A report by the House Foreign Affairs Committee highlights shortcomings in the U.S. export control system and calls for reforms, legislative and administrative.   Drawing extensively on the work of former Defense Department Export Control Official Stephen Coonen, the report offers a preview of the reception BIS officials can expect in next week's hearing.

Following Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo’s call for additional funds for the Bureau of Industry and Security – the Department’s enforcement arm for export controls, Republican members of Congress called for a harder line on China first.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee announced the Subcommittee on Oversight and Accountability will convene a hearing entitled, “Reviewing the Bureau of Industry and Security, Part II: U.S. Export Controls in an Era of Strategic Competition” on Tuesday, December 12th.

Tuesday, Republican members of the House Committee on Small Business wrote to Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security Alan Estevez regarding the Bureau of Industry and Security’s …

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is designating 11 entities and seven individuals pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14038 and one individual pursuant to E.O. 14024. This action increases the pressure on Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s authoritarian regime for its suppression of Belarus’s democratic civil society, financial enrichment of the Lukashenka family, and complicity in Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is targeting a network led by Belgian serial offender Hans De Geetere involved in procuring electronics with military applications for Russian end-users. …

The Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, seeks nominations for immediate consideration to fill positions on the Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness (“The Committee”).

The Department of State temporarily modifies the United States Munitions List (USML) Category VIII to accommodate the Korean production of their KF-21 Stealth Fighter. The Department assessed that this temporary modification does not change the export jurisdiction or classification of any existing commodities, as it only prevents the possibility of future release from paragraph (h)(1) due to use in the KF–21, which has not yet entered into production. Therefore, when the KF–21 enters production, any paragraph (h)(1) commodities authorized for export for this purpose will retain their current export classification described in paragraph (h)(1).

The United States will host the 10th session of the Conference of the States Parties (COSP) to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in Atlanta from December 11-15, 2023.

President Biden presided over the first meeting of his newly-created Council on Supply Chain Resilience, formed to prevent the shortages in medical and consumer products that took place during the global pandemic.  His Administration’s efforts to strengthen US supply chains also means more domestic manufacturing and less reliance on imports, the President said. “Today, our supply chains are stronger than ever, with backlogs, bottlenecks, and shipping rates at a 25-year low,” he said. “We've created 14 million new jobs, including 800,000 manufacturing jobs.”

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Luis Miguel Martinez Morales for his role in corruption in Guatemala wherein he engaged in widespread bribery schemes, including schemes related to government contracts. Martinez is the former head of the now-defunct Centro de Gobiernoa powerful quasi-cabinet level agency created by Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei at the start of his administration.  

n a speect to the 40th International Conference on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Justice Department's FCPA Chief announced an anti-bribery initiative to drive cross-border collaboration in fighting foreign bribery. Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole Argentieri's comments included the announcement of the International Corporate Anti-Bribery initiative, or ICAB, which will be driven by three experienced prosecutors, who will build on existing bilateral and multilateral partnerships, as well as form new partnerships.

Defense Chiefs of the AUKUS military-industrial alliance met at the Defense Innovation Unit Headquarters at Moffett Field in  California to discuss progress for the partnership, especially Pillar II, the broad based defense industrial collaboration. The three nations are also establishing an AUKUS Industry Forum with trilateral government and industry representatives to help inform policy, technical and commercial frameworks to facilitate the development and delivery of advanced capabilities. The initial meeting of that forum will occur in the first half of 2024.  In a Joint Statement, the Secretaries and Deputy Prime Minister reaffirmed the three nations' commitment to maximize the strategic and technological advantage of AUKUS .  They agreed that advancing AUKUS requires continued commitment to streamlining defense trade controls and information-sharing while minimizing policy and financial barriers across public and private sectors.

The US Trade Representative’s Office has launched a statutory review of trade in automotive goods under the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement.  As part of its review, USTR seeking public comments and plans to hold a public hearing to receive input from interested stakeholders.  This is the second of five biennial reviews USTR is required to conduct under the USMCA.

Legislation authorizing the Justice Department to more quickly seize high-value assets owned by sanctioned Russian oligarchs and transfer the funds to Ukraine is being sponsored by a bipartisan group of lawmakers. The Asset Seizure for Ukraine Reconstruction Act would allow Justice to seize high-value assets owned by sanctioned Russian oligarchs more quickly through existing administrative forfeiture processes and transfer the proceeds from those assets to assistance for Ukraine.

House China hawks called for an immediate investigation of all Chinese Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) companies to determine whether their activities justify inclusion on US government restricted entities lists.  LiDAR technologies have broad applications in navigation and control, including autonomous systems. "Given the importance of LiDAR, it is crucial to ensure U.S. technology used in foreign LiDAR systems are not being leveraged by our adversaries to create autonomous military vehicles and weapons. Urgent action is also needed to stop LiDAR produced by state-backed entities from foreign adversary countries to proliferate in the U.S. market or gain access to U.S. capital markets or U.S. critical infrastructure systems," the lawmakers wrote.

House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) joined the chorus requesting information related to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s recent decision to cease issuing new export licenses related to certain firearms, firearm components, and ammunition for approximately 90 days to certain countries.

In the event conflict with China warrents further sanctions, the U.S. may find its leverage weaker than desired, according to a new report from the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).   No Winners in This Game: Assessing the U.S. Playbook for Sanctioning China by Emily Kilcrease illuminates the severe constraints on U.S. sanctioning capabilities, particularly if the United States attempts to act unilaterally without key partners.  …

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board sanctioned PwC China and PwC Hong Kong for violating PCAOB quality control standards related to integrity and personnel management. Both firms failed to detect or prevent extensive, improper answer sharing on tests for mandatory internal training courses. The PCAOB also sanctioned the accounting firm Haoxin and four of its associated persons for violations of the U.S. securities laws and PCAOB rules and standards in connection with the audits of the 2015-2017 financial statements of Gridsum Holding Inc.

Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released proposed guidance on the clean vehicle provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Today’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NRPM) provides clarity and certainty around the IRA’s foreign entity of concern (FEOC) requirements.  Beginning in 2024, an eligible clean vehicle may not contain any battery components that are manufactured or assembled by a FEOC, and, beginning in 2025, an eligible clean vehicle may not contain any critical minerals that were extracted, processed, or recycled by a FEOC.

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