Photo of J. Scott Maberry

Scott Maberry is an International Trade partner in the Government Contracts, Investigations & International Trade Practice Group in the firm's Washington, D.C. office. Scott is a founding member of the Sheppard Mullin Organizational Integrity Group.

Over the past few weeks, we have been speculating on the international trends and tides we expect to see in the next four years under a new U.S. presidential administration. So that you can enjoy our prognostications (before our program gets greenlighted as a Netflix special) we provide here:

  1. A recording of our webinar, entitled “The Four Years in International Business Webinar
    (for those playing along at home, see if you can spot the part where Scott’s power goes out while we’re discussing tariff reductions!)
  1. A bulleted summary of the key takeaways of our webinar.


Continue Reading The Next Four Years in International Business

On December 2, 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued an order preventing certain imported cotton products from China from being released to the importer. The products were made by Xinjian Production and Construction Corp. (XPCC). The order is based on information that indicates the use of forced labor in the production of the goods.
Continue Reading Cotton a Jam: CBP Withholds Cotton Product Shipments Under Forced Labor Rules

Contrary to some expectations, the Trump Administration Department of Justice imposed record penalties under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act from 2017 through 2020. But in each of those years, fewer and fewer new FCPA investigations were initiated. We expect the Biden Administration to continue the trend of increasing FCPA enforcement settlement values, while also increasing the pace of initiating new FCPA investigations. Anticorruption matters present some of the most severe threats to a company’s organizational integrity. Understanding the changing enforcement culture is an important component to addressing those threats.
Continue Reading The Next Four Years of FCPA Enforcement: What to Expect From the Biden Administration

One point all can likely agree on in these divisive times is that the Trump Administration’s international trade policy has been aggressive. Over the past four years, we have been clinging to our seats on the rollercoaster ride with some pretty challenging peaks and valleys:

  • Section 301 tariffs on over $370 billion worth of imports from China, under which over $68 billion in total duties have been assessed;[1]
  • Replacement of NAFTA with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA);
  • Withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP); and
  • Imposition of Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs, under which over $9 billion in total duties have been assessed.[2]


Continue Reading Four Ways the Biden Presidency Could Impact Imports, Tariffs, and Trade Agreements

The U.S. Department of Justice has released a series notable advisory opinions outlining how some typical activities of law firms, consultants, and corporate legal departments may require registration under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Some of the more interesting opinions are summarized here:
Continue Reading The Professional Services Firm as Foreign Agent: Notable FARA Advisory Opinions

On Tuesday, May 19, the U.S. Commerce Department published a regulation (effective May 15, 2020) that prohibits sale to Huawei of a microchip made to a Huawei specification, made outside the United States with non-U.S. materials, sent from a foreign country, by a foreign person.

To quote the philosopher, hol’ up.

How is that even possible?
Continue Reading Huawei Whack-A-Mole: The U.S. Takes Another Swing at the Chinese Semiconductor Industry

On May 1, 2020, President Trump issued Executive Order 13920 (“Executive Order”), which prohibited certain transactions involving bulk-power system electric equipment manufactured or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction of a foreign adversary that poses an undue risk of catastrophic effects on the security or resiliency of U.S. critical infrastructure or the national security of the U.S.  The Executive Order poses several potential problems for electric industry participants, particularly renewable generation owners, developers and investors, which will likely cause uncertainty in equipment procurement decisions.  The Executive Order and its potential issues are discussed below.
Continue Reading Securing the U.S. Bulk Power System: An Assessment of Executive Order 13920

Is your company in a high-risk zone? Does it have the following risk characteristics?

Your company imports more than $10 million of goods.
You are mid-market: between $50 million and $2 billion in annual turnover.
Your company has experienced higher than average growth in revenues, personnel, or imports over the past 2 – 10 years.

If your company fits this profile, you may be at an elevated risk of customs violations. Many companies in this high-risk zone have outgrown their customs compliance function. Without knowing it, they may be creating violations and, since the statute of limitations is five years, they may not know about the violations until the government comes knocking on their door years after the fact.
Continue Reading Sick without Symptoms: How Multi-Million Dollar Customs Issues are Ailing U.S. Companies Without Warning

The scenario happens all the time:

Your engineering department has identified a need for more personnel who will work with export-controlled information. Management has approved the hiring, and your Human Resources manager has drafted the job posting.

What could go wrong? Export controls and anti-discrimination laws require employers to navigate an often-overlooked fine line when recruiting and hiring foreign nationals for positions involving export controlled information.


Continue Reading Refresher: How to Comply With U.S. Export Controls and Anti-Discrimination Laws When Recruiting and Hiring Foreign Nationals