European Parliament Approves New Free Trade Agreement with Canada

European Parliament Approves New Free Trade Agreement with Canada

By Melissa Miller Proctor

On February 15th, the European Parliament voted in favor of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the European Union (EU) and Canada. European and Canadian companies will soon be afforded new trade benefits once the agreement formally goes into force.

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U.S. Commerce Department Imposes New Document Requirements on U.S. Companies Doing Business in Hong Kong

U.S. Commerce Department Imposes New Document Requirements on U.S. Companies Doing Business in Hong Kong

By Melissa Miller Proctor

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) recently published a rule that will soon impose new documentation requirements on companies that ship certain goods to, or reexport certain items from, Hong Kong. The rule is slated to take effect on April 19, 2017; therefore, affected companies will have a little time to adjust their operations and processes to the new requirements.

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New U.S. Sanctions Imposed on Iran in Response to Recent Testing of Ballistic Missiles

New U.S. Sanctions Imposed on Iran in Response to Recent Testing of Ballistic Missiles

By Melissa Miller Proctor

Today, the Trump Administration imposed new sanctions on Iran for its testing last weekend of ballistic missiles. Last Sunday, On Sunday, Iran launched the Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile from a test site located approximately 140 miles east of Tehran, which traveled 600 miles before exploding. The missile test violated U.N. Resolution 2231 that was issued on July 20, 2015, which bars Iran from conducting ballistic missile tests for a period of eight years. This was Iran’s second missile test (the first one occurring in July 2016), and the first test made under the Trump Administration. 

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OFAC Publishes Cyber-Related General License 1

OFAC Publishes Cyber-Related General License 1

U.S. Companies May Again Submit Encryption Approvals to Import Commercial Information Security Products and Software into the Russian Federation

By Melissa Miller Proctor

The Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published Cyber-Related General License 1 as part of the Cyber-Related Sanctions Regulations in Title 31 C.F.R. 758. The issuance of this General License is critical for U.S. companies that market computers, software, telecommunications devices and similar products in the Russian Federation, as it allows U.S. persons to submit encryption notification requests and import license applications to Russia’s Federal Security Service (a.k.a. FSB), which are required under Russian law, without violating the U.S. cyber-related sanctions on Russia. 

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UK Publishes White Paper Outlining the Roadmap for Brexit

UK Publishes White Paper Outlining the Roadmap for Brexit

By Melissa Miller Proctor

This week, the United Kingdom (UK) published an official white paper setting out its Brexit plan, which establishes the key principles that will guide the government in its departure from the European Union (EU). This document outlines the 12 key principles that will govern the EU departure process. 

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This Week in International Trade – Border Adjustment Tax, Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement & the NAFTA in the News

This Week in International Trade – Border Adjustment Tax, Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement & the NAFTA in the News

By Melissa Miller Proctor

Several key international trade issues made the headlines in various news media outlets this week, namely the proposed border adjustment tax and the status of both the TPP and the NAFTA. Click read more below to view the key take-aways.

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With Less Than a Week Left in Office, President Obama Lifts U.S. Economic Sanctions on Sudan

With Less Than a Week Left in Office, President Obama Lifts U.S. Economic Sanctions on Sudan

By Melissa Miller Proctor

Today, most of the comprehensive U.S. economic sanctions imposed on Sudan have been lifted, and virtually all trade between the U.S. and Sudan that was previously prohibited under the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations (SSR) in 31 C.F.R. Part 538 are now authorized. The lifting of these sanctions was made by Presidential Executive Order on January 13th, as well as the implementation of a new General License today by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in Section 538.540 of the SSR. Specifically, the following activities by U.S. persons are now authorized:

  • The processing of transactions involving persons in Sudan, including those relating to the petroleum or petrochemical industries in Sudan;
  • Exports and reexports of goods, services and technology to Sudan;
  • Imports of goods, services and technology into the United States from Sudan; 
  • Facilitation of transactions between Sudan and third countries; and,
  • Transactions involving property in which Sudan has an interest—such property has been unblocked.
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2017 Begins with Additional U.S. Sanctions on Russia for Malicious Cyber-Related Activities

2017 Begins with Additional U.S. Sanctions on Russia for Malicious Cyber-Related Activities

By Melissa Miller Proctor

U.S. companies doing business in Russia are urged to review the new cyber-related sanctions that were imposed on Russia at the end of December as they may impact existing business relationships with certain Russian individuals and entities. The new sanctions, enacted under Executive Order 13964, impact certain Russian government agencies, companies and individuals as a result of Russia’s cyber activities that were intended to influence the U.S. presidential election. Note that Executive Order 13964 was originally issued backed in April 2015, and authorized the imposition of sanctions for cyber-enabled malicious activities that:

  • Harm or compromise the provision of services by entities in a critical infrastructure sector;
  • Disrupt the availability of a computer or network or computers; or
  • Cause a misappropriation of funds or economic resources, trade secrets, personal identifiers or financial information for commercial or competitive advantage or private financial gain.
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OFAC Appears to Anticipate the Snapback of Nuclear-Related Sanctions on Iran

OFAC Appears to Anticipate the Snapback of Nuclear-Related Sanctions on Iran

By Melissa Miller Proctor

Either in response to questions posed by U.S. companies, or in anticipation of the potential snap-back of secondary, nuclear-related sanctions on Iran by President Trump after the inauguration or by virtue of Iran’s recent announcement that the United States has violated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) posted guidance on its Frequently Asked Questions webpage as to what the reimposition of sanctions on Iran would likely entail. 

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“Operation Surge Protector” Targets Illegal Imports and Distribution of Dangerous Electronics Into the United States

“Operation Surge Protector” Targets Illegal Imports and Distribution of Dangerous Electronics Into the United States

By Melissa Miller Proctor

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) just issued a press release announcing the roll out of “Operation Surge Protector” that will target the illegal importation and distribution of counterfeit consumer electronics in the United States. These products, which include digital media devices, power adapters and consumer technology powered by lithium ion batteries, are highly susceptible to counterfeiting and pose health and safety hazards by overheating, igniting and causing severe injuries and property damage. Operation Surge Protector is being coordinated by the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center or “IPR Center,” which uses the expertise of 23 partner government agencies, including the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) to share information, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations relating to IP theft. Operation Surge Protector will also provide additional resources to ICE agents, including the ability to more effectively track arrests, indictments and convictions. Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell of the DOJ’s Criminal Division stated that the Justice Department will also continue to prosecute traffickers and manufacturers of counterfeit electronics “who choose profit over public health and safety.”

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U.S.-Mexico Unified Cargo Processing Pilot Is Yielding Significant Reductions in Commercial Port Crossing and Cargo Inspections

U.S.-Mexico Unified Cargo Processing Pilot Is Yielding Significant Reductions in Commercial Port Crossing and Cargo Inspections

By Melissa Miller Proctor

Wait times and the number of cargo inspections performed at the border between the United States and Mexico for transportation security reasons are expected to drop significantly as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Mexico’s Servicio de Administration Tributaria (SAT) continue to expand the Unified Cargo Processing pilot at Arizona’s Port of Nogales. 

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U.S. Antiboycott Compliance: New Federal List Published

U.S. Antiboycott Compliance: New Federal List Published

By Melissa Miller Proctor

The Treasury Department recently published its quarterly list of countries that currently require participation or cooperation with an international boycott, such as the Arab League’s boycott of Israel. Even though many of these countries are WTO members and were required to shut down their Arab League offices as a condition of membership, many boycott-related requests are still being issued by government agencies and companies in these countries. The countries that are designated on this list, which by the way are the very same countries that were listed in the Third Quarter list, are: Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

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Don’t Forget: The New Export Destination Control Requirements Are Now In Effect

Don’t Forget: The New Export Destination Control Requirements  Are Now In Effect

By Melissa Miller Proctor

Yesterday, the new export Destination Control Statement requirements under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) went into effect which required U.S. exporters to make adjustments to their invoices, shipping documents, airway waybills, other documents, and their export compliance programs. Earlier this summer, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) harmonized the Destination Control Statement requirements under both the EAR and the ITAR. U.S. exporters are required to insert Destination Control Statements on commercial documentation to inform their foreign customers that they are receiving goods which are subject to U.S. law, and that any subsequent reexport or retransfer may require them to obtain prior authorization from the U.S. Government. 

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U.S. Continues Liberalizing Travel and Trade with Cuba

U.S. Continues Liberalizing Travel and Trade with Cuba

By Melissa Miller Proctor

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) recently amended the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CAFC), respectively, to further the Administration’s efforts toward normalizing bilateral relations with Cuba. The following provides a recap of the changes that were made:

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New Mechanism for Submitting Commodity Jurisdiction Requests to the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls to Be Launched on November 21st

New Mechanism for Submitting Commodity Jurisdiction Requests to the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls to Be Launched on November 21st

By Melissa Miller Proctor

Beginning on November 21st, as part of the DDTC’s IT Modernization project, the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) will require Commodity Jurisdiction (CJ) requests to be submitted online via the new Defense Export Control and Compliance System (DECCS) which will interface with the USXPORTS system. Companies engaged in aerospace and defense-related industries, whose activities are subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), have the option of submitting CJ requests to the DDTC for a formal and binding determination as to whether their goods, software or technical data are subject to the ITAR or to the Export Administration Regulations.

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U.S. Commerce Department Issues New Encryption Rules That Will Lighten Some Exporter Burdens

U.S. Commerce Department Issues New Encryption Rules That Will Lighten Some Exporter Burdens

By Melissa Miller Proctor

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) recently published its final rule that makes significant changes to the Export Administration Regulations’ (EAR’s) requirements for items that have cryptographic features (i.e., hardware, software, middleware, firmware, source code and technology). The final rule was published on September 20, 2016, and implements the changes that were agreed at the December 15th plenary meeting of the Wassenaar Arrangements to which the United States and forty (40) other countries belong. The final rule made a number of revisions to the EAR and the Commerce Control List; however, the modifications made to the treatment of encryption items were the most significant.  U.S. and foreign companies that develop, sell or distribute items that contain cryptographic features should take immediate steps to update their current product and software classifications in light of the final rule. The final rule took immediate effect on September 20, 2016.

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President Obama Announces Intent to Lift U.S. Sanctions on Burma and Restore Its Status as a Least Developed Beneficiary Country under the Generalized System of Preferences

President Obama Announces Intent to Lift U.S. Sanctions on Burma and Restore Its Status as a Least Developed Beneficiary Country under the Generalized System of Preferences

By Melissa Miller Proctor

President Obama announced yesterday, after his meeting at the White House with Aung San Syuu Kyi, the newly elected President of Myanmar (formerly known, and hereinafter referred to, as Burma), that he intends to lift U.S. sanctions on Burma as a result of that country’s progress toward implementing democracy. The eventual lifting of the sanctions on Burma will take effect when the President: (1) submits certain notifications to Congress; and, (2) issues a new Executive Order that will terminate the national emergency with respect to Burma. When those events take place, the Burmese Sanctions Regulations (found in 31 C.F.R. Part 537) will no longer be in effect. Thereafter, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) will remove the Burmese Sanctions Regulations from the Foreign Assets Control Regulations. It should be noted that the arms embargo prohibiting exports, reexports and imports of defense articles and services that are subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) will continue to be imposed despite the removal of the Burmese Sanctions Regulations in the future.

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U.S. Lift Economic Sanctions on Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

U.S. Lift Economic Sanctions on Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

By Melissa Miller Proctor

Yesterday, President Obama issued an Executive order entitled “Termination of Emergency with Respect to the Situation in or in Relation to Côte d’Ivoire” which lifts all U.S. sanctions against Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). These sanctions have been terminated and are no longer in effectas of 8:00am ET on September 14, 2016. The Obama Administration’s decision to lift the sanctions on Côte d’Ivoire stems from the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2283, which terminated the arms embargo and travel and financial sanctions on Côte d’Ivoire in April 2016. OFAC has also removed the individuals who were targeted under the previous U.S. sanctions on the Côte d’Ivoire from the Specially Designated Nationals Lists (SDN Lists). OFAC will be removing the Côte d’Ivoire Sanctions Regulations (in 31 CFR Part 543) from the Foreign Assets Control Regulations in the near future. 

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection Pushes Back Its Deadline for the Transition of Certain Filing Activities to the “Single Window” System

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Pushes Back Its Deadline for the Transition of Certain Filing Activities to the “Single Window” System

By Melissa Miller Proctor

As we noted previously in this blog, imports and exports of merchandise from the United States have been transitioning from a paper-driven clearance regime to a “single window” electronic system known as the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). Using the “single window,” companies and their agents will be able to submit a single, harmonized set of data electronically into ACE which will be accessed and processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the various Partnering Government Agencies (PGAs). In order to meet the December 31st deadline for U.S. government agency migration to ACE, which was set by President Obama’s Executive Order 13659 (“Streamlining the Import and Export Processes for America’s Businesses”), CBP has been working to phase in ACE implementation over the course of the last year. 

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“Single Window” System for Import and Export Clearance - U.S. Government Nearing Completing of Migration to the Automated Commerce Environment by December 31st

“Single Window” System for Import and Export Clearance - U.S. Government Nearing Completing of Migration to the Automated Commerce Environment by December 31st

By Melissa Miller Proctor

The ways in which in information and documentation is submitted by U.S. companies and processed by the various U.S. government agencies for the import and export clearance of merchandise has been undergoing a dramatic evolution since 2014 and is nearing completion. Imports and exports of merchandise from the United States have been transitioning from a paper-driven clearance regime to a “single window” electronic system. The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) serves as this “single window” enabling importers and exporters to interface with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other federal government agencies (i.e., “Partnering Government Agencies” or “PGAs”) that have a hand in the admissibility of imported merchandise and authorization of exports from the United States. Instead of manually submitting often duplicative information and paper-driven data to multiple agencies as part of the cargo release processes, companies and their agents now electronically submit a single, harmonized set of data and upload required documentation into ACE which can then be accessed and processed by the various PGAs. In addition, the PGAs will be able to communicate with importers and exporters directly through ACE on any additional information requirements, scheduling and execution of examinations and inspections, cargo releases, protests and enforcement actions. 

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