EU Regulatory Compliance

Steptoe focuses on international regulatory issues in the European Union and its member states, through our offices in London and Brussels. Our range includes the following:

Export/Import Controls. We handle licensing and advisory matters under EU dual-use and military export controls, including the EU Dual-Use Regulation and member state implementing legislation. Our leading global encryption regulation practice—covering export, import, and use controls in numerous jurisdictions (see our website)—handles numerous matters in France and other European jurisdictions. We also advise on EU import and customs issues.

Economic Sanctions. Our European lawyers work with our US-based lawyers on advisory and enforcement matters relating to US economic sanctions; Iran, Syria, Sudan, and Cuba sanctions are of particular importance for European companies. The European Union and its member states are reluctant to impose broad, US-style sanctions, but have a wide variety of limited sanctions that should not be ignored, and on which we advise.

Anti-Corruption and Anti-Money-Laundering. Legislation and enforcement to deal with corruption and money laundering are becoming increasingly important in the European Union. Our European lawyers advise on these regulatory frameworks, and also frequently work with our US-based lawyers on anti-corruption matters pursued by US authorities in Europe, Africa, and Asia under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Data Protection. Multinational companies with EU operations often face regulatory issues under the EU Data Protection Directive and member state implementing legislation, particularly when transferring data to non-EU parent or affiliated companies (e.g. when using centralized IT infrastructure). The importance of data protection continues to increase as Internet and Intranet data flows increase. Our team of EU- and US-based lawyers focuses on such issues.

Investment Barriers. Although there is no general review process for foreign investments in EU member states, EU governments are increasingly using political and share ownership tools to restrict investment in leading national companies. We have extensive experience in assisting companies to navigate the legal and political minefield that such situations can present.

Trade, Competition & Disputes. EU matters handled by our International Regulation & Compliance Group also frequently require the talents of our International Trade Group (e.g. trade disputes, WTO issues), our Antitrust & Competition Group (e.g. merger regulation, exclusive agreements), and our Worldwide Arbitration & Dispute Resolution Group. Where appropriate, we build cross-group teams for matters involving multiple skill areas.