Last week, the United States expanded sanctions on Iran’s financial sector by designating 18 major Iranian banks as Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) and authorizing additional future sanctions on the Iranian financial sector.  Non-U.S. companies and banks could be subject to serious U.S. secondary sanctions penalties for significant continued dealings with the designated Iranian financial institutions,

Late yesterday evening, President Trump declared a national emergency concerning the United States reliance on imports of certain “critical minerals.” The Executive Order directs a number of federal agencies, to take certain actions in the coming weeks and months to address what the order describes as “undue reliance on critical minerals” imported from “foreign adversaries.”

Yesterday, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) to further limit the ability of U.S. persons to book lodging in Cuba, import certain goods from Cuba, and participate in professional meetings or artistic and athletic events in Cuba.  The changes include the following:

  • The new rules prohibit U.S.

Post Update:

Over the weekend, the WeChat and TikTok bans were temporarily suspended.  On Saturday, the Commerce Department delayed implementation of the TikTok ban until September 28, 2020 after it was announced that Oracle would acquire TikTok’s U.S. operations.  On Sunday, a federal court separately issued a preliminary injunction against the implementation of the WeChat

Today the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) added 24 Chinese state-owned companies to the Entity List for their role in the construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea.  The Entity List prohibits the export, re-export, and transfer (in-country) of items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to these companies without a

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

On July 10, USTR published a notice of action in the Section 301 investigation of France’s digital services tax announcing the imposition of additional 25 percent duties on certain products from France covering an estimated $1.3 billion of trade. The additional tariffs are effective January 6, 2021, pursuant to a 180-day suspension period.

A comprehensive

Comments Due by July 10, 2020

Today, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) published a Federal Register Notice seeking comments from interested parties to assist in its decisions on exclusions from the Section 232 tariffs and quotas imposed on imports of steel and aluminum articles.

Since issuing its interim final rule establishing the Section 232 exclusion request process, BIS has received over 179,000 exclusion requests (157,900 for steel and 21,100 for aluminum), with over 78,500 being granted and 25,400 being denied.

BIS is seeking public comment regarding “the appropriateness of the factors considered, and the efficiency and transparency of the process employed, in rendering decisions on requests for exclusions from the tariffs and quotas imposed on imports of steel and aluminum articles.”  The notice lists various topics for comments including but not limited to expanding or restricting eligibility requirements for requestors and objectors; the Section 232 Exclusions Portal; the factors considered in rendering decisions on exclusion requests; and the incorporation of steel and aluminum derivative products into the product exclusion process.
Continue Reading Commerce Department Seeks Comments on Section 232 Exclusion Process for Steel and Aluminum

Yesterday, the U.S. International Trade Commission (“USITC”) released a report on imports of products known to be related to the response to COVID-19.  The report was requested by Congressman Richard E. Neal, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means and Senator Charles E. Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance in early