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Category Archives: International Trade & Investment

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Energy Department Revises its Part 810 Guidance on Nuclear Export Controls

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently published its revised Part 810 Guidance on compliance with the amended Part 810 Regulations on nuclear export controls (10 C.F.R. Part 810). The 2015 amendments to the Part 810 Regulations represented the first comprehensive updating of DOE nuclear export control policy since 1986.

FinCEN Designates North Korea as a Jurisdiction of Primary Money Laundering Concern, Triggering Additional Due Diligence Requirements for Financial Institutions

Pursuant to the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016’s requirement that the Secretary of the Treasury determine whether North Korea is a jurisdiction of primary money laundering concern, on May 27, 2016, the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) found that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (“DPRK” or “North Korea”)

UN Security Council Ratchets Up Sanctions on North Korea

On March 2, in the wake of recent nuclear and ballistic missile tests, the United Nations Security Council adopted a far-reaching sanctions resolution against the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea. UN Security Council Resolution 2270 targets Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs with a set of sanctions that the U.S. proclaimed the strongest imposed by the Security Council in two decades.

CFIUS Filings Jump By 50%

In 2014, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a U.S. Government interagency committee that conducts national security reviews of foreign investments, reviewed nearly 50% more transactions than it did in 2013, according to CFIUS’s recently published annual report to Congress. The dramatic increase likely reflects a combination of factors, including an increase in cross-border M&A activity, transactions involving sensitive industries or acquirers, and parties continuing to make filings with CFIUS across a broad range of industries.

BIS and DDTC Amend Regulations Fire Control, Laser, Imaging, and Guidance and Control Equipment

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) and the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (“DDTC”) published proposed rules in the Federal Register today (BIS rules here; DDTC rules here) amending the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) and Category XII of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) as part of the President’s

EU extends the suspension of Belarus sanctions

On February 15 the Council of the EU decided to extend the suspension of the EU Belarus sanctions concerning 170 persons, including President Lukashenko, and 3 entities that had already been delisted in October 2015.   Since the current suspension expires on 29 February 2016, we expect the new Council Decision to be published in the

India’s New BIT and Arbitration Law Send Mixed Signals to Foreign Investors

On December 28, 2015, the Government of India released the text for its revised model Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT). In this release, the Government of India also announced that the Department of Economic Affairs will be leading all negotiations on BITs and investment chapters of trade agreements to ensure continuity between trade and investment issues.

BIS Lifts Licensing Requirements for Crude Oil Exports

Effective immediately, pursuant to section 101 of Division O of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, signed on December 18, 2015, a Department of Commerce license is no longer required to export crude oil. Crude oil is now classified as EAR99. Most exports of crude oil may now be made as NLR (no license required). Exporters should be aware that exports to embargoed or sanctioned countries or persons, including those listed in parts 744 and 746 of the EAR and persons subject to a denial of export privileges, continue to require authorization.

BIS will shortly be taking steps to amend the Export Administration Regulations to reflect this change. Companies holding current licenses for crude oil exports should be aware of section 750.7(i) of the EAR terminating license conditions upon the termination of the requirement for the export license.

New Requirements for Exports of Civil Nuclear Technology – Exports to China and Russia Affected Immediately

President Barack Obama recently signed legislation that imposes multiple new requirements relating to the regulation of exports of civil nuclear technology. Under the new law, the U.S. Secretary of Energy must make a number of changes to the Department of Energy’s nuclear export control regulations and approval process contained in 10 C.F.R. Part 810. The new law has had an immediate impact on the transfer of U.S. civil nuclear technology to China and Russia. Until the DOE has resolved how it will comply with these new requirements, it is unlikely the DOE will issue any specific authorizations for transfers of U.S. civil nuclear technology to China and Russia.

An Illuminating Note on Products Containing Small Amounts of Radioactive Materials

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently issued a proposed civil penalty of $28,000 to a watch seller for apparent violations of requirements related to importing and distributing watches containing radioactive material. The watches contain a small amount of tritium encapsulated in glass vials, which enables the markers on the watch face and hands to glow and be seen in low light.

G2 LNG Awards FEED Contract to KBR

G2 LNG, LLC (G2) has awarded a contract for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Front End Engineering Design (FEED) engineering and FERC report pre-filing services to KBR Inc. for G2’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal on the Calcasieu Ship Channel in Louisiana.

Sanctions Developments – Burundi and Liberia

On 23 November 2015, President Obama issued an executive order imposing targeted sanctions against certain persons or entities contributing to the insecurity and violence in Burundi.

Trans-Pacific Partnership Faces Difficult Legislative Terrain

On October 4, 2015, trade ministers from 12 Pacific Rim countries announced the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP). TPP, a foreign policy legacy item for the president, represents nearly 40% of the world’s GDP. The agreement now requires congressional approval, using the “fast-track” process in the trade promotion authority bill (TPA) signed by President Obama in June.

The European Parliament Votes to Remove Investor-State Arbitration from the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Negotiations

On 8 July 2015, the European Parliament voted favorably on a non-binding resolution that approves of the negotiation of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), an international trade and investment agreement between the United States and the European Union. Importantly, however, the resolution also supports the removal of investor-state arbitration from the TTIP. The European Parliament

U.S. Government Steps Up Cybersecurity Efforts With New Rules for Export Controls, Economic Sanctions

With cybersecurity dominating the headlines, the U.S. government has taken several recent steps to target the national security threat posed by cybercriminals and hackers with new regulations aimed at curbing malicious actors online.

California Enforces Supply Chain Disclosure Law

The California Attorney General’s (AG) office recently issued letters to more than 1,700 companies listed as manufacturers or retailers on their California state tax returns requiring them to notify the AG’s office that they are, or are not, in compliance with the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act (the Act). These letters appear to be

Senate ENFORCE and House PROTECT Bills Could Subject U.S. Importers to New Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Evasion Allegations

As part of a package headlined by the Hatch-Wyden-Ryan bill to restore trade promotion authority, the Senate Finance Committee held an April 22, 2015 mark-up of an original customs and enforcement bill containing the Enforcing Orders and Reducing Customs Evasion (ENFORCE) Act. The ENFORCE Act creates procedures for a federal agency or interested party to

Mandatory Commerce Department Outbound Investment Survey Deadline Approaching

Certain U.S. companies and their foreign affiliates should be aware that responses to a mandatory Commerce Department outbound investment survey are due as soon as May 29, 2015.  The survey is the BE-10 Benchmark Survey of U.S. Direct Investment Abroad, a broad statistical survey conducted every five years by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic

New Trade Promotion Authority Bill Increases Prospects for Significant Trade Deals With the Pacific Region and Europe

After months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, on April 16, 2015, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) introduced legislation, S. 995 and H.R. 1890, to restore trade promotion authority (TPA). The TPA bill provides the administration with negotiating objectives

Cuba Sanctions Update: Removal of Cuba from Terrorism List Will Result in Modest Easing of Trade Sanctions

As part of the historic shift in U.S. policy toward Cuba announced on 17 December 2014, President Obama instructed the Secretary of State to launch a review of Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism (SSOT), and to prepare a report within six months regarding Cuba’s support for international terrorism.