Robert L. LaFrankie regularly advises manufacturers, exporters, and importers in all aspects of international trade and customs proceedings before various government agencies, courts, and international tribunals. He focuses on trade-related litigation and counseling, including trade remedy proceedings and U.S. Customs compliance and enforcement issues. Mr. LaFrankie has successfully defended numerous clients located throughout Asia, Europe, and the Americas that produce or import a diverse range of products, including flat-rolled and specialty steel products and components, chemicals and plastics, frozen and canned food products, paper products, motor vehicle parts and components, specialty valves and valve systems, disposable lighters, petrochemical and renewable fuels, anti-friction bearings, and other manufactured products. In addition to litigation and compliance counseling, Mr. LaFrankie engages in strategic trade remedy and customs planning activities for clients, particularly for companies with global sourcing, manufacturing, and export/import operations. He also advises companies with regard to NAFTA compliance issues and related audits of client facilities.
Mr. LaFrankie also has significant government experience in international trade. He served as a Senior Attorney in the Office of Chief Counsel for Import Administration at the U.S. Commerce Department, where he defended the agency’s international trade decisions from legal challenge before U.S. Courts, the World Trade Organization dispute settlement bodies, and NAFTA bi-national panels. In that capacity, he also acted as legal counsel in government-to-government negotiations addressing various cross-border trade disputes, and advised agency and congressional staff on legislative and regulatory proposals affecting international trade.
Prior to attending law school, Mr. LaFrankie worked as a Legislative Assistant in the Economic Affairs section of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Washington, D.C. He also spent a year abroad teaching English and international trade law at the Guilin Institute for Electronics Technology in Guilin, China.