Bulletin: Commerce Department Statistics on the First Year of Export Control Reform

Here is a summary of export data for the first year after the initial implementation of ECR:

  • There have been over 61,000 shipments of 600 series items since October 2013.
  • The 600 series exports are valued at approximately $2.1 billion.
  • The top 600 series ECCNs exported are:

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Beyond the Checklist: Seven Keys to Effective Trade Due Diligence

Anti-corruption due diligence can be vexing even in the best of conditions; it is often made more complicated by time and business pressures that arise in the context of a merger or acquisition or an urgent sales opportunity.  Anti-corruption compliance is always fact-intensive, and due diligence is no exception, requiring many judgment calls about what issues to prioritize and how to deploy limited resources.  This article aims to provide a basic outline of seven key steps to consider in anti-corruption due diligence.

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ECR Episode IX: The Export Control Reform Turns One – What are Your Plans for the Big Celebration?

The Year Mark

Apparently, it is now fashionable among my peers to host elaborate parties in honor of the first birthdays of their children. I have attended a number of these fêtes, and been impressed to just what lengths the parents will go to celebrate twelve months of growth and achievement for a Guest of Honor who will almost certainly not recall the event. However, we at the Global Trade Law Blog are nothing if not fashionable (thanks to our firm’s Fashion and Apparel blog – your move, “white shoe” firms) and are not to be left out of the latest trend.  As such, we are throwing our own birthday party, celebrating the first anniversary of Export Control Reform.

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Accounts and Accountability: Arab Bank Found Liable for Transactions Under the Anti-Terrorism Act

On September 22, 2014, a Brooklyn jury found Arab Bank, Jordan’s largest lender, guilty of violating the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act for providing financial services to individuals and entities linked to Hamas. Hamas is currently designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and is listed on the Specially Designated Nationals List that OFAC maintains. Plaintiffs, victims and family members of victims of terrorist attacks, alleged that Arab Bank customers included members of Hamas and also a charitable organization, Saudi Committee, that sent payments to family members of Hamas suicide bombers. But not all of the individuals were on the SDN list, and neither was Saudi Committee.

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New U.S. Restrictions on Russia: OFAC Guidance and Industry-Specific Sanctions

OFAC Expands the 50 Percent Rule

Last month, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) released new guidance related to entities owned or controlled by persons designated as a Specially Designated National (SDN) on OFAC’s SDN list.  Although the guidance leaves intact the current meaning “50 percent rule,” the rule will now allow OFAC to take a far broader approach in determining when the 50 percent rule applies.

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Who’s a “Foreign Official”? Supreme Court Could Clarify Key FCPA Term

On August 14, 2014, Joel Esquenazi and Carlos Rodriguez filed a Petition for a writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court seeking clarification of a key term in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  Among other arguments, Esquenazi and Rodriguez (the “Petitioners”) state that the FCPA “leaves open the pivotal question of who qualifies as a ‘foreign official’” because the law does not define what it means to be an “instrumentality” of a foreign government.  The Department of Justice has waived its right to respond to the Petition, possibly signaling that the government believes the issue does not warrant the Court’s review.  Last week, the Washington Legal Foundation and the Independence Institute, a pro-business policy group and think-tank respectively, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the Petition, arguing that the case is of exceptional importance to the business community.

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EU Strengthens Economic Sanctions Against Russia

The European Union (EU) put into effect on Friday (September 12, 2014) a new round of economic sanctions against Russia over its role in Ukraine.  The new measures include further restrictions on (i) dual-use goods and technology to specified entities; (ii) the provision of services in relation to projects regarding deep water oil exploration and production, arctic oil exploration and production, or shale oil projects in Russia; (iii) services related to goods and technology listed in the EU’s Common Military List (CML); and, (iv) access to capital markets.  They also introduce a new prohibition on certain types of loans and credit to specific Russian entities.  Finally, 24 individuals (but not entities) have been added to the EU’s list of those subject to a travel ban and an asset freeze. A brief summary of the main changes implemented by Council Regulation No. 960/2014 (amending Council Regulation 833/2014) follows below.

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Shedding Light on CFIUS: Appeals Court Holds That CFIUS Review Lacks Constitutional Due Process

In a stunning ruling issued on July 15, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) and the subsequent unwinding of the investment deprived the foreign investor of due process under the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Ralls Corp. v. Comm. on Foreign Investment in the United States, No. 12-cv-01513 (D.C. Cir. Jul. 15, 2014) (a copy of the opinion is here).  If upheld, the ruling may require fundamental changes in how CFIUS conducts its reviews and may enhance foreign investors’ ability to influence or challenge the outcome of a review.

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CLIENT ALERT: United States Imposes New Sanctions and Export Restrictions Against Russian Banks, Companies, and Individuals

On July 16, the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed new sanctions against Russia, which target the country’s financial, energy and defense sectors.  In a parallel action, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) added 11 parties to its Entity List based on their role in the destabilization of eastern Ukraine and the ongoing occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol.

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Shelter from the Coming Storm: Anti-Corruption Compliance in European Public Procurement

A red sky at morning is the traditional harbinger of ill weather. From our vantage point in Brussels, we’ve scanned the horizon for signs of the future of anti-bribery enforcement activity in Europe. We’ve identified four factors that are starting small, but may build into heavy seas.

In particular, there are signs that companies that sell to governments in Europe may be well advised to shore up compliance procedures so they can remain dry if a wave of anti-corruption sentiment breaks over the public procurement sector.

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