GmbH

Samsung Oak Holdings Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advice to the Georgmarienhütte Holding and its subsidiary companies on all matters regarding export control law, in particular on Russia and Iran sanctions.
  • Advice to Samsung Oak Holdings on the purchase of a company with the aim of improved online identification with regards to the notification requirements of investment control under foreign trade law.
  • Advice and legal representation of the South Korean-American telecommunications supplying corporation Dasan Zhone Solutions on the purchase of a German technology company.

Gleiss Lutz

Gleiss Lutz combines its activities in the foreign trade law arena with matters at the intersection with the firm's full-service offering, which is reflected in its transactional work and other issues. Andreas Neun heads the team, which continues to expand its range of services in the areas of export control and financial sanctions. As another key contact, Burghard Hildebrandt is particularly active in compliance and M&A transactions involving foreign trade and customs law.

Practice head(s):

Andreas Neun

Other key lawyers:

Burghard Hildebrandt

Hengeler Mueller

Hengeler Mueller's particular areas of expertise include foreign trade investment audits alongside M&A transactions, where the team assists with due diligence and associated compliance measures. Advising on German anti-boycott regulations is another key strength of the team jointly led by Dirk UwerVera JungkindJan Bonhage and Wolfgang Spoerr. The firm also demonstrates particular expertise in matters at the intersection between German and US law.

Key clients

50Hertz Transmission GmbH

Glencore International AGLinde AG

Melrose Industries

Motorola Solutions, Inc

Nord Stream 2 AG

Private Equitz Investor, USA

TATA Steel

Work highlights

  • Advice to Glencore with regards to import and export of lead concentrate.
  • Advice on foreign trade law to a wholesaler of pharmaceutical and medicinal products concerning trading sanctions.
  • Advised the Linde AG on Russia and Iran sanctions in the context of the company merger with Praxair.

Osborne Clarke

As a firm with a strong digital footprint, Osborne Clarke assists clients from the TMT sector with export control matters pertaining to digital transformation, while handling customs and sanction law matters are also part of its offering. Team head  Christoph Torwegge specialises in energy sector work and provides assistance with associated M&A projects. Associate Theresa Gutsche advises national and international clients on foreign trade issues and import regulations.

Practice head(s):

Christoph Torwegge

Other key lawyers:

Theresa Gutsche

Key clients

APL Logistics Germany GmbH & Co. KG

Dr. Schneider Automotive


Newport Corporation Inc.

Ophir Spiricon Europe GmbH

QinetiQ Group plc

Whitehelm Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised the APL Logistics Germany GmbH & Co. KG on customs inspections and the renewal of customs privileges.
  • Advice to the QinetiQ Group on a sector specific investment auditing procedure.

Taylor Wessing

Integrated into the firm's Competition, EU & Trade team, the strength of Taylor Wessing's foreign trade law practice lies in assisting manufacturing and service companies with investment reviews and trade compliance. Following Andreas Haak's move to Dentons at the beginning of 2019, Michael Brüggemann, who made partner in April 2019, took over as team head. His key area of expertise ranges from import and export transactions to embargoes and dual-use goods. He is supported by associate Frank Marek, who regularly handles trade compliance reviews and internal trainings.

Other key lawyers:

Michael Brüggemann; Frank Marek


‘Michael Brüggemann delivers technically well-founded support and at the same time acts extremely pragmatic and solution-oriented.’




Key clients

Also Energy Inc.

American & Efird Inc.

Autel Robotics


BYD Company Limited

Coriant GmbH & Co KG

Deutz AG

Honeywell International Inc

Intel Capital Corporation

Llobe GmbH & Co. KG

Neurocrine BioSciences Inc.

NGK Spark Plug Co. Ltd.

Novartis (Advanced Accelerator Applications)

Media in Corporation and Transition GmbH

Shenzhen Goodix Technology Co. Ltd.

TÜV Rheinland Akademie GmbH

Vodafone GmbH

W.L. Gore & Associates GmbH

Work highlights

  • Advised Vodafone on different matters of foreign trade law, e.g. the trade with Iranian Customers.
  • Ongoing strategic import compliance advice to an internationally trading industrial company.
  • Advice to drones manufacturer Autel concerning foreign trade compliance and in particular on the export of German-manufactured drones to China.

Bird & Bird LLP

Bird & Bird's trade and customs law team covers all key areas of export control, export licences, technology transfers, product safety, trade barriers, customs classifications and sanctions compliance. The team including René Voigtländer also puts significant emphasis on matters pertaining to US regulations. Associate Patricia Bendlin Spür also advises on foreign trade law and has particular expertise in the energy and utilities sectors. The team works in close cooperation with the firm's international M&A department.

Practice head(s):

René Voigtländer

Other key lawyers:

Patricia Bendlin Spür

Work highlights

  • Advice to an international distribution company in Hong Kong on different matters of export control law in the course of preparing the flotation of the parent company of the client on the Hong Kong stock market.
  • Advised a company in the sector of forming technology on embargo directives and the dual use-regulation.
  • Advice to a German subsidiary company of a Chinese logistics corporation on its export approach including the setting up of an internal compliance schedule.

Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH

Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH's foreign trade law activities focus on three main areas: EU market regulation, international arbitration and various matters pertaining to export control and embargoes. Ole-Jochen Melchior, who jointly heads the team with antitrust lawyer Helmut Janssen, is the main contact in Essen and predominantly advises on Russia and Iran embargoes. He also conducts regular trainings for clients and handles export control issues.

SKW Schwarz Rechtsanwälte

SKW Schwarz Rechtsanwälte is particularly active in embargo matters and also focuses on issues at the intersection with the logistics sector. Handling customs law and anti-dumping duties constitutes another key area of expertise for the team and is one of team head Jürgen Sparr's key strengths, while he also deals with customs audits. Associate Sven Pohl represents clients before customs authorities and frequently provides assistance with the establishment and optimisation of customs procedures within companies with a focus on internal control systems.

Practice head(s):

Jürgen Sparr

Other key lawyers:

Sven Pohl