Katharina Bongs focuses on EU and German competition law and EU trade law.

EU Competition Law

Katharina represents clients in German and EU cartel and merger control cases. She acts before the European Commission, the EU Court of Justice and in national competition proceedings. She has experience advising in cartel defence cases, including leniency and settlement proceedings. Furthermore, she assists clients on how to structure their agreements to ensure competition law compliance and organises customised EU and German competition law compliance programmes. She deals with cases in a range of sectors, including intellectual property, industrial products, waste management and recycling.

​Trade & Customs Law 

In the field of trade law, Katharina specialises in EU customs law. Her expertise extends to advising clients on multi-jurisdictional customs matters, including classification, origin and valuation issues. She has experience in the field of duty suspensions, quotas, customs compliance and OLAF proceedings. She represents clients before national customs administrations, German courts and the European Commission.
Katharina is also part of the regulatory team and routinely deals with legal questions involving chemicals.
Katharina is qualified as a German lawyer. Prior to joining Van Bael & Bellis, in the course of her legal training, she worked, notably, at the Cologne office of a large German commercial law firm dealing with distribution law mainly in the automotive sector and EU law, with the German Federal Ministry of Economics dealing with anti-dumping measures and with the German Embassy in Oslo.


German, English, French, Spanish


  • Who's Who Legal - Competition (Future Leaders)


  • College of Europe, Bruges, Master of European Legal Studies, 2007
  • Higher Regional Court of Cologne, Second State Examination in Law, 2006
  • University of Bonn, First State Examination in Law, 2002
  • University of Salamanca, Spain, Erasmus Programme, 1998/1999
  • University of Trier, Diploma in International Law Studies in Anglo-American and French Law, 1999


Contributor to Van Bael & Bellis, Competition Law of the European Community (fifth edition, Kluwer, 2010 and upcoming sixth edition).

Regular contributor to the monthly competition law newsletter, VBB on Competition Law.

Teaching Posts

Katharina Bongs was a Graduate Assistant to Prof. Dr. Wagner at the Institute of Civil Procedural Law of the University of Bonn where she was involved in an international research project and the annotation of the “Münchener Kommentar” on tort law.

Professional Membership

  • Studienvereinigung Kartellrecht e.V.
  • EFA – Europäisches Forum für Aussenwirtschaft, Verbrauchssteuern und Zoll e.V. (European Forum for External Trade, Excise and Customs)
  • Aussenwirtschaftsrunde  e.V.

Bar Admissions


Publications and insights

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    • 08/09/2023
    • News

    16 VBB lawyers recognised by Who’s Who Legal (WWL) 2023

    WWL aims to identify the world’s leading lawyers in various business law fields. Inclusion in the guide is dependent on receiving a significant volume of positive feedback from private practitioners, in-house counsel and other key industry players.

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    • 04/10/2021
    • News

    Katharina Bongs is shortlisted as one of the top women competition law practitioners by Women@Competion

    Van Bael & Bellis counsel Katharina Bongs has been shortlisted by Women@Competition in the ‘Five Star Women Competition Professionals’ Survey which celebrates notable women competition professionals. Katharina focuses on EU and German competition law and on EU trade law. You are invited to vote for Katharina and other competition law professionals in the fields of Private Practice, Economics, Enforcement, In-house, Policy, Advocacy & Media, using the following link: https://womenat.com/w-comp-5-stars-brussels-private-practice

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    • 08/01/2021
    • Articles

    German Government prohibits Chinese acquisition under foreign direct investment rules

    On 2 December 2020, the German Government prohibited on public security grounds the sale of the German Institut für Mobil- und Satellitenfunktechnik (“IMST”), a specialist in satellite and communications technologies, to Addsino, a subsidiary of State-owned defence group China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (“CASIC”). This is only the second time that the German Government has decided to prohibit a transaction on the basis of the Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance, and is technically the first prohibition to take effect as the first transaction had been abandoned once it became clear that the prohibition was imminent.

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