Trade Remedy/Enforcement

In early August 2018, after it was determined that the Russian government was involved in an attempt to assassinate UK citizen Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal with the use of a Novichok nerve agent, the U.S. Department of State (State Department) ruled under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 that the Russian government had used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law. In an August 27, 2018 Federal Register notice, the U.S. government announced its sanctions in response, which became effective that date:

  • Foreign Assistance: Termination of assistance to Russia under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, except for urgent humanitarian assistance and food or other agricultural commodities or products.
  • Termination of Arms Sales: Termination of (a) sales to Russia under the Arms Export Control Act of any defense articles, defense services or design and construction services; and (b) licenses for the export to Russia of any item on the United States Munitions List.
  • Termination of Arms Sales Financing: Termination of all foreign military financing for Russia under the Arms Export Control Act.
  • Denial of U.S. Government Credit or Other Financial Assistance: Denial to Russia of any credit, credit guarantees, or other financial assistance by any department, agency or instrumentality of the U.S. government, including the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
  • Exports of National Security-Sensitive Goods and Technology: Prohibition on the export to Russia of any goods or technology on that part of the control list established under Section 2404(c)(1) of the Appendix to Title 50.

Continue Reading Department of State Imposes Additional Sanctions on Russia

As reported by Law360 this week, a California federal judge struck down a food additive exporter’s attempt to throw out claims saying it had smuggled glycine into the United States from China without paying more than $11 million in required duties, calling the exporter’s use of the Fifth Amendment “both a sword and shield.”

View the article: Glycine Exporter Can’t Dodge $11M Smuggling Scheme Claim

In connection with President Donald Trump’s May 8, 2018 decision to cease U.S. participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and to re-impose all sanctions lifted or waived in connection with the JCPOA, the president has issued a new Iran-related Executive Order, “Reimposing Certain Sanctions With Respect to Iran.” This completes the first of two wind-down periods for the re-imposition of certain Iranian sanctions. The terms in the Executive Order are effective at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on August 7, 2018. In addition, certain wind-down general licenses that allowed limited continued actions involving Iran will expire at 11:59 p.m. EDT on August 6, 2018. Continue Reading U.S. Treasury Re-Imposes Certain JCPOA-Related Sanctions on Iran

On July 13, 2018, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security issued an order terminating the April 15, 2018 Denial Order against Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd. (collectively, ZTE). The order confirms that ZTE paid the $1 billion penalty and complied with the requirement of depositing $400 million in a U.S. bank escrow account. This $1.4 billion amount was in addition to the $892 million in penalties ZTE paid under its earlier settlement agreement for U.S. export law violations that occurred when it supplied telecommunications equipment to North Korea and Iran.

In a brief statement, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross stated, “While we lifted the ban on ZTE, the Department will remain vigilant as we closely monitor ZTE’s actions to ensure compliance with all U.S. laws and regulations … Three interlocking elements – a suspended denial order, the $400 million in escrow, and a compliance team selected by and answerable to the Department – will allow the Department to protect U.S. national security.”

As reported in a Trump and Trade Update dated June 8, 2018, the Department of Commerce reached a superseding settlement agreement with Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation of Shenzhen, China (ZTE Corporation) and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd. of Hi-New Shenzhen, China (ZTE Kangxun) (collectively, ZTE) to remove the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) denial order imposed as a result of ZTE’s violations of its March 2017 settlement agreement. BIS has now published the superseding settlement agreement. Continue Reading ZTE Corporation Moves Closer to Removal of Denial Order

President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un issued a joint statement at the conclusion of their summit in Singapore in which both countries committed to further negotiations and future cooperation for the development of new relations between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In the statement, Trump committed “to provide security guarantees” to North Korea, and Kim reaffirmed “his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

In a post-summit press conference, Trump stated that his meeting with Kim “was honest, direct, and productive … Today is the beginning of an arduous process. Our eyes are wide open, but peace is always worth the effort, especially in this case.” He added that all U.S. sanctions toward North Korea will remain in effect until “the nukes are no longer a factor.”

On June 7, 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation of Shenzhen, China (ZTE Corporation) and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd. of Hi-New Shenzhen, China (ZTE Kangxun) (collectively, ZTE) had agreed to additional penalties and compliance measures to replace Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) denial order imposed as a result of ZTE’s violations of its March 2017 settlement agreement. On April 15, 2018, BIS activated the suspended denial order against ZTE after learning that ZTE had not disciplined numerous employees responsible for the violations that led to the settlement agreement. Instead, ZTE rewarded those employees with bonuses. With the imposition of the denial order by BIS, ZTE announced in early May 2018 that all major operating activities of the company had ceased as a result of the denial order. On May 13, 2018, President Trump, against the advice of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials, announced that “President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!” Continue Reading Department of Commerce Announces Sanctions Deal with China’s ZTE, but Will Congress Block It?

The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has sanctioned 21 entities determined by the U.S. government to be acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. BIS has taken this action to ensure the efficacy of existing sanctions on the Russian Federation (Russia) for violating international law and fueling the conflict in eastern Ukraine. These entities have been placed on the BIS Entity List, which identifies entities and other persons that are subject to specific license requirements for the export, reexport and/or transfer (in-country) of specified items. Engaging in transactions with any of these entities now entails additional export licensing requirements and approval from BIS. The license review policy for each listed entity is identified in the License Review Policy column on the Entity List.