Dinner Table Conversation: How an Offhand Comment May Signal a Shift in the Global Trade of Semiconductors

On June 19, Commerce Secretary Ross mentioned at a Wall Street Journal CFO dinner that the Administration is now considering launching an investigation of semiconductor imports under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Ross said the specific concern is the threat of China to surpass U.S. semiconductor production. Continue Reading

Our Cuba Sanctions Predictions: How Did We Do?

In our last post, we made a few cocky predictions about the new Trump Administration’s Cuba policy. We correctly asserted that the President would try to chart a narrow course between the Scylla of conservative Cuban-American expectations for an outright return to the embargo and the Charybdis of U.S. interests (business, strategic, and cultural) in improving Cuban relations. But how did our more substantive predictions fare? Okay, it’s a little hard to tell from the President’s actual speech, which was not full of policy detail. Fortunately, there is the Department of Treasury, whose overworked, understaffed Office of Foreign Assets Control provided a helpful FAQ page, and the White House staff, who produced a fact sheet on the new policy. In any event, nothing is final until OFAC issues regulations to implement the new policy. Continue Reading

Oh, Hadn’t You Heard? You’re Violating French Law Right Now! France Gets Serieuse about Anti-Corruption

Ok, ok, don’t panic. Maybe not all of the millions of dedicated readers of this blog are in violation.

Nevertheless, as of June 1, if your company does business in France, it may be time to check your anticorruption compliance obligations. Continue Reading

Our Armchair Santería on Cuba Policy: What Will President Trump do on Cuba?

According to reports published this week, the Trump Administration is preparing to release the results of its policy review on Cuba in the “coming weeks.” We don’t have a crystal ball (or a leaking insider). But we continue to believe that when you eliminate the impossible, what you have left (however improbable) may be the truth. That adage, from Conan Doyle, has guided our predictions of many Trump administration policies. Continue Reading

A New Sleuth in Britain: The UK Quietly Empowers a Sanctions Enforcement Office

On April 3, 2017, the UK Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) announced new penalties for economic sanctions violations of £1 Million or 50% of the value of the transaction, whichever is higher. As a result, this new detective has a powerful new enforcement tool, and it may be taking notes from the aggressive U.S. sanctions enforcers. Continue Reading

Still Following the Money: FinCEN, Money Laundering, and the Bank Secrecy Act

Late last week, Congressional intelligence committees reportedly received some information from the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) related to investigations into Russia’s attack on the 2016 U.S. Presidential election and the allegation of collusion with members of the Trump campaign. This followed earlier reports of the Senate Intelligence Committee requesting data from FinCEN, including “information about shell companies, money laundering and the use of property transfers.” Also in the past week, Robert Mueller, Special Counsel, was appointed by the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct an independent investigation regarding Russia’s cyberattack. Taken together, that makes three sets of investigators who may be reviewing and analyzing documents from FinCEN in order to better understand financial connections among the President’s campaign, his business organizations, and Russia. Continue Reading

The Foreign Agents Registration Act: Rising Out of Obscurity

Who would have thought that a little-known, 1930s-era law would suddenly become a household name? Not me. Not even as an attorney who counsels clients on compliance with the law and maintains a healthy (read: nerdy) interest in it.

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Preparing For Heightened Antidumping and Countervailing Duties (AD/CVD) Enforcement Under the Trump Administration

As the Trump administration comes into its third month, we have clues, but must speculate on how that administration will modify Iran sanctions, NAFTA, foreign investment, and tariffs on China. In contrast, recently issued executive orders shed clear light on the Trump administration’s approach to antidumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVD). (See our August 2016 blog for a general background on AD/CVD.)

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Predicting the Unpredictable: Will President Trump Tear Up the Iran Nuclear Deal?

As a candidate for President, Donald J. Trump was widely reported to despise the Iran nuclear agreement, which is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. As President, he responded to reports of Iranian missile tests by putting Iran “on notice.” While observers have speculated whether that portends a naval escalation in the Persian Gulf or the Gulf of Aden, or perhaps some form of probation, the most likely next steps in our view will not include tearing up the nuclear agreement.

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Predicting the Unpredictable: Foreign Investment Under the Trump Administration

CFIUS has the power to unwind your M&A deal. That power will likely expand. That is the headline.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) reviews acquisitions by foreign parties of “critical industries” and “critical infrastructure” in the United States. The inter-agency committee’s actions warrant plenty of explanation, and you can find much of it here.

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