Today, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) officially moved Myanmar onto the agency’s blacklist, where it joins Iran and North Korea, the only other two listed countries. It is likely that the United States and other countries will take the FATF designation as grounds to impose financial sanctions on the country, likely focusing on its central bank and financial institutions.

Continue Reading Myanmar Sanctions – A Last Resort Against a Non-Cooperating Country

By: Thad McBride and Cheryl Palmeri

As we have reported in recent months, the United States consistently has been taking steps to expand diplomatic and commercial relations with Myanmar.  And in recent weeks, that effort has continued.

To begin with, on September 26, 2012, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Myanmar President Thein Sein that the United States intends to ease its ban on imports from Myanmar.  The import ban is the most significant remaining restriction on U.S. trade with Myanmar.  Lifting it is unlikely to unleash a flood of imports into the United States from Myanmar, but it will nonetheless be an important step to demonstrate that the United States really is ready to establish normal – or close to normal – trading relations with Myanmar. Continue Reading Update on U.S.-Myanmar Relations: The Thaw Continues

By: Reid Whitten and Cheryl Palmeri

On July 11, 2012, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued two general licenses lifting long-standing sanctions against Myanmar.  The licenses were issued in response to historic reforms that have taken place in the country over the past year, the details of which we reported in this blog in February and May of this year. Continue Reading OFAC Authorizes the Exportation of Financial Services to and New Investment in Myanmar

By: Scott Maberry and Cheryl Palmeri

The U.S. government has taken another in a series of steps relaxing the sanctions it imposes against Myanmar, a country the Obama Administration still refers to by its pre-coup name, Burma. On April 17, 2012, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control issued General License No. 14-C (General License), authorizing certain financial transactions in support of humanitarian, religious, and other not-for-profit activities in Myanmar. This General License – which permits transactions previously prohibited under U.S. sanctions laws – is the U.S. government’s most recent move to scale back its restrictions on trade with Myanmar. Continue Reading Loosening Up: New Developments in Sanctions Against Myanmar

By: Thad McBride and Corey Phelps

The situation in Myanmar continues to bear watching.  While the United States and many other Western governments have maintained economic sanctions on the country for the last ten years or more, recent steps by Myanmar’s government suggest that sanctions on the country could soon be eased or even eliminated.

Continue Reading Myanmar Update: Recent Actions Increase Likelihood Sanctions Will Be Eased

I spent last week in Seoul talking to clients about the latest changes to U.S. trade and sanctions policy (as South Korea is one of Iran’s largest trading partners, it is understandable that some concerns have arisen there in May). Interestingly, a topic that came up often was how to reenter the North Korean market. The people with whom I spoke, in industries ranging from financial, to manufacturing, to technology, to legal, were sanguine on the possibility of a détente and the resulting opportunities for investment, growth, and profit in a reopened North Korea. Continue Reading Your Way-Too-Early Guide to North Korean Investment: Big Opportunities, Big Risks, and the Regulatory Guidance to Identify Both

What a difference a year makes.  As we reported last month, 2013 was filled with notable developments in U.S.-Iran relations.  The year was capped on November 24, 2013, when the United States and its negotiating partners were surprisingly able to reach a Joint Plan of Action with Iran (the “JPOA”) to loosen certain sanctions in exchange for Iran’s commitment to roll back its nuclear program.

Continue Reading Iran Sanctions: Every Day Above Ground is a Good Day

Although the traditional Burmese New Year actually falls in April, many U.S. companies are turning a new page on their calendars with thoughts of the new opportunities that await in the rapidly-opening southeast Asian nation.  This past year, this blog tracked the reduction of restrictions imposed on Burma by the United States.  To round out 2012 and kick off 2013, we present a few New Year’s resolutions that U.S. companies may consider as they approach a country offering great potential growth but pitted with potential legal challenges.

Continue Reading Foreign Investment in Burma: Resolutions for Business in a Very New Year

By: Curt Dombek and Mark Jensen

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank), Pub. L. 111-203, signed into law on July 21, 2010, requires the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to implement regulations under which issuers attest to aspects of the origin of certain “conflict minerals” used in their products, if those products derive from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or neighboring countries.  Under the SEC’s Proposed Rule, “conflict minerals” would include cassiterite (a source for tin), columbite-tantalite (used to manufacture electronic capacitors), gold, wolframite (a main source of the metal tungsten), or their derivatives, or any other minerals or their derivatives determined by the U.S. Secretary of State to finance conflict in DRC countries. Proposed Rule on Conflict Minerals on December 23, 2010.  75 Fed. Reg. 80,948 (Dec. 23, 2010) at 80,950 (Proposed Rule).  Thus, if the products you sell include these substances, at any level, the new regulations must be considered.

Continue Reading A Surprise Turn on the SEC’s Winding Road to the Dodd-Frank “Conflict Minerals” Rule