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Robert Shapiro


Washington, D.C.
202 585 6926 202 585 6926 direct

Robert counsels clients in all aspects of international transactions with a focus on the trade and shipment of goods.

He regularly represents clients before Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. International Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of State, the Federal Maritime Commission, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the United States Congress.

Robert chairs the Firm's International Trade practice. He has extensive experience in advising clients on issues concerning the valuation, classification and origin of imported merchandise; duty-deferral and recovery; free trade agreements; and export controls governing sanctions at the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), dual use goods under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and munitions under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Robert represents clients in antidumping, safeguard and other trade remedy actions before the International Trade Commission and the Department of Commerce.

Whether it is the classification of chemicals under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, understanding the implications and limitations of certain technical provisions of the Commerce Control List, understanding how to integrate a compliance system into a company's automated processes, or designing and conducting an investigation of potential compliance issues, Robert's background in the sciences and automation have proved to be valuable in understanding the technical information that is often at the core of international trade compliance issues.

Robert resolves trade issues with a multifaceted approach. For example, he has worked with U.S. Customs and the Department of Commerce to resolve classification disputes in Mexico. Robert also establishes systems and procedures that help his clients avoid regulatory pitfalls that often trap companies in international trade, and resolves problems that may occur, with minimal penalty exposure. As a licensed customs broker and foreign freight forwarder, Robert was the vice president of a major logistics firm prior to entering the practice of law, where he developed the automated systems for the preparation of customs entries and logistics documents, and aided the U.S. Customs Service in the development of its automated systems. This experience enables him to provide his clients with a unique insight into both the transportation and regulatory aspects of trade, and the practical implications of compliance and enforcement measures, as well as an understanding of the complexities involved with implementing cargo security requirements throughout the supply chain.

Security issues are of a central concern to the importation and exportation of goods as well as foreign acquisition, ownership and control of U.S. entities. By understanding the diverse interests of the Departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security, Treasury and the other various agencies charged with implementing international trade security measures--broadly or narrowly defined--Robert is able to help clients establish transactions and acquisitions so as to avoid regulatory and policy road blocks.

Thompson Coburn Publications

What every shipper should know about OSRA 22

Uyghur Forced Labor legislation passes House & Senate

Cooperation and a commitment to a compliance program results in a DOJ non-prosecution agreement for SAP

OFAC initiates 45-day wind-down of Belarus General License 2

Growing U.S.-China tensions put companies in a bind

U.S. government response in China Section 301 Master Answer continues fight

USTR proposes duties in response to six countries’ Digital Services Tax

Additional due diligence may be required for many exports to China

U.S., China ease commercial air carrier tensions

Executive Order 13936, Hong Kong, and China Section 301 Duties

USMCA allows challenges to U.S. grants of authority given to persons of Mexico providing cross-border long-haul trucking services in the United States

Beware: It’s time to reevaluate your exports and deemed exports to Hong Kong

U.S. Releases guidance addressing sanctions evasion practices in maritime, energy and metal trading sectors

What importers need to know about postponed duty payments during COVID-19

Importing face masks and personal protective equipment during COVID-19

What the President’s executive order means for transactions involving the Government of Venezuela

What U.S. businesses need to know about new restrictions on Huawei and the ICT supply chain

Trade Compliance Handbook

Checklists of Foreign Countries Subject to Sanctions

NAFTA, tariffs and trade wars: Are you ready to do battle in Missouri?

Seven steps to avoid the new waves of Chinese tariffs on industrial goods

IFR for steel and aluminum exclusions

Section 232 tariffs on steel & aluminum

New law may significantly impact international trade

Summary and implications of proposed 'Counteracting Russian Hostilities Act of 2017'

TPP accord faces uncertain future in Congress

Final rules for international trade data highlight issues for routed export transaction

Export controls and forwarder due diligence

International trade compliance: 6 basic products questions a company should answer

BIS publishes proposed rule for export control reform

BIS releases final rule implementing STA license exception


Understanding Country of Origin

Trade Issues in M&A

Terms of Sale, Routed Exports and Export Controls

Government Contracts Update 2013


Checklists of Foreign Countries Subject to Sanctions;
updated March 2017

Trade Compliance Handbook;
updated March 2017


Co-Presenter, "Ten Things You Need to Know About International Trade (and didn’t know to ask)";
ACC National Capital Region CLE, September 29, 2015

"Terms of Sale, Routed Exports and Export Controls";
October 14, 2014

"Unraveling the Mysteries of Country of Origin in International Trade";
May 22, 2014

"International Trade Law: Export Control Reform: What Does It Mean or Not Mean For Your ITAR and/or EAR Exports";
September 19, 2013

"International Trade Law: Current Developments in U.S. Economic and Trade Sanctions";
September 12, 2012

"International Trade Management and the Supply Chain: Legal Environment";
St. Louis University, March 9, 2012

"The International Regulation of Trade";
University of Baltimore, February 21, 2012

"Sampling and Offsetting in Audits and Prior Disclosures";
St. Louis Trade Compliance Professionals Roundtable, January 10, 2012

"Export Controls";
Wireless Innovation Forum, December 1, 2011

"International Trade Management and the Supply Chain: Legal Environment";
St. Louis University, May 5, 2011

"Exports: Warnings, Traps and Considerations";
Corporate Counsel Institute, May 13, 2010