SVEN DE KNOP is an advocate in Sidley’s Global Arbitration, Trade and Advocacy group, and leads the firm’s ex-U.S. investment screening work. Sven focuses his practice on international trade law and EU law and regulations.
Sven has particular experience in regards to:
- Trade controls (economic sanctions and export controls);
- Investment controls (foreign direct investment screening);
- Subsidy controls (under the EU’s Anti-Subsidy Regulation and Foreign Subsidies Regulation) and (other) trade defense proceedings (anti-dumping and safeguard measures);
- Trade restrictive measures affecting free movement in the EU (including environmental regulation), and general market access; and
Sven assists clients in international enforcement actions. He also assists clients in understanding how the relevant legal framework applies to their businesses, and in the design and implementation of compliance programs, and with internal investigations and compliance audits.
A significant part of his practice concerns transactional support, where he assists in identifying and mitigating trade, investment, and subsidy controls risks. In that regard, he coordinates multi-jurisdictional and EU due diligence and filings.
Sven also advises clients on a broad range of sustainability issues, including supply chain due diligence and reporting requirements, forced labor, the European Green Deal, and emissions and battery regulation.
Sven further represents clients in administrative proceedings involving the European institutions, as well as in judicial proceedings before the EU and Member State courts.
- Sven has notable experience representing clients before the European Commission, having represented clients before a wide range of Directorate-Generals, including Trade, AGRI, SANTE, MOVE, SG, and TAXUD. In addition, Sven advises clients in investigations conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).
- Sven regularly represents clients in judicial proceedings before the Court of Justice of the European Union and Member State courts. He has represented clients before the Court of Justice in cases concerning free movement, customs, environment, life sciences regulation, trade defense, access to documents, competition law, and damages actions, in direct actions, interventions, references for preliminary rulings from national courts, appeals, and interim measures. He has experience pleading before the courts of Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK.
Sven has earned acknowledgment in industry-ranking guides:
- In the 2024 edition of Chambers Global (Europe-wide) for International Trade/WTO, a client notes that “Sven provides very strong and precise advice. He handles the coordination inside the firm and communication very efficiently and professionally.” and "He is responsive, provides good practical advice and is a great overall lawyer."
- In the 2023 editions of Chambers Europe and Global (Europe-wide) for International Trade/WTO, a client notes that Sven “supports our cases with great commitment.” Sven has also been recognized in the 2022 editions of Chambers Europe and Global for International Trade/WTO. A client describes him as “business-oriented, practical, and calm in crisis,” further noting that he is “good at pointing out gaps to prevent potential future problems.”
- In Chambers Europe 2021, clients commented that his “advice on contract negotiation and compliance terms was extremely practical, and married with processes we already had in place.”
- In Who’s Who Legal 2021 for Trade and Customs.
- In the International Trade/WTO chapter of Chambers Europe 2020, clients note that “he has a razor-sharp mind and his analytical abilities are simply astounding, resulting in the perfect litigator and debater.”
- Who’s Who Legal 2020 notes that he “deserves the nomination for being a great lawyer with special expertise in international and EU trade law.”
- In Chambers Europe 2019, Sven is highlighted for his “brilliant legal mind” and for being “extremely efficient.”
- Sources from Chambers Europe 2018 recommend him as “a razor-sharp litigator who wins highly complex arguments by putting them in simple terms.”
- Sven was recognized by Law360 2018 as a “Rising Star” in the International Trade category.