After the announcement of Fidel Castro’s death on November 26, 2016, President Barack Obama sent a message to the Cuban people highlighting his administration’s efforts to improve relations between the United States and Cuba. “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him…[T]he Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America,” Obama said.


Continue Reading Negotiation By Tweet: The Uncertain Future of U.S.-Cuba Relations

With fewer than 100 days left in office, President Obama is not slowing down on his efforts to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba. Today, several changes to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR) go into effect. Those changes build on the plan President Obama laid out in December 2014 to increase the means for Americans and Cubans to collaborate in business, education, travel, and humanitarian work. The amendments will strengthen the ties between the two countries, stimulate Cuba’s private sector, create commercial opportunities for both the American and Cuban people, and potentially improve the lives of many Cubans. U.S. companies looking to expand into Cuba should review these changes carefully to identify and develop strategies for growth.

We have included some highlights from the updated regulations below that could significantly  impact your business (or may prompt you to create a new one!). For the full CACR amendments, click here. For the full EAR amendments, click here.


Continue Reading Obama’s Not Slowing Down On Cuba: New Steps Forward Open Doors (and Humidors!) for Collaboration

On January 16, 2016, two NFL playoff games and a historic revision of U.S. foreign policy took place. Many of us enjoyed the first two (did you see that last-second touchdown pass?!) but did not pay close attention as the United States lifted many of its secondary sanctions against Iran. Even those normally attentive to sanctions news had already heard (including by reading and excitedly discussing this blog) that things were not going to change that much for U.S. persons.
Continue Reading Airplanes, Pistachios, and a New Burger Joint in Tehran: What Changes for the United States Under Lighter Iran Sanctions

On Thursday, September 10, 2015, U.S. Senate Democrats cleared a hurdle for the proposed Iran nuclear agreement by blocking a Senate resolution that would have rejected the deal. The result, in which Senate Republicans mustered 58 of the 60 votes needed to break a Democratic filibuster, cleared a major hurdle on the way to implementing the historic agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. As we reported here on July 14, 2015, the United States and the international community agreed in the JCPOA to lift certain sanctions in exchange for Iran’s ceasing its nuclear weapon program. The agreement is the result of negotiations among Iran and the so-called P5+1 (the United States, the UK, China, France, Russia, and the EU). The U.S. Congress was given 60 days to debate the agreement, but President Obama has promised to veto any resolution rejecting the agreement. Now that the Senate resolution has failed, the U.S. House of Representatives is pursuing more creative options, including a potential lawsuit against the President, according to the Washington Post.
Continue Reading Iran Nuclear Deal Clears Senate Obstacle, But Will “Snap-Back” Bite?

On August 30, 2015, the Washington Post broke a story that the Obama administration is developing a package of economic sanctions that will target Chinese companies and individuals who have benefitted from cybertheft. The new sanctions would come at a time when commerce between the two countries is thriving, but political relations are strained.
Continue Reading Keep Your Frenemies Close: Proposed China Sanctions and the Price of Escalation

Today, President Obama announced a landmark agreement with Iran designed to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon in exchange for lifting sanctions that have retarded the country’s development for the decades since the revolution. The agreement is the result of 20 tough months of negotiations among Iran and the so-called P5+1 (the United States, the UK, China, France, Russia, and the EU). As far as we are aware, this is the first time in over forty years that nonproliferation diplomacy has resulted in an enforceable agreement not to develop nuclear weapons. The last four entrants to the nuclear club (India, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea) were not likewise persuaded to cease their development of nuclear weapons. Their nuclear detonation tests in 1974, 1979, 1998, and 2006 respectively signaled the end of negotiations in each case.
Continue Reading A Break From the Past: Historic Deal with Iran Marks A New Day in U.S.-Iran Relations

Cyber threats are one of the U.S.’s top security threats.  In just the past year, there has been a significant increase in the frequency, scale and sophistication of cyber intrusions and attacks – many of them originating overseas – which have targeted U.S. businesses.  On April 1, 2015, the President announced a new tool to combat the most significant cyber threats to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States.  
Continue Reading U.S. Authorizes Targeted Sanctions Against Overseas Cyber Threats