Elsa Manzanares

Co-Chair, International Trade
Partner, Corporate
2021 McKinney Avenue
Suite 1600
Dallas, Texas 75201
t 214.999.4172 f 214.999.3172
1000 Louisiana Street
Suite 2000
Houston, Texas 77002-2099
t 713.276.5172 f 214.999.3172

Elsa Manzanares is an experienced international trade attorney who advises clients on U.S. and international regulations governing the import and export of goods, services, software, and technology. 

She has successfully represented companies facing investigations or inquiries by the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Department of State on matters pertaining to violations of U.S. export regulations, including the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).  Elsa has extensive experience handling issues relating to the export and licensing of defense articles, defense services, and encryption items, as well as anti-boycott compliance, and export reporting requirements.  Elsa also represents clients before the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on transactions implicating U.S. sanctions and embargoes, including the agency’s programs on Russia, Iran, and Cuba. 

In addition, as companies importing goods into the U.S. continue to experience a heightened enforcement environment, Elsa advises clients on the import regulations administered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), including product valuation, tariff classification, country of origin, product marking (for Customs purposes and Made in the USA claims), and claims for duty-free treatment under various free trade agreements, including NAFTA. She has also represented clients facing seizures of goods at the border for intellectual property rights violations, country of origin marking, and other issues. Elsa also advises clients on antidumping and/or countervailing duty matters before the U.S. Department of Commerce and trade litigation in the U.S. Court of International Trade.

For multinational clients selling goods or services abroad, anti-corruption compliance under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) goes hand in hand with trade compliance.  Elsa has advised companies facing investigations by the Department of Justice on FCPA matters. She has also helped clients develop tailored policies and procedures, oversee internal reviews, and conduct third party due diligence.  

Elsa also represents clients on transactions reviewed for national security by the Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). 

Elsa has extensive experience addressing import, export, and corruption risks in mergers and acquisitions. She is also highly experienced in purchase and sales contract drafting to minimize trade and corruption risks for buyers or sellers of goods, services, or technology in international transactions.

Clients headquartered around the U.S. and abroad hire Elsa and her international trade lawyers because of their broad experience in all aspects of moving goods, services, software, and technology across borders. For example, few FCPA lawyers in Texas and the Southwest have export controls, ITAR, OFAC and EAR experience – but Gardere’s team is consistently hired and referred because of this deep experience and coverage addressing these issues in tandem, especially when clients are facing the highest risk transactions.

Her clients have included software companies, defense contractors, manufacturers, retailers, and others in various industry sectors, including:

  • Aerospace
  • Explosives
  • Firearms
  • Chemicals
  • Military training and services
  • Electronics
  • Energy/Oil and gas
  • Software and technology
  • Food and beverage
  • Research and development
  • Banking and financial services

As a former in-house counsel for a multinational company on trade, corporate and litigation matters in Latin America and Canada, Elsa has a unique understanding of how trade and compliance matters can disrupt global business and operations.  

After law school, Elsa served as law clerk for U.S. District Judge David Briones in El Paso, Texas and law clerk for Justice Ann C. McClure of the Eighth District Court of Appeals of Texas. Elsa also sits on the Firm’s business development and hiring committees. She is fluent in Spanish.

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