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Steptoe launches supply chain team to help businesses with Covid-19 challenges

Team will be led by international trade policy partner and former government advisor Jeff Weiss

Jeff Weiss Steptoe & Johnson


US firm Steptoe & Johnson has launched a specialist supply chain team to help clients manage the logistical challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.


The new team is fronted by Jeff Weiss, co-lead of the firm’s international trade policy practice, and will draw on a range of cross-practice expertise to guide clients on topics such as tax, customs, commercial contracts, export controls, sanctions, and labour and employment law.


Weiss said: “In the best of times, businesses face a myriad of risks to the stability of their supply chains, and the Covid-19 pandemic has only intensified those risks. In the current environment, businesses with any degree of international exposure need to continually assess the resilience of their supply chains.”


Key issues that Weiss expects Steptoe’s supply chain team to focus on are efforts by governments and companies to shift supply chains closer to home to safeguard against potential Covid-19 disruptions that cause the transport of goods to slow or completely shutdown. He also expects trade tensions between the US and China, as well as the trade implications from Brexit, to be at the top of corporate agendas. And ever-changing export controls and sanctions regimes are also a growing concern for companies given the associated legal risks and supply chain uncertainty.


Weiss said: “Steptoe’s lawyers bring decades of experience working across disciplines and borders to help clients build and safeguard their supply chains, mitigate legal and political risks, and facilitate the movement of goods and services to gain a competitive advantage.”


Weiss joined Steptoe in March from Venable, where he was a partner in its international trade and logistics group. Prior to that he held various US government roles, most recently at the US Department of Commerce, where he was port and supply chain policy lead for the Secretary of Commerce.


He also advised the Obama administration on a wide range of economic issues, including how to improve the competitiveness of US port communities, and worked as a senior director in the Office of the US Trade Representative, notably as lead US negotiator and drafter in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations for the chapter on technical trade barriers.

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