Photo of Scott Wise

Today, the United States announced new targeted sanctions, export control restrictions, and an arms embargo on Russia after the poisoning and imprisonment of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny.  All three of the agencies with primary authority to regulate exports – the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) at the State Department, the Bureau of Industry

Today, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced that it will create a new “Military End-User List” (MEU List) to help exporters comply with the recently expanded military end-use and end-user restrictions (MEU Rule) that apply to exports of certain items to China, Russia, and Venezuela.  The current MEU List includes 102

The Department of Treasury’s office that administers reviews of foreign investments in U.S. companies is changing how it identifies critical technology businesses and related technologies that require mandatory review during a foreign investment process.  The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS or the Committee) issued a final rule effective October 15, 2020

On August 20, the Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) published a final rule (“final rule”) amending the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) to expand restrictions on transactions involving Huawei entities that are included on BIS’s Entity List (“designated Huawei entities”).  The newly expanded rule applies to a broader range of items produced outside of the

Last Thursday, the President issued two executive orders (“E.O.s”) targeting social media applications TikTok (and its parent company, ByteDance) and WeChat (and its parent company, Tencent Holdings).  The E.O.s direct the Department of Commerce (“DOC”) to prohibit transactions involving the applications.  Companies that deal directly with TikTok or WeChat in the United States and abroad or use their services need to evaluate the scope of those activities and determine if they will be affected by the E.O.s.

The E.O.s were issued pursuant to the national emergency declared in E.O. 13873 regarding information and communication services in the United States that are controlled by persons within the jurisdiction of a “foreign adversary.”  In issuing the E.O.s, the President cited concerns that the Chinese government could gain access to Americans’ personal information collected by the applications, among other policy considerations.  The President has the power to issue the directives under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA,” 50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.), which provides the President with the authority to declare national emergencies and implement sweeping trade controls based on national security concerns.

The intended scope of the E.O.s is not clear due to ambiguous language used in Section 1, which contain the E.O.s’ primary prohibitions.  Here is an excerpt of that section from the TikTok order:
Continue Reading President Issues Executive Orders Targeting TikTok and WeChat

Today the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced that it is suspending license exceptions for exports, re-exports, or transfers to or within Hong Kong that provide differential treatment than license exceptions available for shipments to mainland China.  In other words, if a license exception is not available for shipments to China, then it can

Bureau of Industry and Security Issues Guidance on Rule

The new Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) rule prohibiting certain exports, reexports, and transfers of items to “military end-users” and “military end-uses” in China, Russia, and Venezuela is effective today.

The new rule creates additional due diligence burdens on manufacturers and exporters in the materials

On May 21, the U.S. Treasury Department, as chair of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”), issued a proposed rule that more directly links mandatory filing obligations with export control restrictions administered by other federal agencies, including the Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) and the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (“DDTC”).  The rule is open for comment until June 22.

Pursuant to amendments implementing the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (“FIRRMA”), which expanded CFIUS jurisdiction in several respects, certain types of transactions are subject to mandatory declarations with CFIUS.  Currently, one type of transaction that requires a mandatory filing is one in which: 1) the target company produces, designs, tests, manufactures, fabricates, or develops a “critical technology.”  A “critical technology” is an item that is included on one of the U.S. export control lists, including the Commerce Control List (“CCL”), included within the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”); and 2) the target company uses the critical technology in a sensitive industry, identified in Appendix B to the CFIUS regulations (31 C.F.R. Part 800).  This two-prong test is slightly more strict than the export control regulations themselves because an item included in the CCL is not generally restricted for export to all destinations.  For example, transactions with NATO allies are generally subject to more permissive restrictions than are transactions with other countries.  The current CFIUS mandatory declaration framework does not account for this distinction.
Continue Reading CFIUS Issues Proposed Rule to Amend Mandatory Declaration Requirements

Earlier this week, the COVID-19 Accountability Act was introduced in the Senate and the House by Rep. Senator Lindsey Graham and Rep. Doug Collins respectively.  While the text of the draft legislation is not yet available, a summary indicates that it would require within sixty days that the President certify to Congress that China has:

“Provided a full and complete accounting to any COVID-19 investigation led by the United States, its allies, or United Nations affiliates, such as the World Health Organization (WHO);

  • Closed all wet markets that have the potential to expose humans to health risks; and
  • Released all pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong that were arrested in the post COVID-19 crackdowns.”

If there is no such certification, the Act would then authorize the President to impose at least two of a variety of sanctions to hold China accountable, including travel bans, visa revocations, asset freezes, restricting U.S. financial institutions from loaning money to Chinese businesses, and barring Chinese firms from being listed on American stock exchanges.  Such sanction would be effective until the certification could be made.
Continue Reading COVID-19 Accountability Act – New Potential Sanctions on China

The Department of State’s Office of Defense Trade Controls Policy announced that they are temporarily suspending, modifying, and excepting certain International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) requirements in an effort to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The temporary changes are as follows:

  • As of February 29, 2020, ITAR registrations and fees with an