The other day I spoke to a colleague at the U.S. Department of the Treasury who works in the Office of Investment Security and said, “I heard CFIUS filings were going to break last year’s record total.” He just laughed. He said the OIS received one hundred and seventy-some filings in 2016, the most they had ever received in a year.

This year, only in November, they were over 225 submissions!

Of course, all of this was just talk and should not be relied on for statistical analysis. But it gives you a good idea of the flood of CFIUS filings that the Committee is now tasked with reviewing. While my contact was sanguine on the possibility of adding some new folks soon to his office soon, he noted that the OIS staff – whom he called the best of the best – has not yet been increased to meet the surge in demand.

So what does this mean for your inbound investment into the United States? We explore that question and provide a few tips below. In addition to a present snapshot of CFIUS, we have a look at the future of CFIUS as a proposed Senate bill aims to increase scrutiny on foreign investment.
Continue Reading The Waiting Game: When, Why, and How to File with CFIUS in a New Era of Investment Scrutiny

The Trump Administration has made good on its promise to cut back on the liberalized Cuban policy implemented by the Obama Administration with a new regime that introduces new travel restrictions as well as broad prohibitions on “direct financial transactions” between persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and parties on a new Cuban Restricted List (CRL) that has been published by the State Department.
Continue Reading Retrenchment on Cuban Sanctions; The Search for a Middle Ground

On September 11, 2017, the UN Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea. The move came only days after Pyongyang launched an underground nuclear test that may have been the detonation of a hydrogen bomb. The American Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, announced the new sanctions by declaring that “today, we are saying the world will never accept a nuclear armed North Korea.”
Continue Reading North Korea Sanctions Continue to Intensify

On July 27, 2017, the U.S. Congress sent to President Trump’s desk a bill that imposes new financial sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea. It appears nearly certain that the president will sign that bill, now called the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (CAATSA). Edit: President Trump signed the bill on August 2, 2017.
Continue Reading In the Chaos of (Trade) War, Where Does Your Company Find Peace?

In our last post, we made a few cocky predictions about the new Trump Administration’s Cuba policy. We correctly asserted that the President would try to chart a narrow course between the Scylla of conservative Cuban-American expectations for an outright return to the embargo and the Charybdis of U.S. interests (business, strategic, and cultural) in improving Cuban relations. But how did our more substantive predictions fare? Okay, it’s a little hard to tell from the President’s actual speech, which was not full of policy detail. Fortunately, there is the Department of Treasury, whose overworked, understaffed Office of Foreign Assets Control provided a helpful FAQ page, and the White House staff, who produced a fact sheet on the new policy. In any event, nothing is final until OFAC issues regulations to implement the new policy.
Continue Reading Our Cuba Sanctions Predictions: How Did We Do?

On April 3, 2017, the UK Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) announced new penalties for economic sanctions violations of £1 Million or 50% of the value of the transaction, whichever is higher. As a result, this new detective has a powerful new enforcement tool, and it may be taking notes from the aggressive U.S. sanctions enforcers.
Continue Reading A New Sleuth in Britain: The UK Quietly Empowers a Sanctions Enforcement Office

On January 10, 2017, Senate Republicans and Democrats introduced bi-partisan legislation called the “Countering Russian Hostilities Act of 2017,” which would impose broad sanctions on Russia. The Act would codify the sanctions President Obama imposed in response to the Russian cyberattack on the United States to influence the 2016 U.S. Presidential election and the Ukraine-related sanctions President Obama issued in 2014. Importantly, the legislation introduces beefed up economic sanctions against Russia’s energy and financial sectors.
Continue Reading The Future of Russia Sanctions: The Awkward Edition

  • A President Trump will have authority to reinstate sanctions lifted by the Iran Nuclear Deal as well as revoke certain authorizations provided for business with Iran.
  • Several economic and geopolitical factors may cause Mr. Trump to reconsider or mitigate his approach to the Iran Nuclear Deal.
  • Companies should prepare to respond quickly to any changes.

Maybe you’ve seen it before, the series of characters that represents upsetting the whole game, flipping the table:

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

These days, where words fail, we have emojis.  And here they describe what a President Trump may do to the carefully planned Iran Nuclear Deal. One year after the implementation of the Iran Nuclear Deal (much discussed, at least in our blog), Mr. Trump will take office. At that time, we will see whether his campaign rhetoric against Iran becomes policy action or whether it will be tempered by geopolitical and business realities.


Continue Reading The Table Flip: Trump, the Iran Nuclear Deal, and American Business

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