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
- Treasury’s Final FIRRMA Regulations: New Foreign Investment Restrictions in Tech, Infrastructure and Data Starting Feb. 13, 2020, U.S. companies in tech, infrastructure and data seeking minority or controlling foreign investment will require approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) before closing certain transactions. The change stems from the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (FIRRMA), which was signed into law by President Donald Trump in 2018, expanding CFIUS’ jurisdiction to review certain foreign acquisitions of and investments in U.S. businesses on the grounds of national security. On... More
- Apple’s Lesson: Screening Software Alone Won’t Prevent Export Violations Apple Inc.’s recent settlement with the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has exposed a potentially costly wrinkle in complying with international trade regulations. While sanctions screening technologies may help a company catch and report errors, this software alone will not absolve faults and shortcomings in a company’s overall export compliance programs. The compliance woes at Apple serve as a signal to businesses of all sizes that rely on third-party sanction screening software. Ultimately, it’s not one technology but a... More
- Certain Transactions with the Government of Venezuela are Authorized On November 5, 2019 the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued two General Licenses (GLs) authorizing specific transactions involving the Government of Venezuela and categories of persons blocked by Executive Order 13884 (E.O. 13884). E.O. 13884 was signed by President Donald Trump earlier this year on August 5, 2019. E.O 13884 was intended to increase pressure on the Nicolas Maduro regime by blocking property and property interests of the Government of Venezuela under U.S. jurisdictions and authorizing the U.S. Treasury... More
- USMCA…maybe next year? Now that Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has dissolved Parliament and called for a general election (to be held October 21), chances of seeing the USMCA ratified by all three member states this year has become an increasingly remote possibility. However, the good news for USMCA supporters is that NAFTA’s replacement continues to enjoy support in Canada in both the Conservative and Liberal parties. In fact Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservative party, has announced that he would support ratification of... More
- New Foreign Investment Restrictions on the Horizon in Tech, Infrastructure and Data U.S. companies in tech, infrastructure and data seeking foreign investment will require approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) before closing certain transactions. Last year, President Trump signed into law the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (FIRRMA), which outlined the expansion of CFIUS jurisdiction to review certain foreign acquisitions and investments in U.S. businesses on grounds of national security. FIRRMA left the specifics to regulations to be passed by the U.S. Department... More
- US/China Trade War Escalates On Friday, August 23, the Trump Administration announced an increase in Section 301 tariffs following China’s announcement of retaliatory tariffs targeting $75 billion of US goods. The announcement, which came by way of tweet, provided that Section 301 tariffs on all List 1 through 3 goods would be elevated from 25% to 30% effective October 1. In addition, the administration announced that tariffs on List 4 goods-the first tranche of which goes into effect at 12:01 am EST on September... More
- Will USMCA become a casualty of the US election? Though the USMCA has been ratified by Mexico, the trade agreement still faces a vote in Canada and, perhaps more concerning, the US. Under the Trade Promotion Authority (“TPA”), both houses of US Congress must vote in favor of the implementing bill, which is expected to be submitted to Congress after September 1. Submission of the implementing legislation operates to start the 90-day clock for Congressional approval. Accordingly and assuming the implementing bill is submitted as anticipated, passage of the... More
- What Do CBP’s Proposed New Verification Requirements Mean for Customs Brokers? In an August 14, 2019 Notice of Proposed Rule Making, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) announced its intent to increase requirements on licensed customs brokers to verify the identity of the importers with whom they transact. CBP reports that each year, approximately 350,000 importers actively engage with CBP through almost 2,100 licensed customs brokers. Ensuring that each of these importers is a legitimate entity and not, for instance, a shell corporation used to evade customs enforcement or support enemies of... More
- USTR Announces Delays to Portions of Section 301 List 4 On August 13, the Trump Administration announced the “next steps” in implementation of the approximately $300 billion in additional tariffs set to go into effect September 1. This fourth round of Section 301 tariffs (known as “List 4”) was originally announced on May 17; however, the USTR has now modified and separated that list into List 4A and List 4B. Several products (25 tariff lines in total) were removed from the lists following the public comment and hearing process on... More
- Recent CFIUS Enforcement Hints at Its Priority Industries and Concerns The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)* recently cleared several investments and acquisitions involving foreign actors, giving businesses a small glimpse into which investment characteristics the interagency committee may be favoring in its clearance process. With last year’s passage of the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA), the scope of CFIUS’s oversight has expanded and the committee has become more frequently involved in acquisitions and investments by foreign actors. Earlier this year, CFIUS flexed its new muscles... More