New Foreign Investment Status Quo: CFIUS Mandatory Filings and Potential Penalties

By: Olga L Torres, Managing Member, Maria Alonso, Associate, Pierfilippo Natta, Legal Intern
Date: 10/11/2018

On October 10, 2018, the U.S Department of the Treasury issued temporary regulations to conduct pilot programs to implement provisions of the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (“FIRRMA”), which became effective August 13, 2018, and amended section 721 of the Defense Production Act of 1950 specifically to protect American technology companies and intellectual property. As Torres Law previously discussed in several articles, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) reviews foreign investment in U.S. companies for national security considerations, and FIRRMA has significantly expanded CFIUS jurisdiction.

Department of Commerce Makes Changes to the Steel and Aluminum Tariff Exclusion Request Process

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member, Derrick Kyle, Associate
Date: 09/11/2018

On September 11, 2018, the Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) issued an interim final rule in the Federal Register updating the process by which companies may request exclusion from additional duties on steel and aluminum articles pursuant to Section 232.

New Changes to the United States Foreign Investment Laws: What Foreign Investors Need to Know

By: Torres Law
Date: 08/13/2018

On August 13, 2018, President Trump signed the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA) into law. The NDAA contains the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA), which makes significant changes to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). This article briefly summarizes a number of changes to the current CFIUS process that will significantly impact foreign companies seeking to invest in U.S.-based businesses. The changes introduced by FIRRMA are the most significant changes made to CFIUS in over a decade.

Latest Developments Regarding Tariffs on China

By: Torres Law
Date: 08/07/2018

On August 7, 2018, the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced it had finalized a list of $16 billion worth of imports from China that will be subject to a 25% tariff rate. 

Trade Wars Heating Up: More Tariffs on China

By: Torres Law
Date: 08/03/2018

On August 1, 2018, the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced it was considering raising the proposed tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods imported from China from 10% to 25%. This is the latest in a long string of developments aimed at urging China to stop its unfair practices, open its market, and engage in true market competition. 

Product Exclusions Announced for Section 301 Tariffs

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member, Jonathan Creek, Associate
Date: 07/06/2018

On July 6, 2018, the United States Trade Representative ("USTR") announced the procedures for filing and obtaining product exclusions from the recently announced Section 301 tariffs on the imports of $34 billion worth of Chinese goods. Exclusion requests are due by October 9, 2018.

Tariffs: The Never-Ending Saga

By: Olga L Torres, Managing Member, Jonathan Creek Associate
Date: 06/18/2018

On June 15, 2018, the Trump Administration took the next step in escalating trade tensions with China by imposing additional 25% tariffs on imports of more than 800 products under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.

U.S. to Withdraw from "Decaying and Rotten" Iran Nuclear Deal

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member, Derrick Kyle, Associate
Date: 05/09/2018

On May 8, 2018, President Trump announced the United States will withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”), commonly referred to as the “Iran Nuclear Deal,” which was adopted on October 18, 2015 and implemented on January 16, 2016 (“Implementation Day”). 

Steel and Aluminum Tariff Exemptions Extended...For Now

By: Jonathan Creek, Associate
Date: 05/07/2018

This article discusses the latest on tariff exemptions by the Trump Administration. 

DDTC Overhauls its Website

By: Torres Law
Date: 05/07/2018

On April 30, 2018, the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (“DDTC”) announced it had launched a new, redesigned version of its website. This is the first time DDTC has made changes to its website in several years. The new website is designed to improve the navigation, searchability, accessibility, and improve the experience on mobile devices. The improvements are expected to continue in the future, as the Department of State seeks to improve and provide a more consistent experience across all Department sites. If you have any questions about the redesign, or where information is located on the new website, please feel free to contact us or DDTC’s response team at (202) 663-1282. To access the new website, go to


FLIR Enters Into Consent Agreement with DDTC

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member and Jonathan Creek, Associate
Date: 04/26/2018

On April 24, 2018, FLIR Systems, Inc. (“FLIR”) entered into a consent agreement with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (“DDTC”) for alleged violations of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”). FLIR manufactures and exports advanced sensors and integrated sensor systems for various military and commercial platforms used to protect borders, gather intelligence, and protect critical infrastructure. Notably, the consent agreement was reached after FLIR submitted 18 voluntary self-disclosures (“VSD”) between 2008 and 2017.

Requirements for Steel and Aluminum Exclusion Requests Announced

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member, Jonathan Creek, Associate
Date: 03/19/2018

On March 19, 2018, the U.S. Department of Commcer ("DOC") published an interim final rule (“the Interim Final Rule”) listing the requirements for companies seeking product-based exclusions to the steel and aluminum tariffs previously announced by President Trump on March 8, 2018.

Tariffs on Steel, a Sign of Trade Wars on the Horizon

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member, Jonathan Creek, Associate
Date: 03/08/2018

On March 8, 2018, President Trump announced his decision to implement tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. These tariffs go into effect on March 23, 2018,[1] 15 days after President Trump’s announcement.


[1] In our initial publication of the article, we had a typographical error and stated the effective date was March 16. The correct date is March 23, 2018.

Census Bureau Requests Public Comments Regarding Routed Export Transactions

Date: 10/08/2017

On October 6, 2017, the U.S. Census Bureau’s International Trade Management Division (“ITMD” or “Census Bureau”) published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“ANPRM”) seeking public comments regarding standard and routed export transactions.[1] The comment period will end on December 5, 2017. The Census Bureau is particularly interested in comments regarding the definition of a routed export transaction and the responsibilities of parties in routed export transactions. 


[1] Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR): Request for Public Comments Regarding Standard and Routed Export Transactions, 82 FR 46739 (proposed Oct. 6, 2017)

Trade Alert: DDTC: 07-29-2016

Date: 07/29/2016

The Office of Defense Trade Controls Director, Sue Gainor, has announced her departure. Her exact departure date and her replacement are not yet known. 

Trade Alert: DDTC: 07-28-2016

Date: 07/28/2016

The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) published revisions to United States Munitions List (USML) Categories XIV (Toxicological Agents) and XVIII (Directed Energy Weapons). Commerce published a parallel final rule a well.

Trade Alert: BIS: 07-22-2016

Date: 07/22/2016

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) recently published a final rule on penalty determinations, which became effective July 22, 2016. The rule outlines the factors that the Office of Export Enforcement (OEE) considers when setting penalties and on deciding whether to pursue administrative charges. According to BIS, the objective of this rule is to make penalty determinations more predictable and in line with penalties issued by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). 

Trade Alert: DDTC: 07-22-2016

Date: 07/22/2016

In response to questions from gunsmithing businesses, on July 22, 2016, DDTC issued guidance confirming registration is not required for certain activities that do not meet the ordinary, contemporary, common meaning of “manufacturing” under the ITAR. 

Trade Alert: DDTC: 07-21-2016

Date: 07/21/2016

On July 21, 2016, DDTC published public comments submitted by industry regarding the Interim Final Rule amending the ITAR and harmonizing certain ITAR and EAR definitions. 

Trade Alert: DDTC: 07-15-2016

Date: 07/15/2016

On July 15, 2016, DDTC published information regarding the relaunching of its company visit program (CVP). CVPs are in-person visits by Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) staff to conduct outreach, or pursuant to a consent agreement. The visits are not audits. Although the agency claims these visits are performed to provide guidance and training to companies and are not investigative in nature, companies should take these visits seriously. If DDTC discovers a potential violation it could “recommend” companies file disclosures. Please note that the CVP is different from the “Blue Lantern” program, which consists of end-use checks by embassy personnel overseas and focus on end-user and end-use verifications related to DDTC authorizations. 

Trade Alert: DOJ: 07-08-2016

Date: 07/08/2016

On July 8, 2016, the Department of Justice issued a press release regarding a recent criminal case involving a Chinese national sentenced to 15 months in prison for conspiring to sell “fake” integrated circuits to a U.S. buyer. The Chinese national, and his co-conspirators, approached a U.S. person to order integrated circuits which had military applications, including radiation tolerance for uses in space. After being told that these integrated circuits could not be exported to China, the conspirators proposed to supply fake integrated circuits to replace the ones they intended to steal.