Tag Archives: International Trade & National Security

OFAC Issues General License Authorizing Certain Academic Exchanges with Iran

On March 19, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued a general license under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations that authorizes several specific forms of academic exchanges with Iran. The newly issued general license – General License G (the “License”) – authorizes qualifying U.S. colleges and universities to engage in certain transactions related … Continue Reading

Benefits for Business Travelers in the New Iran Personal Communications General License

U.S. persons traveling to Iran for business can now take heart, because they, as well as most laptops and smart phones, may do so without the need for a license. A recent amendment to the wordily-named “General License with Respect to Certain Services, Software, and Hardware Incident to Personal Communications” (formerly “General License D,” now … Continue Reading

Crisis in the Crimea: Sanctions Update 2

Tensions continue to mount between the Russian and Ukrainian governments in the wake of a controversial referendum that threatens to expand the borders of the Russian Federation. The results of that Crimean plebiscite show that an estimated 97 percent of voters favor the Russian annexation of Crimea, but the peninsula’s ethnic Tartars boycotted the referendum. … Continue Reading

Crisis in the Crimea: Are sanctions against Russia imminent?

Speaking on Sunday’s talk-show circuit, Secretary of State John Kerry condemned Russia’s military intervention in the Crimea, accusing the Kremlin of invading the Ukraine and violating the UN Charter.  The condemnation echoes calls from Capitol Hill to impose immediate sanctions against Russia, but Putin will likely persist despite such threats.  In the past, Russia ignored … Continue Reading

The Several Habits of Highly Effective Export Compliance Management Programs

When the U.S. State Department late last month announced the administrative debarment of a former senior export compliance officer from Honeywell International, Inc. (“Honeywell”), reports on and analyses of the event focused on the multiple allegations of what went wrong.  This was with good reason: any time a significant case of export noncompliance comes to … Continue Reading

Smoke with No Fire: Despite Agreement in Geneva, U.S. Sanctions Continue To Prohibit Most Iran Transactions

On November 23, 2013, the White House issued a Press Release (“the Announcement”)  outlining the first of a two-step negotiation process between Iran and the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China (the “P5+1”).  The Announcement calls for the P5+1 countries to provide limited sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for Iran’s … Continue Reading

It’s 2013: Do You Know Where Your TSRA License Is?

When your work involves export controls, it’s good to remember that reform – especially in the form of decontrol – seldom has an immediate impact. It’s been just over a year since the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) lifted its restrictions on the export and re-export of certain medicines and medical … Continue Reading

Foreign Investment in the United States: Executive Order to Divest Foreign Investors Withstands Judicial Review

On October 10, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an amended ruling dismissing Ralls Corporation’s (“Ralls”) challenge to a presidential order requiring divestiture of its interest in four companies engaged in developing wind farms near a Naval base in Oregon. After the deal concluded, Ralls – a Delaware corporation privately … Continue Reading

Foreign Investment in the United States: Pork, National Security, and the CFIUS Tie that Binds

This post was written by Bethany Brown, Michael J. Lowell, and Leigh T. Hansson. What does pork have to do with national security? Companies contemplating cross-border investment in the United States should be asking themselves this question in the aftermath of recent action by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”). Last … Continue Reading

GCC-Singaporean Trade Agreement Becomes Effective During U.S. Sanctions Exemption

This post was also written by Gautam Bhattacharyya. In June 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement announcing that Singaporean financial institutions would be temporarily exempt from U.S. sanctions under Section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act. Singapore, and eight other countries, qualified for the exceptions because they reduced their volume of … Continue Reading

Manhattan Office Building Would Be the Largest Terrorist-Related Forfeiture

As members of the United Nations prepared to descend upon Manhattan’s East Side, the U.S. government was moving to seize a building only 13 blocks away. On Monday, September 16, 2013, following a civil complaint originally filed in 2008 by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New … Continue Reading

U.S. Export Control Reform: Permanent Import Controls and the DOJ

As part of the U.S. Government’s Export Control Reform Initiative, the Justice Department’s U.S. Munitions Import List (“USMIL”) has been “delinked” from the State Department’s U.S. Munitions List (“USML”). On April 22, 2013, the DOJ’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”) issued a final rule that distinguishes defense articles and services controlled by … Continue Reading

President Obama Enacts New Iran Sanctions

On January 2, 2013, President Obama signed into law an act that imposes new sanctions on Iran. The new sanctions target certain entities and transactions, but largely focus on the energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors of the Iranian economy. Several of these provisions will become effective on July 1, 2013. Please click here to read … Continue Reading

Growing Trend Among States Threatens Debarment for Contractors with Iran Ties

This post was also written by Gunjan Talati and Joelle E.K. Laszlo. Guilt by association seems to be a growing trend in government contracts. Under this trend, states are starting to use their contracting authority to promote U.S. foreign policy and impose mandatory debarment for policy violators. In the latest example, companies doing business with Michigan … Continue Reading

Foreign Subsidiaries of U.S. Companies Now Prohibited from Engaging in Transactions with Iran

In August of this year, President Obama signed the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012. This law required presidential action to implement certain restrictions, and today, on October 9, 2012, President Obama issued a new Executive Order (EO): “AUTHORIZING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF CERTAIN SANCTIONS SET FORTH IN THE IRAN THREAT REDUCTION … Continue Reading

The SEC’s New Rules on Conflict Minerals

What do the SEC and Leonardo DiCaprio have in common? Both have brought attention to the area of “conflict resources” in Africa. But whereas Leo has acted in a movie about so-called “blood diamonds,” the SEC is turning the spotlight on “conflict minerals.” Regrettably, the public will not be enjoying an SEC-produced summer blockbuster regarding … Continue Reading

President Obama Follows CFIUS Recommendation, Orders Divestiture on Ralls Wind Farm Deal

As many expected, today President Obama issued an Order exercising his statutory authority to block foreign investment in the United States that he finds to impair national security – in this case, the acquisition of wind farms in Oregon by Ralls Corporation, a firm owned by Chinese nationals. As previously reported, following CFIUS’ interim measures … Continue Reading

Presidential Dilemma on Ralls CFIUS Case

In a closely-watched case that will have important implications for future Chinese investment in the U.S. renewable energy market, President Obama is expected to rule in the next day or so on whether Ralls Corporation can go ahead with the acquisition of a wind farm that happens to be located near restricted airspace used for … Continue Reading

Sanctions Against Iran Increased by United States

This post was also written by Matthew J. Thomas and Charles A. Brown. Yesterday, Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) made dozens of significant additions to its list if Iran-linked sanctioned parties, adding new energy, finance and shipping companies, as well as many new individuals and vessels. An update from our shipping, energy and commodities … Continue Reading

U.S. Government’s $619 Million Settlement With ING Bank and Increased Sanctions on Iran Present New Challenges for Non-U.S. Banks

This post was also written by Matthew J. Thomas. ING Bank N.V., a Dutch financial institution, has agreed to pay $619 million in a settlement with the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Manhattan District Attorney. The settlement is the result of OFAC’s investigation into an … Continue Reading

U.S. Government Eases Sanctions on Burma: Authorizes Financial Services and New Investment

On July 11, 2012, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) implemented two general licenses authorizing the exportation of financial services and new investment in Burma (Myanmar). These general licenses follow earlier announcements that the U.S. government would take steps to ease sanctions on Burma, and follows the lead of Canada and the European Union. … Continue Reading

U.S. Company’s Back-Office Support of a Foreign Affiliate’s Sales in Cuba Leads to OFAC Sanctions Penalty

On July 10, 2012, OFAC announced that Great Western Malting Co. (“Great Western”), a U.S. company, agreed to pay $1.35 million to settle apparent violations of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations. Great Western produces malt for the brewing, distilling and food markets. OFAC’s settlement announcement indicates that Great Western’s U.S.-based personnel provided back-office support for a … Continue Reading

Another Foreign Bank Fined by OFAC

This post was written by Michael J. Lowell. On the heels of the largest penalty settlement to date, OFAC has announced yet another settlement with a foreign bank relating to payments processed through U.S. financial institutions. On June 14, 2012, OFAC announced a settlement with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (“NBAD”) for $855,000 to … Continue Reading
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