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Fatema Merchant is a partner in the Government Contracts, Investigations and International Trade and White Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations Practice Groups in the firm's Washington, D.C. office.

On September 15, President Biden signed the first-ever Executive Order (E.O.) on CFIUS – the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. While the E.O. does not substantively change CFIUS’s jurisdiction or the legal process, the Biden Administration provides some explicit guidance on certain national security priorities and factors for CFIUS to consider when evaluating transactions – focusing in on protecting U.S. technological advantage, supply chain resiliency, and sensitive data from U.S. adversaries. No doubt, the E.O. will impact certain cross-border transactions and investments as CFIUS develops strategies to incorporate the E.O. into practice and align national security priorities with other national security tools.

Continue Reading First-Ever Executive Order on CFIUS Highlights Biden’s National Security Priorities

The U.S. photovoltaic (PV) industry, solar module suppliers, manufacturers, and renewable energy developers are facing new regulatory challenges with the implementation of new legislation which has a significant impact on such imports. Among the most significant is the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, Pub. L. No. 117-78, 135 Stat. 1525 (2021) (“UFLPA”), whose provisions became fully effective on June 21, 2022.

Continue Reading Is the U.S. solar industry ready to prove its panels aren’t made with Uyghur forced labor?

On April 29, 2022, the UK introduced new measures to prevent the provision of internet services to or for the benefit of designated persons.[1] These measures apply to the whole territory of the UK and to conduct by UK persons where that conduct is wholly or partly outside the UK. The designated entities or individuals (“Designated Persons”) can be found on the regularly updated UK Sanctions List with the tag “Internet Sanctions List”. To date, only V-Novosti and Rossiya Segodnya are designated under those authorities.

Continue Reading Introduction of internet-related Russia trade sanctions in the UK

On Monday, President Biden issued an Executive Order suspending the collection of anti-dumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVD) of certain solar cells and modules exported from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. The Executive Order comes on the heels of a Commerce Department investigation initiated back in March 2022 into whether solar cell and modules from the aforementioned countries were circumventing AD/CVD duties on solar cells and modules made in China. The anticircumvention investigation, however, will continue to run its normal course, and if circumvention is found, AD/CVD duties will not be imposed until the end of the 24 month period (or until the emergency is declared terminated) (see here).  

Continue Reading President Biden Suspends AD/CVD Duties on Solar Cells and Modules from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam

On May 6, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated a cryptocurrency mixer, Blender.io, as a Specially Designated National (SDN). That sanction follows a series of enforcements and sanctions which we have previously discussed here and here.

Continue Reading The Crypto Enthusiast and The Regulator: What OFAC is, Could Be, and Should Be Doing to Regulate CryptoCurrencies

On Sunday, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced novel and sweeping sanctions on specific categories of services in order to cripple Russia’s wartime capabilities and sanctioned key individuals at Russian banks and state-owned television stations. Concurrently, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) made available for public inspection a final rule expanding export restrictions by imposing a license requirement for exports, reexports, or transfers (in-country) to and within Russia on additional items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

Continue Reading Novel Sanctions Against Business-Related Services Connected to Russia and Additional Export Restrictions

Last week, the United States government imposed additional restrictions on the imports from, and exports to, Russia. The import changes stem from the Suspending Normal Trade Relations with Russia and Belarus Act, signed into law by President Biden, that increase the duties for products that claim Russia or Belarus as their country of origin. In terms of exports, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued a press release last Saturday announcing further controls on the export and reexport of U.S.-origin and certain foreign-produced commodities, software, and technologies to Russia and Belarus by amending the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The expanded rule is currently under public inspection in the Federal Register and will be published tomorrow.

Continue Reading Additional Import and Export Restrictions in Response to Russia’s Aggression in Ukraine

Updated as of April 12, 2022

It has now been more than 40 days since the start of Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. Today, following the recent revelations of the atrocities committed in Bucha, Ukraine by Russian armed forces, the United States – in coordination with the G7 and the EU – imposed new sanctions on Russia (see here). The sweeping new sanctions seek to further restrict Russia’s access to dollars and put economic pressure on Putin to end the war. The sanctions include a ban on all new investment in Russia as well as designations of Russia’s largest financial institutions (i.e., Sberbank and Alfa Bank), critical state-owned enterprises, and Russian government officials and their family members, including Putin’s children.

Continue Reading U.S. and Allies Impose Additional Severe Costs on Russia for Atrocities in Ukraine

The recent comprehensive economic sanctions by the U.S. and other nations against Russia has propelled the crypto community onto the geo-political stage in a major way. As with other forms of payment and methods of money transmission, cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency exchanges are at risk for exploitation by criminal actors, including those attempting to evade economic sanctions. Several attributes of cryptocurrencies that are usually touted in favor of the technology—pseudonymity, decentralization, digitalization—are now giving government officials, regulators, and lawmakers cause for concern in the sanctions climate. In response, leaders in the crypto community are voicing support of sanctions compliance, and citing aspects of the technology—traceability, immutability, visibility—in reassurance of it. As discussed below, there are several steps that crypto platforms can take to further efforts in blocking and detecting sanctions evasion activity on their platforms.

Continue Reading Crypto and Russia Sanctions: A Primer and Survival Guide For Crypto Companies

Updated as of March 9, 2022

Key Takeaways of OFAC (Treasury), BIS (Commerce), and State Actions

  • Major Russian Banks Blocked from the U.S. Financial System


Continue Reading Russian Risk: Transactions with Russian Banks and Exports to Russia Create Greatest Exposure Under New U.S. Ukraine-Related Sanctions

Updated as of March 3, 2022

Key Takeaways of EU and UK Recent Actions Against Russia and Ukraine Breakaway Regions

  • The EU adopted sanctions restrictions targeting financial institutions, other entities, and individuals, and imposing territorial restrictions on Donetsk and Luhansk. The sanctions also include broad export restrictions to Russia detailed below.
  • In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised and adopted a “massive package of economic sanctions” including asset freeze restrictions; potential exclusion of Russian banks from the UK financial system, including preventing access by such banks to GBP and clearing services in the UK; and dual-use export restrictions to Russia.


Continue Reading Russian Risk: Transactions with Russian Banks and Exports to Russia Create Greatest Exposure Under New EU and UK Ukraine-Related Sanctions