French Insider Episode 21: Between Warring Giants: How European Companies Can Navigate U.S.-China Tensions in Trade and Commerce with Reid Whitten


In this episode of French Insider, Reid Whitten, Managing Partner of Sheppard Mullin’s London office, joins host Sarah Ben-Moussa to discuss the U.S.-China trade war, including the conflict’s origins, the Foreign Direct Product Rule, and the tangible steps European companies should be taking in light of the current tensions.

What We Talked About in This Episode:

  • What are the origins of the U.S.-China trade war?
  • What measures did the U.S. take in the wake of the 2018 National Position Paper declaring China an adversary?
  • As a practical matter, what do European companies need to look out for?
  • How does the Foreign Direct Product Rule work?
  • What is the U.S. attempting to do to get itself on a technological level where it can compete with China?
  • Do we see China retaliating against some of the measures and heated rhetoric coming out of the U.S.?
  • Can you explain the military end-user concept?
  • What tangible steps should European companies be taking as they attempt to navigate the current U.S.-China tensions?

About Reid Whitten

As Managing Partner of Sheppard Mullin's London office, Reid Whitten focuses his practice on international trade regulations and investigations. He shares his time serving clients out of the Washington, D.C. office and also leads the firm’s CFIUS Team. 

Reid works with clients around the world to plan, prepare and succeed in global transactions. He focuses on cross-border investments, particularly in the technology and aerospace sectors, helping clients navigate the international trade regulations that could disrupt their deals. In the areas of economic sanctions, export and defense exports, CFIUS, anti-corruption and tariffs, he supports clients in detecting and addressing potential compliance issues as well as conducting investigations and defending against enforcement actions. He also advises on U.S. anti-dumping, anti-money laundering and anti-boycott regulations.

Reid is a member of Chatham House, the UK's Royal Institute of International Affair. In addition to lecturing at the New College of the Humanities in London, at the Université Catholique de Lille in France, and Wake Forest University in the U.S, he also conducts seminars on regulatory updates for industry groups in the U.S., France, Belgium, Spain and the UK.

A thought leader on cross-border business regulation, Reid is frequently called upon to provide commentary and analysis for television news channels, international newspapers, and trade publications. He is also the lead author and editor of The CFIUS Book.

About Sarah F. Ben-Moussa

Sarah F. Ben-Moussa is an associate in the Corporate Practice Group in Sheppard Mullin’s New York office, where her practice focuses on domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, financings and corporate governance matters. As a member of the firm’s French Desk, she has advised companies and private equity funds in both the United States and Europe on mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, financings, complex commercial agreements, and general corporate matters.

As a member of Sheppard Mullin’s Energy, Infrastructure and Project Finance team, Sarah also represents renewable energy companies, borrowers, financial sponsors, portfolio companies, commercial banks and other financial institutions in a variety of financing transactions. Her practice focuses on a variety of transactions in the energy sphere, representing renewable energy companies in project-level debt and equity financings of wind and solar facilities. She also serves on the New York office’s sustainability committee.

Before joining Sheppard Mullin, Sarah spent a year and a half studying and working in France, becoming fluent in French and focusing on corporate transactions and commercial contracts in Europe and internationally. Sarah is also committed to pro bono work, focusing on cases involving children seeking asylum or other immigration-related relief.

Contact Information:

Reid Whitten

Sarah F. Ben-Moussa

Thank you for listening! Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to the show to receive every new episode delivered straight to your podcast player every week.

If you enjoyed this episode, please help us get the word out about this podcast. Rate and Review this show in Apple PodcastsDeezer, Amazon MusicGoogle Podcasts or Spotify. It helps other listeners find this show.

This podcast is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not to be construed as legal advice specific to your circumstances. If you need help with any legal matter, be sure to consult with an attorney regarding your specific needs.


Jump to Page

By scrolling this page, clicking a link or continuing to browse our website, you consent to our use of cookies as described in our Cookie and Advertising Policy. If you do not wish to accept cookies from our website, or would like to stop cookies being stored on your device in the future, you can find out more and adjust your preferences here.