Category Archives: Export Controls and Sanctions

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U.S. Issues New North Korea Sanctions and a Warning to the Global Shipping and Finance Industries

Today the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued new sanctions targeting the shipping industry for dealings involving North Korea.  The sanctions include the designation of 56 companies and vessels involved in conducting illegal trade with North Korea. OFAC also issued new guidance for the global shipping and finance industries, describing common methods used … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Declines to Issue Sanctions Related to Russia’s Military and Intelligence Sectors

Under Section 231 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), the Trump administration was due to issue secondary sanctions on non-U.S. persons that conduct significant transactions with Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors.  The Trump administration declined to issue those new sanctions, claiming that CAATSA was serving as an effective deterrent – discouraging non-U.S. … Continue Reading

New OFAC designations signal continued U.S. sanctions pressure on Russia

Last week, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) blacklisted 21 individuals and nine entities for various reasons, including involvement in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, connections to the Crimea region (which is subject to a complete U.S. embargo), and links to the Russian government.  Several of the newly … Continue Reading

Going to Get Paid in Venezuelan Cryptocurrency? Not so fast.

In December last year, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that Venezuela would launch a cryptocurrency called “Petro” in an effort to ease the country’s serious economic woes and avoid U.S. sanctions.  Maduro said the government would issue 100 million Petros, with each Petro backed by one barrel of Venezuelan oil.  So will U.S. companies finally … Continue Reading

Trump Waives Secondary Sanctions on Iran, But Vows Not to do so Again Without Changes to the JCPOA

Last week the President begrudgingly extended waivers continuing to lift U.S. “secondary sanctions” on Iran.  But the President also insisted that he will not issue further extensions without a renegotiation of certain aspects of the joint nuclear deal with Iran (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA), throwing the future of the deal and … Continue Reading

U.S. Implements Global Magnitsky Sanctions Targeting Corruption and Human Rights Abuses Worldwide

On December 20, 2017, the President issued Executive Order 13818 implementing new sanctions against human rights abusers and persons involved in corruption pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (Global Magnitsky Act).  The Global Magnitsky Act allows the U.S. government to target persons and entities involved in gross human rights abuses – such … Continue Reading

Distributor danger: OFAC case highlights sanctions liability for bad acts by distributors and foreign subsidiaries

Many companies supply goods and services through third party distributors.  When well-structured, the use of distributors can shift some of the cost and compliance risk of selling products outside of your home territory.  But distributors can also create sanctions liability for companies, especially when foreign subsidiaries or others within the company are in on the … Continue Reading

Export Compliance Obligations for Transactions between U.S. Companies and India to be Reduced

In the near future, trade between the U.S. and India will likely be simplified.  Late last week, the Wassenaar Arrangement admitted India as a member (India’s membership will be formalized shortly), and the Australia Group is expected to admit India in the coming months.  Both organizations are Multilateral Export Control Regimes that inform U.S. export … Continue Reading

U.S. Issues Enhanced Sanctions on Russian Energy Sector

As required under recent sanctions legislation, the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) recently issued an updated Directive 4 that will expand sectoral sanctions on the Russian energy industry. The new rules, which apply to projects initiated on or after January 29, 2018, will bar persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction from providing goods, services, or … Continue Reading

New Sanctions Placed on Trade with Cuba

On Thursday November 9th,  the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) published new regulations in the Federal Register executing June’s National Security Presidential Memorandum (“NSPM”) regarding U.S. sanctions against Cuba.  (See our previous post on the NSPM here).  The State Department and Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) also published complementary rules giving effect to the … Continue Reading

Secondary Sanctions Targeting Russia’s Defense and Intelligence Sectors Move Closer to Implementation

Last Friday the State Department belatedly released a list of 39 Russian entities that operate as part of Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors (the full list is below).  Congress required the Trump Administration to produce a list of such parties as part of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which became law in … Continue Reading

OFAC Extends Sanctions Relief for Belarussian Conglomerates

Today the Office Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) extended sanctions relief for nine Belarussian conglomerates, including Belneftekhim. OFAC has authorized transactions with the listed Belarussian Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) since October 2015 through a series of temporary general licenses. Today’s General License No. 2D extends the sanctions relief through April 30, 2018, subject to the restrictions … Continue Reading

Importers Beware: U.S. Customs Targets Imports Made in China by North Korean Workers

The AP recently reported that North Koreans are working in China as forced labor and their products are being imported into the U.S.  The AP followed the production of seafood from Chinese facilities to U.S. retailers, but stated that there other affected product categories, including apparel and wood flooring. While it has been known that … Continue Reading

The Paper Caper: U.S. Persons Cannot Help Foreign Subsidiaries or Affiliates with Sanctioned Country Transactions

A recent settlement agreement between the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) and BD White Birch Investment LLC, a U.S.-based paper company, is an important reminder that U.S. companies cannot assist their foreign subsidiaries or affiliates with sales related to sanctioned countries. … Continue Reading

EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT: What European Companies Need to Know About U.S. Sanctions, Export Controls, and FCPA Compliance

Join us in Brussels on November 9th, for this 2 hour seminar on what European companies need to know about U.S. sanctions, export controls, and anti-bribery compliance, co-hosted with the American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium.  We’ll tackle some of the most recent updates to U.S. sanctions rules, including the broad new sanctions on Russia mandated by … Continue Reading

Sale of Cartier Jewels Triggers OFAC Violations – Luxury Brands Should Be Aware of U.S. Sanctions Risks

A settlement agreement between Richemont North America, the parent company of Cartier, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for violations of U.S. sanctions regulations is an important wake up call for U.S. and global retailers, which have often considered themselves to be somewhat outside the scope of U.S. sanctions laws.  In truth, the … Continue Reading

New U.S. Sanctions on North Korea – What You Need To Know

Last week the U.S. government announced new sanctions on North Korea designed to target non-U.S. persons, aircraft, vessels, and financial institutions that facilitate trade and transactions with the country.  The Executive Order contained four elements: new authority to designate persons as Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs), sanctions on certain aircraft and vessels that visit North Korea, … Continue Reading

Risks in the common practice of sending technical data outside the U.S. — New Jersey company penalized $400,000

Does your company source components or parts outside the U.S.?  When doing so, you need to be careful about sending unlicensed export controlled technical data like drawings, blueprints and manufacturing instructions as part of an RFQ or production process.  Many companies send such information to overseas parts vendors and to non-U.S. person employees at domestic vendors … Continue Reading

Time to Review Your Encryption Classifications – BIS Updates Primary Purpose Exemption

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) recently published changes to its encryption regulations in an effort to simplify the text and focus the scope of controls.  The biggest change is that Note 4, the “primary purpose exemption,” has been replaced by a positive list of controlled items.  These changes also introduce the term “cryptography … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Threatens Unilateral Sanctions Against North Korea’s Trading Partners

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin announced Wednesday that the Trump Administration was considering sanctioning any country that continues trade with North Korea if the United Nations does not approve additional sanctions against the country.  At an emergency UN meeting in the wake of an additional North Korean nuclear test over the weekend, the U.S. proposed stricter sanctions towards the … Continue Reading

U.S. Hits Venezuela and Petróleos de Venezuela (PdVSA) with Financial Sanctions

On Friday, August 25th, the U.S. government announced new financial sanctions on Venezuela.  The move is the most recent U.S. response to the escalating political and humanitarian crisis in the country.  The new Executive Order bars U.S. persons from: Dealing in ‘new debt’ of Petróleos de Venezuela (PdVSA), Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, that has a … Continue Reading
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