Archives: International Trade & National Security

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French Council of State Confirms GDPR Sanction, Lowers Penalty Fee

Following a recent data breach, Optical Center has been fined 250,000 euros by The Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL). The website breach allowed public access to invoices, purchase orders, and personal data of customers. On appeal, the French Highest administrative Court (Council of State) lowered the penalty to 200,000 euros. The reduction … Continue Reading

OFAC addresses North Korea’s illicit shipping practices with updated advisory document

On Thursday March 21, 2019, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) updated the advisory document it published on February 23 regarding North Korea’s illicit shipping practices. The updated guidance provides further information about North Korea’s deceptive shipping practices aimed at evading international sanctions and provides a list of ‘red … Continue Reading

OFAC imposes strong sanctions on Venezuela’s PDVSA

On Monday January 28, the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed strong sanctions on Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA), a major Venezuelan state-owned oil and natural gas company. The U.S. is now prohibited from engaging in transactions with the company, and all property and interests in property of PdVSA that are … Continue Reading

OFAC lifts sanctions on three Russian entities

On January 27, 2019, the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) removed UC Rusal plc (Rusal), En+ Group plc (En+), and JSC EuroSibEnergo (ESE) from the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List, reducing the number of Russian entities sanctioned by the United States. Our Sanctions Team explores the implications in our recent client … Continue Reading

United States fully reimposes secondary sanctions on Iran

On November 5, the United States reimposed the final tranche of sanctions on Iran, which had been lifted pursuant to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) in 2016. The vast majority of these sanctions are “secondary sanctions,” being those which target non-U.S. persons and companies even where there is no U.S. nexus (e.g. the … Continue Reading

Iran Sanctions: new developments and how to handle them

On 8 May 2018, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In conjunction with that announcement, the President issued a National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM) directing the re-imposition of certain secondary sanctions, being those that apply to non-U.S. persons even where there is no U.S. … Continue Reading

Iran sanctions: United States reimposes sanctions and the EU responds

In the early hours of Tuesday, 7 August 2018, and as foreshadowed by President Trump’s announcement on 8 May 2018, the United States reimposed certain secondary sanctions on Iran, being those which apply to non-U.S. persons. The imposition of these sanctions follows the conclusion of a 90-day wind-down period and, as mentioned in our previous … Continue Reading

Iran Sanctions Update: August implementation deadline is approaching, are you ready?

President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on 8 May 2018. In conjunction with that announcement, the president issued a National Security Presidential Memorandum directing the re-imposition of certain secondary sanctions, being those that apply to non-U.S. persons even where there is no U.S. nexus. … Continue Reading

Released CFIUS Annual Report Shows Heightened Scrutiny

CFIUS recently published a summary of their 2015 CFIUS Annual Report to Congress.  CFIUS is charged with reviewing foreign investments and advising the President on appropriate actions that may be necessary to suspend or prohibit foreign acquisitions, mergers, or takeovers which threaten to impair the national security of the United States. The Annual Report reflects … Continue Reading

President Trump Issues Executive Order Expanding North Korea Sanctions

President Trump issued a new executive order (the EO) on September 21st that greatly expands the U.S. sanctions against North Korea, particularly secondary sanctions. Secondary sanctions apply to non-U.S. individuals and corporations and are imposed by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the U.S. Secretary of State. The EO establishes the following: … Continue Reading

Iran Missile Test Leads to New Sanctions

On February 2nd the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) imposed new sanctions on 13 individuals and 12 entities that were believed to be “involved in procuring technology and/or materials to support Iran’s ballistic missile program, as well as for acting for or on behalf of, or providing support to, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods … Continue Reading

Drastic Changes to Sudan Sanctions with New OFAC General License

Before President Obama’s exit from The White House, he removed most of the sanctions in place against Sudan.  While President Trump and the Secretary of State ultimately have the final decision, it is believed they were consulted by the Obama administration about these changes.  The relaxed Sudan sanctions will allow U.S. persons to engage in … Continue Reading

OFAC Gives Clarity on Cuba Sanctions with New FAQs

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added five new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on 6 January 2017. The new FAQs were in reference to a general license that OFAC issued on October of 2016.  The license considerably lessened the ‘180-day’ rule – a restriction that makes foreign-flag vessels wait at least … Continue Reading

The Customs Compliance Letters and What They Really Mean

In late 2016, U.S. Customs issued an unusual letter to a select group of 1000 U.S. importers containing numerous compliance publications and detailing facts about the importers’ highest-valued goods. The letter asks for the importers to review CBP’s laws and regulations, and to either assure compliance or disclose in advance any errors identified. It also … Continue Reading

North Korea Facing New Wave of International Trade Sanctions

As a direct result of nuclear and ballistic weapons tests conducted by the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of North Korea earlier this year, the United Nations, the European Union and the United States imposed increased sanctions against the country.  These new restrictions affect various industries, including minerals, energy, shipping, banking, finance, and aviation. In keeping with … Continue Reading

The Latest on Cuban Sanctions

Reed Smith has been closely monitoring developments in U.S.-Cuba relations.  With President Obama’s historic visit to Cuba in the books, we invite you to take a closer look at some recent amendments that were made to Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR).  These changes provide significant benefits in the travel, shipping, … Continue Reading

Cuban Relations with the United States: Further Amendments to Export and Travel Policy

In keeping with the continued efforts of the White House to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba, the United States recently modified its stance on travel to Cuba and eased certain export restrictions.  Reed Smith’s International Trade & National Security team has authored a client alert that summarizes the policy amendments, and explains the implications for … Continue Reading

Crude Oil Shipments Affected by Recent U.S. Customs Ruling

In a recent ruling, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) decided that shippers must employ costly U.S.-flag vessels when shipping processed condensate to and from a foreign country to be blended as a diluent with heavy crude.  The ruling comes as a surprise to many because it assumes processed condensate and heavy crude oil are … Continue Reading

News on Iran Sanctions: Adoption Day of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

18 October 2015, marked ‘Adoption Day’ for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).  The JCPOA was agreed upon 90 days earlier, between the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, together with Iran.  While the latest measures taken by the EU, the United States and Iran make the necessary legal preparations … Continue Reading

10 Things Exporters Need to Know About Crude Oil Swap Licenses

Despite recent efforts to repeal the U.S. ban on crude oil exports, the restrictions remain firmly in place.  Recently, however, the Bureau of Industry & Security (“BIS”) authorized exports of U.S. light crude oil in exchange for imports of Mexican heavy crude, causing a stir in the industry and some confusion regarding the legal context … Continue Reading

Further Amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR)

In keeping with the Obama Administration’s efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, the U.S. government is making further amendments to CACR and EAR.  While the overall embargo is still in place, these amendments will lessen the degree of various restrictions.  The effects will be seen in areas including travel, telecommunications and internet-based services, commercial and … Continue Reading

European Court ruling REACH

The European Court’s ruling in the ‘substances in articles’ case FDC and FMB v Ministre de l’ecologie, du development durable et de l’energie will extend aspects of EU chemical law compliance.  Going forward, importers and suppliers doing business in the EU will be required to have increased oversight and understanding of the chemical compositions of … Continue Reading

Iran: Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed, but no immediate sanctions relief

On 24 November 2013, the P5+1 countries (comprising the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany) together with Iran, agreed the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), which relaxed some of the sanctions imposed against Iran by the EU and U.S. The JPOA was intended to provide interim sanctions relief, while the parties worked … Continue Reading

Iran: Further extension of limited sanctions relief to 13 July 2015

In our alert of 8 July, we reported that the P5+1 and Iran had announced the extension of the Joint Plan of Action Relief Period (the JPOA Relief Period) to today, 10 July 2015. Negotiations with Iran continue. To allow more time for the parties involved to reach a long-term solution, the JPOA Relief Period … Continue Reading
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