The globalization of the economy is accelerating at a rapid pace. Technological advancement and liberalization of trade rules have brought domestic businesses of all sizes unique opportunities, as well as responsibilities. It has also opened the door for foreign businesses to expand their presence in the United States.
Profitability and participation in the global supply chain can depend on the ability to take advantage of these opportunities, while successfully navigating the regulatory waters surrounding international business activity.
DeWitt Ross & Stevens S.C. is a resource for international legal solutions. DeWitt's attorneys have been intimately involved in international business and have developed sound business judgment in addition to legal expertise. Our attorneys help businesses increase their value, reduce the legal exposure of owners and officers, and facilitate top-down compliance throughout an organization and/or supply chain.
DeWitt attorneys have the depth of experience to assist in all facets of international business activity, including:
- Accessing foreign markets to increase sales and/or lower sourcing costs;
- Acquiring foreign companies and/or developing strategic relationships such as joint ventures and distributorship agreements;
- Creating and auditing import/export compliance programs;
- Foreign investment in the United States, including mergers and acquisitions; joint ventures, formation of new business entities and real estate acquisitions;
- Immigration, including employability and pre-immigration estate planning issues;
- Licensing and protection of intellectual property;
- Representing businesses and individuals regarding violations of federal trade law; and
- Minimizing international taxation and optimizing asset protection.
Domestic Businesses Doing Business Abroad
We provide counsel to companies expanding their international footprint. The firm regularly advises on the acquisition of foreign companies and/or the development of strategic relationships such as joint ventures and distributorship agreements.
Financing, compliance with United States and foreign laws, and tax minimization are all areas in which DeWitt attorneys provide assistance to companies when undertaking foreign expansion. The firm also utilizes its strategic alliances with local counsel through the Lexwork International network of attorneys and other contacts to ensure that our clients’ needs are met in the most complete and efficient manner possible.
Global Distribution and Supply Chain
We assist domestic businesses navigate the common, and potentially serious, foreign trade and supply chain legal issues that exist in the globalized economy. Our attorneys work with companies and help to establish and maintain compliance with federal export laws and regulations promulgated by the United States Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”), Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (“DDTC”), and the Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”).
DeWitt attorneys counsel companies and their executives on the proper ways to avoid the serious penalties which accompany violations of the Arms Export Control Act (“AECA”), the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”), and the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”). We also assist clients with complying with United States export laws by:
- Creating and updating export compliance procedures;
- Collaborating with the client and the federal government in the determination of proper Export Control Classification Numbers (“ECCN”) for commercial products;
- Obtaining export licenses where necessary and appropriate;
- Advising clients on Know Your Customer (“KYC”) rules, anti-boycott laws, and other export laws and regulations that pertain to particular industries;
- Creation and structuring of distributor agreements and networks to avoid indirect responsibility for violations of United States law by foreign affiliates and distributors; and
- Advice regarding the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Our attorneys offer guidance on many of the same issues in relation to the importing of goods for sale or as part of a company’s supply chain. The primary areas of the firm’s expertise in relation to importing and customs are:
- Classification and valuation of goods;
- Protests and appeals before the U.S. Customs Service and the U.S. Court of International Trade;
- Advice on Foreign Trade Zones and other duty deferment options;
- Navigation of U.S. anticorruption, antidumping, countervailing duty and unfair import practices laws; and
- Advice regarding membership in the C-TPAT: the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism.
Doing Business in the United States
Through the firm’s M & A practice, our attorneys assist foreign companies with their investment in the United States by facilitating mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and the formation of new United States business entities involving international investors.
DeWitt attorneys counsel on a wide spectrum of such transactions, ranging from purchases of small to mid-market companies, to transactions related to large, publicly-held companies; the value of which can be a few million dollars to several billion dollars. Representative international clients include companies looking to invest directly in a United States entity, institutional investment firms, as well as private individuals. When facilitating such transactions, the firm aids compliance with all applicable laws including securities regulations, employment law, tax laws, as well as environmental laws and regulations. DeWitt’s real estate practice assists international investors interested in acquiring or increasing holdings of United States real property.
DeWitt, along with its affiliated tax specialists, assists foreign and domestic clients to avoid unnecessary tax implications when doing business here or abroad. DeWitt, along with affiliated accounting firms, provides international tax consultation regarding:
- Structuring of inbound or outbound investments and joint ventures;
- Transfer pricing and related disputes with the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”);
- Maximizing foreign tax credits to avoid double taxation;
- Repatriation and compensation issues for individuals and companies; and
- Foreign bank account reporting (FINCEN).
Our attorneys provide assistance to those seeking to employ foreign nationals or to individual professionals looking to qualify for employment in the United States. The firm helps clients with applications for various types of United States visas and also with applications for permanent residency status. DeWitt also provides advice regarding the EB-5 Visa Program to obtain visas for foreign individuals making a significant investment in the United States.
In addition, the firm counsels multinational executives, managers, entrepreneurs and investors on the potential estate tax consequences surrounding attainment of U.S. immigration status, or a decision as to taking up U.S. residence. DeWitt attorneys help such persons avoid negative tax consequences through the proper creation and maintenance of pre-immigration trusts. DeWitt has access to solutions utilizing offshore life insurance products to facilitate the re-sourcing of foreign accounts prior to immigration.
DeWitt represents international and domestic clients of all scopes and sizes with their intellectual property needs, worldwide. Such clients range from non-profit organizations to major universities, large corporations to small businesses and individuals. Distance and location are not an impediment to our working relationships with clients in such matters. DeWitt’s Intellectual Property Group has clients from, and who do business in, Europe, South America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, India, Canada, China, Japan, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and Mexico.
In addition to DeWitt’s expanded capabilities through Lexwork International, its attorneys also have strong relationships (some going back 30 years) with local counsel in many industrialized foreign nations. Whether you require assistance with patent, trademark, copyright, acquisition, litigation, in-licensing, out-licensing or deal brokering, we have a highly qualified and successful team of attorneys and patent agents ready and able to assist.
Our firm is an active and proud member of Lexwork International: an association of midsized independent law firms in major cities located throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. Currently there are more than 40 member firms worldwide. Lexwork International includes more than 2500 lawyers in 36 countries with offices in more than 110 cities.
Through Lexwork, DeWitt has the ability to ensure the highest quality representation and personal service when a referral to outside or foreign counsel is needed. Lexwork is an association of like-minded firms, with the desire to provide clients with high quality, cost-effective advice and legal representation. Clients with legal needs in foreign countries can be referred to firms that are knowledgeable about local laws, regulations, and local customs. Lexwork attorneys are often extremely helpful in making referrals to trusted counsel even when it is necessary to reach out beyond the network.
DeWitt attorneys also have affiliations with law firms in China, India, South America, and the Middle East. The firm also regularly advises clients looking to do business in China and India due to the specialized experience and knowledge of the culture and conditions of those countries.
- Advised a large multinational manufacturing firm with respect to all international matters including global supply chain matters and facilitating manufacturing sourcing in China.
- Advised a large automotive parts manufacturer regarding international acquisitions, investment banking, setting up global supply chain in Europe, South America and Asia, sale transaction to Japanese company in a limited auction.
- DeWitt attorneys work with United States federal financing sources such as the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (“OPIC”), the Export Import Bank of the United States (“EXIM”), and the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) to assist in funding overseas transactions.
- Prior disclosures to the United States Government involving violations of both import and export regulations, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other regulations.
- Acquisition of companies in the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, People’s Republic of China, Brazil, Canada, Australia, India, and other countries. Representing off-shore companies in acquiring United States companies, or investment in United States companies in the automotive sector, medical, general manufacturing, controls, water, technology and energy sectors.
- International licensing agreements for many areas of technology including medical technology, automotive, general manufacturing, intellectual property, e-commerce and web-based technology.
- Negotiating and documenting international distribution agreements and representative agreements.
- Advising clients on raising funds in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, China, Hong Kong, Japan and Canada, and representing United States investors in Europe and Asia.
- Handled a major patent infringement action involving a biotechnology patent. This matter was successfully settled to the client’s advantage prior to trial. It resulted in a lucrative license agreement for the client.
- Coordinated the incorporation of a biotechnology company, a joint venture arrangement between our client, an Indian biotechnology company, and a San Diego biotechnology company to research our client’s patents. This was a joint collaboration involving the transfer of patents, the sale of a business and the transfer of stock (all capably handled by our law firm).
- Assisted a foreign client in forming a U.S.-based corporation to handle client’s patent rights. Through our firm, a U.S.-based corporation was formed to develop and market monoclonal antibody based technology.