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The laws and regulations governing international trade are especially complex and can be overwhelming for companies doing business across national borders. The rapidly expanding global marketplace, however, has made compliance more important than ever. Failure to heed these laws can have serious and lasting consequences as dire as criminal charges against the company and individual employees.

The International Trade Law Compass is a blog that offers a steady stream of updates on a broad range of international trade issues, including customs/import compliance, export controls and sanctions, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and cross-border contracts.

Recent Blog Posts

  • Gray Market Distributor Challenges CBP’s Grant of Protection to Duracell In a recent post, we discussed the lawsuit brought by battery behemoth Duracell against a company that it was importing “gray market” versions of its copper-topped products. In that action, Duracell has argued that the warranty that comes with its U.S. batteries is ten times longer than the warranty that comes with the batteries that Duracell sells to electronic manufacturers and which the defendant sought to import.  Accordingly, Duracell argued that this material difference in the warranty should permit it... More
  • U.S. Investigation of Steel Flanges from China and India   On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Commerce began its preliminary phase antidumping and countervailing duty investigations pursuant to the Tariff Act of 1930. The Department of Commerce is looking into whether the imports of stainless steel flanges from China and India, which are alleged to be sold in the U.S. at less than fair value and alleged to be subsidized by the Chinese and Indian governments, are materially injuring the U.S. industry. The U.S. antidumping law imposes special tariffs to counteract... More
  • Second Circuit Limits FCPA Enforcement Tools In its recent decision in United States v. Allen, 16-cr-898, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that testimony which is compelled pursuant to laws of foreign jurisdictions violates the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when used as part of a U.S. prosecution.  The ruling may have a far-reaching impact on the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which often rely on evidence obtained by foreign investigators. In US v. Allen, the defendants were accused of... More
  • OFAC Settles Iran Sanctions Claims On Thursday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced a $415,350 settlement agreement with COSL Singapore Ltd. (“COSL”). The parties settled a potential civil liability claim for 55 apparent violation of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 560 (ITSR), which took place between October 2011 and February 2013. COSL is a Singapore-based subsidiary of a Chinese oil field service company. It has several offshore drilling oil rigs and enters into charter agreements... More
  • Renegotiation of NAFTA Can Start This Week President Trump can officially begin renegotiating NAFTA tomorrow, August 16th. The negotiation process can only start 90 days after President Trump officially notified Congress of this intention, which took place on May 18th. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) became law in 1994. NAFTA is a comprehensive trade agreement that sets the rules of trade and investment between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. NAFTA created one of the world’s largest free trade zones. Pursuant to the deal, each NAFTA country... More
  • NAFTA and Natural Gas On the firm’s Energy Law Today blog, Fox Partner Mark V. Santo discusses the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its potential impact on the natural gas trade between the U.S. and Mexico. Copyright: antartis / 123RF Stock Photo “Mexico imports nearly all of its natural gas from the U.S. and exports to Mexico are expected to double by 2019, with Texas fields being the primary source. At least 17 pipelines currently carry four billion cubic feet of... More
  • Trump Administration Tightens Cuba Sanctions Co-Author, Santos Ramos On June 16, 2017, President Trump announced changes to United States’ Cuban sanctions regime which will stem the tide of liberalization that Obama Administration set in motion 2014. While the regulatory changes have not yet taken effect, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) released updated its online resources to reflect the Trump Administration’s forthcoming changes.  Most notably, under the announced changes, individual “people-to-people” travel will no longer be permitted and any trade or business... More
  • New Sanctions Despite Iran’s Compliance with the JCPOA Last week the Trump administration announced new Iran-related sanctions imposed against 18 Iranian entities and individuals. The sanctions are the administration’s response to Iran’s ballistic missile program and destabilizing actions in the region. The actions of the administration were taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13382, which targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery by freezing the assets of those proliferators, as well as E.O. 13581, which blocks the property of transnational criminal organizations. The U.S. Department... More
  • NRC Investigations Prove Useful Zachary Feldman writes: Copyright: Yulia Glam / 123RF Stock Photo What Is the NRC and Who Does It Regulate? For those corporations that create, sell, and distribute goods with traces of radioactive materials, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is the governing agency. Smoke detectors, clocks, fertilizer, lanterns, and even glass can be subject to regulation depending on the chemical composition of the items. Congress created the NRC as an independent agency in 1974 to ensure the safe use of radioactive materials for... More
  • Indictments Against Shipping Executives Demonstrate DOJ’s Commitment to Individual Accountability Almost one year ago, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Norwegian Shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics AS (WWL) had agreed to pay a $98.9 million fine for its role in a conspiracy to control prices for roll-on, roll-off cargo (such as cars, trucks, and agricultural equipment) shipped to and from the United States.  At the time, the DOJ acknowledged that, in addition to the fine, WWL was cooperating in ongoing investigations and affirmed the Department’s commitment to holding “companies and... More