Insights

USTR Provides Detail on Products Subject to Additional Section 301 (“China”) Tariffs

By: Olga Torres, Derrick Kyle, Camille Edwards
Date: 05/22/2024

On May 22, 2024, the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced the publication of a Federal Register Notice (“the FRN”) setting forth additional and increased Section 301 tariffs for specific Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S. (“HTSUS”) subheadings. In addition, the FRN provides details on products subject to potential exclusions from the tariffs and establishes a period for interested parties to provide comments on the tariff modifications and potential exclusions.

President Biden Announces Additional Sanctions and Export Controls on Russia

By: Olga Torres and Derrick Kyle
Date: 02/23/2024

Today, on the brink of the two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Biden announced additional sanctions and export controls against Russia and entities in third countries that have supported the Russian war effort. The February 23 Statement describes that the 500 new sanctions against Russia are “for its ongoing war of conquest on Ukraine and for the death of Aleksey Navalny,” the Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption activist that suspiciously died in a Russian prison on February 16.

Trade Violations Under the False Claims Act

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member
Date: 01/30/2024

On February 7, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that settlements and judgements under the False Claims Act (FCA) exceeded $2 billion for the 2022 fiscal year. The 2022 fiscal year also had the second-highest number of settlements and judgments for any given year in the history of the act.

Red Sea Ship Attacks: The Sanctions Connection

By: Donna Wedgeworth, Senior Trade Advisor
Date: 01/30/2024

Global maritime shipping is the keystone of international commerce. So when international shipping is in crisis, global trade and supply chains are likewise brought into crisis. The shipping sector has faced many challenges to ocean transit over the last several years. As we can see from the current global news headlines, the shipping sector is facing yet another significant challenge from the Houthi rebel attacks on ships in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, a necessary route for vessels transiting the Suez Canal. 

Syrian Aid Charity Sentenced for Export Violations

By: Derrick Kyle, Senior Associate
Date: 01/30/2024

On December 28, 2023, a federal court sentenced New Hampshire charity NuDay (a/k/a NuDay Syria) to five years of probation – the maximum sentence for an organizational defendant – for three counts of Failure to File Export Information.

Trade Alert: Section 301 Tariff Exclusion Extension Public Comment Docket Opens Today

Date: 01/22/2024

On December 26, 2023, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced the extension to May 31, 2024, of all current exclusions from Section 301 tariffs on Chinese-origin goods. The extended exclusions include 77 COVID-related exclusions and 352 previously reinstated exclusions. 

What to Know about CBP Export Seizures

By: Derrick Kyle, Senior Associate
Date: 12/21/2023

Regular readers of our newsletter, and those familiar with U.S. import and export regulations, know that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP” or “Customs”) generally enforces the U.S. import regulations, while multiple executive government agencies administer regulations related to the export of goods.

In July 2019, CBP updated its Mitigation Guidelines (the “Guidelines”), specifically the section related to forfeiture remission for export seizures. [1]

Section 321 De Minimis Imports Can Pose Compliance Risks

Date: 12/07/2023

In 2016, the United States implemented legislation revising 19 U.S.C. § 1321 (“Section 321”) and thereby increasing the de minimis amount for imports into the United States from $200 to $800, meaning an importer is not required to pay duties if the merchandise has a fair market retail value at or below $800. In 2018, the U.S. began imposing a 25% tariff on most goods from China. The convergence of these two issues – the ability to import duty-free under $800 and the steep duties applicable to Chinese goods – led many vendors of Chinese merchandise to take advantage of Section 321 de minimis treatment for certain imports.

BIS, DDTC, OFAC, and CBP Subpoenas and Requests for Information – Tips to Comply

By: By Olga Torres, Managing Member
Date: 10/31/2023

Receiving an administrative subpoena, summons, or other request for information from a federal U.S. agency can be surprising, but it is not an uncommon scenario in the trade world. The main agencies in charge of administering and enforcing U.S. trade laws each have the power to compel the disclosure of certain information or documentation that may be related to an agency’s enforcement of import, export, or economic sanctions regulations.

Trade Alert: U.S. Industry Files Antidumping Duty Petition on Truck and Bus Tires from Thailand

Date: 10/27/2023

On October 17, 2023, the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (“Petitioner”) submitted a petition (“Petition”) to the U.S. Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) and the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC” or “Commission”) for the imposition of antidumping duties (“ADD”) on bus and truck tires from Thailand. 

Are My Products Subject to Anti-Dumping/Countervailing Duties?

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member, and Derrick Kyle, Senior Associate
Date: 08/01/2023

any importers will discover at some point that products they import may be subject to anti-dumping duties (“ADD”) or countervailing duties (“CVD”). With Washington’s continued aggressive approach toward unfair trade practices by foreign competitors, particularly China, importers must prepare for additional ADD/CVD orders and enforcement by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“Customs” or “CBP”). This article seeks to explain the options an importer has if it discovers that any of its products are potentially subject to ADD/CVD.

Trade Alert: Justice, Commerce, and Treasury Departments Issue a Tri-Seal Compliance Note on Voluntary Self-Disclosures

Date: 07/26/2023

On July 26, 2023, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”), and the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) published their second Tri-Seal Compliance Note of the year. The first compliance note was issued on March 2 and focused on the importance of proactive trade compliance by companies and efforts to combat evasion of Russia-related sanctions and export controls. This time, the three departments have provided guidance pertaining to the other side of the compliance coin – what a company should do when it discovers it has been involved in potential violations of U.S. sanctions or export controls.  

Post-G7 Sanctions – Putting the G7 Leaders Concerns into Action

By: Donna Wedgeworth, Senior Trade Advisor
Date: 06/17/2023

In May 2023, the leaders of the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom gathered in Hiroshima, Japan, for the annual G7 summit. The symbolic significance of these global leaders meeting in the city devastated by an atomic bomb on August 6, 1945, was very impactful, particularly to Japan’s Prime Minister, Kishida Fumio, a Hiroshima native. 

 

Trade Alert: Is Singapore a New Enforcement Hotspot?

Date: 05/01/2023

In recent years, Singapore has become a significant hub for international commerce. According to the U.S. International Trade Administration, the U.S. was Singapore’s fourth largest source of imports in 2021 and the primary choice for technology firm regional headquarters.  In addition, Singapore’s economy relies heavily on “transshipment and its status as a business hub.”  As such, Singapore serves as a focal point for international trade, and as two recent U.S. government actions suggest, a possible new focus for trade-related enforcement.

Update on USMCA Dispute Panel Activity

By: Camille Edwards, Associate
Date: 04/25/2023

The United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (“USMCA” or the “Agreement”) was formed to promote growth in North American trade in a way that is beneficial to each of the state parties to the Agreement. However, as with any agreement, disputes can and do arise concerning the interpretation of the USMCA and the responsibilities of the state parties. 

OFAC and BIS Announce Microsoft Settlement of Sanctions and Export Control Violations

By: Derrick Kyle, Senior Associate, Veronica Ochoa, Paralegal
Date: 04/25/2023

On April 6, 2023, the Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) and the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) announced a settlement with Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft”) and issued a combined $3.3 million in civil penalties to settle potential violations of sanctions and export control laws pertaining to Russia and other sanctioned jurisdictions. 

USITC and Argentina … Sour Grapes?

By: Donna Wedgeworth, Senior Trade Advisor
Date: 04/25/2023

On March 20, 2023, the U.S. Commerce Department announced that an agreement had been reached in the antidumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) investigation on imports of white grape juice concentrate (WGJC) from Argentina,

U.S. Seeks to Curtail Diversion of Restricted Goods and Technology to Russia through Turkey

By: Derrick Kyle, Senior Associate
Date: 03/03/2023

As the war in Ukraine continues, the diversion of restricted goods and technology to Russia remains a risk for exporters. The Republic of Turkey has become a primary diversion point for such restricted goods.

Trade Violations Under the False Claims Act

By: By Olga Torres, Managing Member Camille Edwards, Associate
Date: 03/03/2023

On February 7, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that settlements and judgements under the False Claims Act (“FCA”) exceeded $2 billion for the 2022 fiscal year. The 2022 fiscal year also had the second-highest number of settlements and judgments for any given year in FCA history. 

New Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower Law Makes Economic Sanctions Violations Reportable

By: By Alex Dieter, Law Clerk
Date: 03/03/2023

To more effectively counter transnational corruption and economic sanctions evasion, recent changes to the U.S. anti-money laundering (“AML”) whistleblower regime expand and reinforce whistleblower protections and rewards in the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, as amended (“BSA”).1 These changes to the BSA/AML whistleblower framework have significant implications, not only for “financial institutions” (as defined in the BSA) already subject to regulation under the BSA, but for all individuals and entities seeking to comply with U.S. economic sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”).

Trade Alert: White House Announces New U.S. & G7 Actions Against Russia On One-Year Anniversary of Ukraine Invasion

By: Olga Torres and Alexander Dieter
Date: 02/24/2023

On February 24, 2023, the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the White House announced a series of actions that the U.S. and Group of 7 (“G7”) will take to support Ukraine and impose further costs on Russia.

2022 Year-End Review Highlights

Date: 12/16/2022

We have seen a tremendous year in the trade and national security front and are now, more than ever, deeply aware of the impact trade compliance professionals have on safeguarding national security in the face of continued geopolitical threats. Here are some of the 2022 year-end review highlights.

USTR Accepting Comments on China Section 301 Tariffs Beginning November 15th

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member & Camille Edwards, Associate
Date: 11/17/2022

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) is conducting a review of the China Section 301 tariffs that were put into place in 2018 under the Trump administration. 

CMIC Divestment Period Ends – What You Need to Know

Date: 07/01/2022

Amid political and trade tensions between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (“China”), President Trump issued Executive Order (“EO”) 13959 on November 12, 2020, to address the national emergency posed by the exploitation of United States capital to resource and enable the development and modernization of China’s military, intelligence, and other security organizations.

New Wave of Russian Sanctions, General Licenses, FAQs, and Export Controls

Date: 06/29/2022

On June 27 and 28, 2022, the U.S. government unleashed a new wave of sanctions and related measures aimed at Russians and Russian industry in response to Putin’s ongoing war against Ukraine. The Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) 1) added 99 persons to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (“SDN”) List, and 2) prohibited the importation of gold from Russia. OFAC also issued five new General Licenses. 

Forced Labor and the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member, Derrick Kyle, Senior Associate, and William Klaess, Associate
Date: 06/21/2022

 Today, June 21, 2002, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (“UFLPA”) comes into effect. It is the latest – and perhaps strongest – tool in the belt of U.S. regulatory and enforcement agencies to combat forced labor. The UFLPA puts the onus on importers to ensure their supply chains and merchandise are free from forced labor. This article will discuss forced labor enforcement generally, the UFLPA, and what it means for importers and how they can comply with the new regulations.

 

Outrageous Scam or Investor Must-Have? What ESG Means To Your Global Trade Business

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member, Derrick Kyle, Senior Associate, and William Klaess, Associate
Date: 06/02/2022

Lately there has been much chatter about Environmental, Social, and Governance (“ESG”) policies in business. Elon Musk has called ESG “an outrageous scam.” And while there is no clear definition, investors and ratings agencies, as well as ultimate buyers and consumers, increasingly look for financially and morally sound companies that are committed to these principles, and the U.S. government is codifying various aspects of the wider ESG umbrella into law. While commenters tend to focus much attention on the Environmental side, this article will look at the trade-related areas encompassed by the Social and Governance aspects of ESG, including Human Rights, Forced Labor, Trade Controls, Anti-Corruption, and other areas of trade-related corporate compliance.

U.S. to the International Corporate World: Violations of Russia Sanctions Are Our Top Priority

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member
Date: 06/02/2022

Now more than ever, U.S. and multinational companies must do everything they can to ensure strict compliance with international sanctions imposed on Russia, Belarus, and individuals linked to those governments.

Russia Restrictions Could Be a Blueprint for U.S. Response if China Invades Taiwan

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member, Derrick Kyle, Senior Associate, and William Klaess, Associate
Date: 05/24/2022

On May 23, 2022, President Joe Biden, when asked whether the United States would get involved militarily if China invaded Taiwan, answered firmly, “Yes. That’s the commitment we made.”1 As the world watches the war in Ukraine,

De Minimis Dominates International Trade Commission Hearing on Foreign Trade Zones

Date: 05/19/2022

On May 17, 2022, the U.S International Trade Commission (“USITC”) held a public hearing in connection with an investigation into the effect of Foreign Trade Zone (“FTZ”) policies and practices on U.S. firms operating in U.S. FTZs and under similar programs in Canada and Mexico. FTZs are secured areas located in or near U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP” or “Customs”) ports of entry,

What Was the Impact of Section 232 and Section 301 Duties on Your Company?

Date: 05/06/2022

If your company has been negatively impacted by the Section 232 and Section 301 duties, you may now have another opportunity to voice your concerns in Washington. On May 5, 2022, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) published information regarding a fact-finding investigation into the economic impact of the Section 232 and 301 duties on U.S. industries.

U.S. Trade Representative Initiates Four-Year Review of Section 301 Tariffs

Date: 05/05/2022

On May 3, 2022, the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced a statutory two-phase review of the Section 301 tariffs on Chinese-origin goods. USTR also published a Federal Register Notice draft describing the process for filing requests for extension of the tariffs.

OFAC Sends Clear Message to Parties Conducting Business with Entities on OFAC’s Sectoral Sanctions Identification List

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member
Date: 04/23/2022

As the U.S. and the European Union continue to impose new sanctions on Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine, regulatory authorities continue their pursuit of companies and individuals who violate those sanctions. The most recent example is a settlement agreement between the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) and S&P Global, Inc. (“S&P”).

ZTE’s Court-Appointed Monitorship Comes to a Close

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member
Date: 04/23/2022

The largest criminal monitorship in U.S. history has ended. On March 22, 2022 a U.S. judge ruled that Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE Corporation had completed the terms of its five-year probation, which began in 2017 following ZTE’s criminal plea agreement for its role in exporting controlled U.S. products to embargoed countries.

Lost at Sea: Lack of BIS Guidance on New Russia/Belarus FDP Rule Creates Compliance Chaos

By: William Klaess, Associate
Date: 04/23/2022

On March 2, 2022, as part of a string of sanctions and export controls, the Russia/Belarus Foreign Direct Product (“FDP”) Rule and Russia/Belarus-Military End User (“MEU”) FDP Rule took effect.1 These rules, generally, restrict the sale to Russia and Belarus of foreign-produced items produced with certain controlled U.S.-origin software or technology.

U.S. Responds to Russian Invasion of Ukraine With Devastating “Further Consequences” For the Russian Economy, Including Export Controls and Additional Economic Sanctions.

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member
Date: 02/24/2022

President Biden, following a meeting with the Leaders of the G7 on Thursday morning, addressed the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine as well as the “further consequences” that the U.S., in conjunction with many other nations, would be imposing against Russia. President Biden announced additional economic sanctions targeting major Russian financial institutions as well as more designations of Russian elites and their family members. Notably, President Biden for the first time announced that new export controls will be implemented to “cut off more than half” of Russia’s high-tech imports. However, despite pressures from domestic lawmakers and foreign heads of state, Russia was not ousted from the SWIFT financial messaging system, nor was Russian President Putin himself personally sanctioned. But, as President Biden made clear, such options remain “on the table.”

New U.S. Economic Sanctions Against Russia

By: Torres Law
Date: 02/22/2022

Over the past 48 hours, the U.S. government and its allies have responded to Russia’s aggression in eastern Ukraine with new sanctions against Russia. This trade alert summarizes the economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. government to date. 

FinCEN Crypto & Ransomware Guidance: Will 2022 Bring More Changes?

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member
Date: 01/18/2022

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) has made clear that businesses engaging in certain activities involving virtual currencies are subject to registration, reporting, recordkeeping, and other anti-money laundering (“AML”) requirements under the Bank Secrecy Act and its implementing regulations (collectively, “BSA”). In response to recent developments in the field of financial technology (“fintech”), FinCEN has issued new guidance and advisories related specifically to activities involving virtual currencies and ransomware payments.

This article introduces FinCEN and the BSA, identifies AML risks associated with virtual currencies and ransomware that businesses may encounter in 2022 and beyond, and discusses best practices for navigating the complex and rapidly evolving BSA landscape.

There’s A New Compliance Sheriff In Town, And She’s Cracking Down On Corporate Misconduct

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member
Date: 01/18/2022

The U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") is making it harder on companies that commit corporate crimes. A lot harder.

That’s the message that Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco recently gave attendees at the American Bar Association's White Collar Crime Conference in Miami. In her speech, DAG Monaco laid out the major changes to how the DOJ will approach corporate crimes and the individuals who commit them.

Department of Justice Monitorships: They’re Costly, They’re Disruptive, and They’re Making a Comeback

By: Billy Klaess, Associate
Date: 01/18/2022

On October 28, 2021, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco addressed the ABA’s National Institute on White Collar Crime, in which she made clear that monitorships are back on the menu as a means of ensuring corporate compliance. DAG Monaco stated that, “to the extent that prior Justice Department guidance suggested that monitorships are disfavored or are the exception,” she is rescinding that guidance, emphasizing “that the department is free to require the imposition of independent monitors whenever appropriate.”1

Knowledge of the monitorship process – what may lead to it and what it can mean for your organization – is crucial for general counsels and employees alike. This article intends to demystify these court appointments, providing an overview of Department of Justice2 Monitorships, when they are imposed, what they can entail and cost, and what they mean for both industry and counsel.

Crypto Crackdown: OFAC Sanctions SUEX Cryptocurrency Exchange

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member & Derrick Kyle, Senior Associate
Date: 10/14/2021

On September 21, 2021, in a first-of-it-kind action, the U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) imposed economic sanctions on SUEX OTC, S.R.O. (“SUEX”), a virtual currency exchange,

 

U.S. Government Takes A Hard Line to Stop Human Rights Abuses With Clear Signals to Industry

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member & Maria Alonso, Associate
Date: 10/14/2021

In recent years, the U.S. Government (“USG”) has taken numerous actions to target forced labor and other human rights violations, with a significant increase in 2020 and early 2021. These include the issuance of trade-related restrictions, such as import and export laws, economic sanctions, and civil monetary penalties,

USTR Enacts Then Suspends Tariffs in Response to Digital Services Taxes

By: Derrick Kyle, Associate
Date: 07/03/2021

On June 2, 2021, the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced the imposition – and immediate 180-day suspension – of 25% tariffs on goods from six countries pursuant to findings in the Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 investigations (“Section 301 investigations”) into digital services tax (“DST”) regimes.

Biden Signs Executive Order Protecting Americans’ Sensitive Data from Foreign Adversaries

By: Olga Torres and Derrick Kyle
Date: 06/11/2021

On June 9, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order (“June 9 E.O.”)1 elaborating on measures to protect the information and communications technology and services (“ICTS”) supply chain with specific emphasis on connected software applications.2 The June 9 E.O. directs federal agencies to (1) assess the threats posed by connected software applications controlled by foreign adversaries, (2) provide recommendations on how to protect sensitive personal data of U.S. persons, and (3) evaluate transactions involving connected software applications that pose risks to U.S. national security. The June 9 E.O. also revokes three Executive Orders issued last fall by former President Trump that targeted several Chinese communications and financial technology software applications, including TikTok and WeChat.

New U.S. Rules on Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain Mean Increased Scrutiny of ICTS Transactions

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member & Matt Lapin, Of Counsel
Date: 04/08/2021

On January 19, 2021, the Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) published an interim final rule, “Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain,” (“ICTS Rule”) implementing Executive Order 13873.

U.S. Institutes Arms Embargo and Additional Sanctions Against Russia

By: Derrick Kyle, Associate
Date: 04/08/2021

U.S. companies involved in international trade and transactions have become accustomed to compliance hurdles when conducting business with the Russian Federation ("Russia").

Prior to the inauguration of President Biden, many commenters predicted additional sanctions or other punitive measures against Russia at the beginning of the new presidential administration. These predictions were fulfilled on March 2, 2021, when multiple U.S. executive branch agencies announced additional measures against Russia in response to the poisoning of Russian opposition figure Aleksey Navalny.

What You Need to Know Regarding the New Rule Requiring Greater Scrutiny of Information and Communications Technology and Services Transactions

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member
Date: 01/26/2021

On January 19, 2021, the Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) published its interim final rule on “Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain” (the “Final Rule”) to implement the provisions of a May 15, 2019 Executive Order on the same topic.

Scheduled to take effect on March 22, 2021, the Final Rule is intended to address the growing security risk to the nation’s information and communications systems from using technology developed by “foreign adversaries.” Commerce has requested public comment on the rule up until the time the rule takes effect (feedback must be received by March 22, 2021).

China Issues New Rules to Combat the Long-Arm Jurisdiction of Foreign Laws

By: Li Li of Chance Bridge Partners
Date: 01/19/2021

On January 9, 2021, the Ministry of Commerce of China issued new Rules on Counteracting Unjustified Extra-Territorial Application of Foreign Laws and Other Measures (“the Counteracting Rules”). The Counteracting Rules are proposed to counteract the negative impact on Chinese entities (citizens, legal persons or other organizations) caused by unjustified extra-territorial application of foreign laws and other measures, and to safeguard China’s national sovereignty, security and development interests.

Imposition of Sanctions Against Turkish Entities and Persons Under CAATSA (“Countering Americas Adversaries Through Sanctions Act”)

By: Olga Torres and Matt Lapin
Date: 12/15/2020

On December 14, 2020, the U.S. announced sanctions against the Republic of Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB), pursuant to Section 231 of CAATSA, for procuring the S-400 surface-to-air missile system from Russia’s Rosoboronexport. SSB is Turkey’s primary defense procurement entity and has responsibilities in defense industrial development.

Ransomware Attacks Are on the Rise; Are You Ready?

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member and Derrick Kyle, Associate
Date: 10/13/2020

Ransomware attacks have increased exponentially in recent years and COVID-19’s remote work policies only contributed to how successful bad actors are in perpetrating the attacks. If your company is not currently working towards increasing cybersecurity controls, it has never been a better moment to start doing so, especially if you deal with sensitive technologies or defense industries. In addition to the obvious business challenges companies face when dealing with a ransomware attack, there are several U.S. government laws, regulations, and implementing agencies that companies must be mindful of in the aftermath of an attack.

Implications of the Upcoming U.S. Presidential Election on Chinese Tariffs and Other Section 301 Tariff Updates

By: Derrick Kyle
Date: 09/22/2020

If you have not noticed, 2020 is a U.S. presidential election year. If you missed that fact, you may also not realize that the United States is in the midst of a years-long trade war with China. The convergence of these two circumstances has caught the attention of the business community, particularly as relates to trade policy.

The Clock is Ticking on TikTok, 90 Days to Divest

By: Maria Alonso, Associate
Date: 08/17/2020

Most people are familiar with the social media sensation, TikTok, a mobile device application which allows users to create and share short-form videos. It is reported that there have been over 175 million downloads of the application in the U.S. Despite its popularity, most TikTok users are oblivious to how the national security concerns raised by the current White House Administration will affect them. Not to mention many users are probably unaware and will be surprised to learn that TikTok is a Chinese application. Beijing-based, ByteDance Ltd. (ByteDance) is the parent company of TikTok.

Resources

By: Torres Law
Date: 08/03/2020

USMCA implementation is fast approaching. To download a copy of a sample USMCA Certificate of Origin, please click here for PDF version or here for Excel version. Please ensure that you review the certificate and make any required modifications based on your product or certifier type as-needed.

Labor & Trade: Is Mexico Ready for USMCA’s Labor Chapter?

This presentation outlines the intersection between labor and trade law under the new United States Mexico Canada (USMCA) free trade agreement. Specifically, it provides an overview of the novel rapid response mechanism under the USMCA, which permits parties to request expedited reviews by an independent panel of an alleged Denial of Rights of free association and collective bargaining. Download by clicking here.

Amazon Settles Sanctions Violations with OFAC

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member
Date: 07/17/2020

Earlier this month, e-commerce, retail, and data giant Amazon.com, Inc. ("Amazon") agreed to a settlement with the Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") for apparent violations of U.S. sanctions programs.

USMCA Updates and OFAC COVID-19 Guidance

Date: 04/21/2020

This article summarizes important developments affecting international trade.

Recent Key OFAC Actions and Related Legal News

By: Matt Lapin, Of Counsel
Date: 04/05/2020

This article outlines OFAC’s most recent actions.

When Federal R&D Funding meets U.S. Trade Controls: Proceed with Caution

By: Donna Wedgeworth, Trade Advisor
Date: 04/05/2020

If your company is fortunate enough to receive federal R&D funding, it is important to remember that these grants do not relinquish responsibility for compliance with trade regulations.

U.S.-China Trade Dispute Easing: “Phase One” Deal and Other Tariff Updates

By: Derrick Kyle, Associate
Date: 01/16/2020

On December 18, 2019, the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) officially signaled the first real respite in the ongoing trade war with China by publishing a Notice of Modification of Action  to suspend a planned 15% duty on certain products from China that was originally scheduled to take effect on December 15, 2019. This early Christmas present came after nearly two years of the USTR extending and increasing tariffs on Chinese goods pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 (“Section 301”).

Planning for 2020 Trade Under Trump

By: John Vernon, Esq. Guest Contributor
Date: 01/16/2020

Since President Trump took office in January of 2017, he has shown his desire to follow through with trade policies that were a central part of his campaign. 

Tariffs on Wine, Whisky, and Cheese Provide Extra Fright This Halloween

By: Torres Law
Date: 10/30/2019

Halloween parties are an annual tradition for many Americans. But this year Halloween may be a little spookier than usual as some popular party items could become more expensive.

There's a New Economic Sanctions Sheriff in Town: the SEC

By: Managing Member, Olga Torres & Associate, Jackson Olesky
Date: 10/11/2019

In recent years, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission appears to be taking a more active role in a regulatory area for which it is not traditionally associated: economic sanctions.

Treasury Issues Proposed Regulations and Requests Public Comments

By: Torres Law, International Trade & National Security
Date: 09/23/2019

On September 17, 2019, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued a press release announcing two proposed regulations that will implement provisions of the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (“FIRRMA”). The proposed regulations will be published in the Federal Register on September 24, 2019, and they will expand the jurisdiction of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”). Specifically, the two proposed regulations will address certain non-controlling investments and real estate investments by foreign persons. The deadline to submit comments on the proposed regulations is October 17, 2019, and pursuant to FIRRMA the regulations will take effect no later than February 13, 2020.

Biomedical Research – the Next Victim of a U.S.-China Trade War?

By: Derrick Kyle, Associate & Queena Leung, Law Clerk
Date: 07/17/2019

The trade dispute between the U.S. and China that started mid-2016 has no end in sight. As part of his presidential campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump threatened to apply tariffs on various imports from China. Now that he is President, these tariffs have come to fruition: after several failed rounds of trade negotiations with China, the “Section 301” probe into alleged Chinese intellectual property theft started in earnest early 2018. 

The current U.S.-China trade war does not appear to end with tariffs, however. Biomedical research appears to be the latest unlikely victim.

It Is Not Too Late to File an Exclusion Request from Section 301 Tariffs

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member & Derrick Kyle, Associate
Date: 07/17/2019

The USTR is still accepting exclusion requests for products subject to the trade action on $200 Billion of Chinese goods, also known as “List 3” products

One Down, Two to Go: Mexico Is First Country to Ratify NAFTA Replacement

By: Maria Alonso, Associate & Queena Leung, Law Clerk
Date: 07/17/2019

On June 19, 2019, Mexico became the first country to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). By a vote of 114 to 4, Mexico’s Senate approved the replacement to the North America Free Trade Agreement, making Mexico the first country to ratify to the new treaty.

Tariffs on Chinese Goods Still in Flux Latest Developments on List 3 Exclusions and Pending Tariff Increase

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member & Queena Leung, Law Clerk
Date: 04/19/2019

In spite of a short-term reprieve from additional tariffs on select products, trade uncertainty under the Trump administration continues for U.S. companies that do business with China.

Due Process Challenges to U.S. Government Agency List Designations: Lessons from KindHearts and Deripska

By: Derrick Kyle, Associate & Maria Alonso, Associate
Date: 04/19/2019

Among the tools used by the U.S. Government to impose sanctions on both entities and individuals, few are as powerful as "U.S. Denied Party Lists."

Inclusion on a U.S. Denied Party List can have adverse consequences even if the designated parties are ultimately removed from the list, as two recent cases involving lawsuits against OFAC involving due process concerns will demonstrate.

The New NAFTA 2.0—The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)

By: Maria Alonso, Associate & Pierfilippo Natta, Legal Intern
Date: 10/22/2018

The North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) has been in effect since January 1, 1994, and more than two decades later, on May 18, 2017, the United States Trade Representative (“Trade Representative”), Robert Lighthizer, notified Congress of the United States' intention to renegotiate NAFTA. The United States commenced renegotiations with Canada and Mexico on August 16, 2017.

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.

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.

A List of Lists and More Lists: Designations and What They Mean for U.S. and Non-U.S. Companies

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member
Date: 06/23/2018

The U.S. government maintains a variety of lists of sanctioned or denied parties—including entities, individuals, aircraft, and vessels—with whom companies and individuals are prohibited or restricted from dealing. These lists are assembled for different reasons and under differing authorities. That is, what might get an entity onto a list and how that entity might work to get off the list depends on the authorities and the national security purposes underlying the designation.

Mergers & Acquisitions: Successor Liability and Trade Law

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member & Jonathan Creek, Associate
Date: 06/23/2018

Past compliance with the full range of international trade, export controls, and economic sanctions laws and regulations should be a critical element of due diligence in mergers and acquisitions. Unfortunately, trade compliance is often overlooked.

L’accord sur le nucléaire iranien (JCPOA) : l’impact de la sortie des États-Unis sur les entreprises européennes

By: Ines Kouevi, Summer Intern. Contributors: Managing Member, Olga Torres, and Senior Counsel, Andrea Fraser-Reid
Date: 06/23/2018

Suite aux suspicions relatives à l’éventuelle création d’une arme nucléaire par l’Iran, la communauté internationale et plus précisément les pays du P+5 (les Etats-Unis, la Russie, la Chine, la France, le Royaume Uni, l’Allemagne), l’Union Européenne et l’Iran ont conclu un accord en 2015 connu sous le nom de Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Le 8 mai 2018, le président Trump a annoncé sa décision de cesser la participation des États-Unis au plan d'action global commun (JCPOA), et de commencer à réimposer les sanctions nucléaires américaines qui ont été levées pour effectuer l'allégement mentionné dans le JCPOA.

U.S. to Withdraw from

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. 

Non-U.S. Companies Beware: U.S. Export Laws May Apply to You

By: By Olga Torres, Managing Member & Derrick Kyle, Associate & Jonathan Creek, Associate
Date: 04/02/2018

Non-U.S. companies involved in the reexporting of U.S. goods or technology should familiarize themselves with the applicable U.S. export laws, regardless of where they are located. This is because the U.S. export and economic sanctions laws have wide ranging extraterritorial reach. 

Tariff Updates: New Exemptions, Deals Made to Avoid Tariffs, and New China Tariffs Incoming

By: By Jonathan Creek, Associate
Date: 04/02/2018

This article serves as an update on the most recent tariff related developments.

Foreign Companies Must be Mindful of the Extraterritorial Reach in the Newest U.S. Sanctions Law Developments

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member
Date: 01/22/2018

Pursuant to Section 231(a) of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (“CAATSA” or “the Act”),[1]  beginning January 29, 2018, President Trump is required to impose five or more of the Act’s laundry list of sanctions, found in Section 235, on persons that the President has determined to have knowingly engaged in a “significant transaction” with a person that is part of, or operating for or on behalf of, the defense or intelligence sectors of the Russian government. This article reviews the extraterritorial impact of the Act on non-U.S. persons, and provides some guidance regarding how to best prepare for these new developments.

So You Missed the December 31, 2017 NIST 800-171 Implementation Deadline?

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member and Jonathan Creek, Associate
Date: 01/22/2018

The deadline for full compliance with NIST 800-171 was December 31, 2017. Originally it was believed that, in order to be fully compliant with NIST 800-171, defense contractors would be required to have implemented all 110 of the security requirements by December 31, 2017. However, subsequent guidance from the Department of Defense (“DoD”) shows this is not necessarily the case.

Is the U.S.-Korea Trade Deal Headed for Trouble?

By: Jordan Jensen, Law Clerk
Date: 09/22/2017

Despite the perceived success of KORUS, under which exports of U.S. goods and services to South Korea were estimated at $63.8 billion in 2016,[1] on the morning of September 1, 2017, President Donald Trump reportedly informed his senior officials of his intent to withdraw from the agreement.[2] Although this announcement may be unsurprising to those following the administration’s renegotiation of NAFTA, the news sparked some controversy across industries that rely heavily on South Korean markets, such as the agricultural industry.

U.S. Economic Sanctions: A 3/4-Year Review

By: Matt Fogarty, Consulting Attorney
Date: 09/22/2017

Aside from a modest rollback regarding the Obama Administration’s effort to allow Americans to travel to Cuba, a number of enforcement cases relating to Iran, some additional designations with respect to Syria, and sanctions-enabling legislation relating to Russia, much of the recent news in economic sanctions has been dominated by two countries: North Korea and Venezuela.

Recent Updates to the U.S. Cuban Sanctions

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member
Date: 07/05/2017

On June 16 2017, President Trump announced changes to the United States’ economic sanctions against Cuba. This article provides a brief synopsis of the announced changes and potential impact.

President Appoints New Head of the Bureau of Industry and Security

By: Staff Writer
Date: 05/03/2017

On March 30, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Mira Radielovic Ricardel to the position of Under Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration.

Trump Administration Begins Crackdown on Trade Abuses

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member and Derrick Kyle, Associate
Date: 05/03/2017

With the signing of two new executive orders, President Trump is taking the first steps in fulfilling two of his favorite campaign promises, both relating to trade: (1) no longer tolerating trade abuse that damages the American economy and (2) decreasing the national trade deficit. 

CFIUS, Foreign Investment and Trade Relations in the New Administration

By: Andrea Fraser-Reid, Senior Counsel
Date: 05/03/2017

The recent presidential campaign was notable for the debate concerning whether interaction with foreign entities benefitted the U.S. While trade deficits and offshoring of U.S. jobs grabbed headlines, there has been growing attention to the acquisition of U.S. companies by foreign entities. 

From A to ZTE: A Review of Lessons Learned from the ZTE Case

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member
Date: 05/03/2017

On March 7, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”), the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), and the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) together levied the largest ever export and sanctions related penalty against Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE Corporation (“ZTE”). ZTE agreed to the combined $1.19 billion fine to settle a number of alleged violations of U.S. sanctions targeting Iran. 

Outlook for Export Controls and Economic Sanctions Under the Trump Administration

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member and Matt Fogarty, Of Counsel
Date: 02/17/2017

The first weeks of the Trump Administration have been eventful, but there has been little action in the area of export controls and economic sanctions. In this regard, there's no clear consensus just yet as to whether and how significantly President Trump plans to deviate from the course set over the last eight years of the Obama Administration.

Could Mexico Beat the U.S. to NAFTA Withdrawal?

By: Olga Torres and Derrick Kyle
Date: 02/02/2017

This article discusses the potential implications of NAFTA's renegotiation or withdrawal.

The United States Ends Sanctions on Burma (Myanmar)

By: Andrea Fraser-Reid
Date: 11/09/2016

President Obama Continues to Loosen Cuba Sanctions

By: Andrea Fraser-Reid
Date: 11/09/2016

The Magna Brexit? Potential Implications on Trade & Export Compliance

By: Olga Torres and Sandy Aziz
Date: 07/26/2016

Trade Through a Single Window

By: Luis Torres, Law Clerk
Date: 06/16/2016

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