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Julien Blanquart is an International Trade associate in the Government Contracts, Investigations & International Trade in the firm's Brussels and London offices.

  • New law could penalize companies for complying with U.S. sanctions.
  • Penalties include designation to China’s new “Unreliable Entity” list.
  • Statements against the new laws could also be penalized, restricting the capacity of counsel to advise freely on compliance with U.S. sanctions and Chinese countermeasures.

On June 10, 2021, China enacted the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law (“AFSL”), aimed at punishing countries that impose anti-China sanctions and the companies that comply with those sanctions. The law is effective immediately, and applies to any sanctions imposed against China, Chinese entities, or Chinese individuals by any third country (excluding sanctions adopted by the United Nations).

The AFSL comes in addition to the Measures on Blocking Unjustified Extraterritorial Application of Foreign Legislation (the Blocking measures) issued earlier this year. Those measures were mainly address the extraterritorial effect of U.S. sanctions against China, by punishing companies that comply with U.S. sanctions.
Continue Reading Counterpunch: China Adopts Landmark Anti-Sanctions Statute to Stop U.S. Sanctions Effects Overseas

Last week, on June 3, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order (“E.O.”) prohibiting U.S. investments in designated Chinese companies deemed to undermine “the security or democratic values of the United States and [its] allies” (see here). The E.O. is the most recent in a long list of foreign policy actions seeking to put pressure on China using economic tools to curtail China’s surveillance and intelligence activities against the United States. The E.O. amends and supersedes Trump’s Executive Order 13959 (“E.O. 13959”), as amended by Executive Order 13974 (“E.O. 13974”), which similarly prohibited U.S. persons from engaging in certain transactions with companies placed on the Defense Department’s Chinese Communist Military Companies (“CCMC”) list. The E.O. contains a new list, the “Chinese-Military Industrial Companies” (“CMIC”), that replaces the CCMC for purposes of prohibiting certain transactions by U.S. persons. The new CMIC list includes many of the previously-designated companies on the CCMC list, including, for example, Huawei and Hikvision. While previous prohibitions on these companies focused on export restrictions, the U.S. government is tightening the avenues for U.S. companies to safely conduct business with many Chinese behemoths. For U.S. companies that deal regularly with China, it would make sense to think more broadly about those business relationships as companies develop their strategic plans.
Continue Reading President Biden Issues a New…ish Ban on Certain Chinese Investments

A new framework for foreign direct investments in the United Kingdom

Takeaways

  • The United Kingdom Government has adopted a CFIUS-style National Security and Investment Act (“the Act”).
  • The new law takes effect in later in 2021, but UK Government may look back at deals from November 2020 onward.
  • The Act is considered one of the most far-reaching systems in the world, carrying civil and criminal penalties for a failure to notify.
  • A notifiable acquisition completed without the approval of the Secretary of State is void (of no legal effect).
  • The UK Government has stated that it will work closely with investors to help ease the market into the new framework of investment rules.


Continue Reading CFIUK Comes to Life: The National Security and Investment Act 2021

On May 10, 2021, the EU adopted its new, revised version of Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 (the “Regulation”).  It is widely acknowledged to be the first major reform to the structure of the EU’s export control regime since 2009.

The text of the Regulation was approved by the European Parliament on March 26, 2021. In November 2020, the Council and European Parliament representatives reached a provisional political agreement on the Regulation. The reform of EU export controls had initially been proposed by the European Commission in September 2016.
Continue Reading A New Era of Export Controls Begins in the EU: The Revised EU Dual-Use Export Controls to Promote Human Rights

Key takeaways

The new National Security and Investment Bill expands the UK government’s powers to intercede in acquisitions of UK companies where it determines there is a potential national security threat.

The Bill creates a new government agency, the Investment Security Unit (ISU) to oversee foreign direct investment review, removing the power from the competition/antitrust regulator, the CMA.

Regulators will be able to “call in” transactions that were not notified but that the Secretary of State determines may pose a national security risk.

A mandatory notification will be introduced for certain sectors, including penalties for failure to notify, but the details of those requirements have not been completed.
Continue Reading CFIUK: The United Kingdom Introduces a New Mechanism for Foreign Direct Investment Screening

On October 15, 2020, CFIUS will officially tie mandatory filings to U.S. export control regimes, including the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).  While that change may draw a clearer line of what constitutes a mandatory filing, it also pulls your CFIUS review into the complex (and somewhat nerdy) world of export regulations.
Continue Reading Lend Me Your EARs: CFIUS Makes Export Controls a Trigger for Mandatory Filings

The UK government has now made a show of force in its foreign direct investment (FDI) reviews.

For the first time, the UK Secretary of State issued an order to prevent a transaction for raising public interest considerations. Specifically, the UK Government blocked the prospective deal on national security grounds. In the September 5, 2020 notice, the UK Government accepted commitments from Gardner Aerospace Holdings Limited (Gardner) to not proceed with its proposed acquisition of Impcross Limited (Impcross), a UK-based manufacturer of components for the aerospace and military aircraft industry.
Continue Reading CFIUK? The UK Brings Heavier Scrutiny to Its Foreign Investment Reviews

On August 28, 2020, China took its own swing in the fight over TikTok. The blow, however, may land right in the middle of U.S.-China technology research, collaboration, and innovation. New export regulations may require licenses from the Chinese government before researchers in China may share their technological advances with colleagues, counterparts, or customers in the United States.
Continue Reading China Expands Technology Export Controls: Fighting back on TikTok and Putting Your R&D at Risk