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Thomas M. de Butts

Thomas M. deButts

Of Counsel

Thomas deButts assists domestic and foreign companies in navigating the intricate web of US international trade and investment controls.

His practice focuses primarily on the following regulatory regimes:

  • Export Administration Regulations (EAR) administered by the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)
  • International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) administered by the US Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC)
  • Economic sanctions regulations administered by the US Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)
  • U.S. Department of the Treasury, Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) regulations

Thomas also counsels companies on compliance with the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR), Antiboycott Regulations (included in the EAR) and the application of INCOTERMS to international business transactions.

Thomas has served as a Department of Justice and BIS approved Independent Compliance Monitor in connection with a deferred prosecution agreement between a US company and the United States involving EAR violations.

Bar admissionsDistrict of ColumbiaVirginia
CourtsUnited States Court of International TradeUnited States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit


His extensive experience includes:

  • Compliance reviews and internal investigations for possible violations of US export control and sanctions regulations
  • Voluntary disclosure of such violations
  • Obtaining export and reexport authorization for all types of commodities, software and technology, including encryption technology and software
  • Preparing and implementing export compliance programs and export management systems
  • Obtaining export control classification determinations, commodity jurisdiction determinations and reversal of export classification decisions by US government agencies
  • Obtaining authority for transactions with embargoed countries
  • Preparation of and filing of antiboycott request reports with BIS's Office of Antiboycott Compliance
  • Export control and sanctions due diligence reviews for potential corporate acquisitions
  • Representation of companies in administrative enforcement proceedings before BIS, DDTC, OFAC and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
  • Notifications to CFIUS of proposed acquisitions of strategic US entities and negotiations with relevant agencies to secure approval
  • J.D., George Mason University School of Law
  • A.B., Duke University


  • The Legal 500 United States
    2016 - Recommended, International Trade

Insight Overview

Thomas is a featured presenter on export enforcement issues at the Export Compliance Training Institute seminars on US Commercial Export Controls & Embargoes. He was a featured presenter at the American Conference Institute's Advanced Summit on Complying with Global Encryption Controls and at the Practising Law Institute's program entitled "Coping with US Export Controls."


  • "United States Re-export Jurisdiction Clarified for Non-US Products," Global Trade and Customs Journal, Volume 6, Issue 2, February 2011
  • "Export Control Reforms and Citizenship Evaluations," International Trade Law360, May 18, 2010
  • "Overview of US Export Controls," "Department of Commerce Export Controls," and "Department of Commerce Controls on Reexports and Other Activity Abroad," by Cecil Hunt (edited 2005-2009 versions) in Coping with US Export Controls Handbook, Practising Law Institute


  • Speaker, "ITAR: Recent Reforms and Compliance Updates," Practising Law Institute conference call briefing, April 26, 2012

Prior Experience

Thomas was Director of the Exporter Assistance Staff at BIS, where he served from 1984 to 1989.

Memberships And Affiliations

  • American Bar Association, Section of International Law, Export Controls and Economic Sanctions Committee
  • Society for International Affairs