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Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is designating two individuals and five entities that have facilitated weapons procurement for Ansarallah, commonly referred to as the Houthis. OFAC is also designating one individual and one company, as well as identifying one vessel, that have facilitated the shipment of commodities, the sale of which provides an important funding stream to the Houthis that aids in their weapons procurement.

The United States last year imported 3 billion pounds of UCO, half of which came from China – up from a total of 200 million pounds imported in 2020. A bipartisan group of senators is calling on the Biden Administration to address this surge in imports.

The Treasury Department Friday issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to implement Executive Order 14105 of August 9, 2023, “Addressing United States Investments in Certain National Security Technologies and Products in Countries of Concern”. The NPRM builds on the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by Treasury last August and provides the full draft regulations and explanatory discussion regarding the intent of the proposal, and solicits comment from the public

Just in case you're still depending on a Russian vendor for your cybersecurity, the Commerce Department has banned Kaspersky Labs from directly or indirectly providing anti-virus software and cybersecurity products or services in the United States or to U.S. persons. The Final Determination by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is the first of its kind and is the first Final Determination issued by BIS’s Office of Information and Communications Technology and Services (OICTS).  

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM)  signed a US$500 million Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. in a ceremony in Port of Spain, Trinidad June 20. The MOU will develop opportunities and support financing in the "maritime domain awareness, cybersecurity, renewable energy, and water sanitation sectors."  In addition, the bank delivered a  $150 million Letter of Interest to finance "maritime vessels and aircraft in support of its maritime operations."

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is designating a network of two individuals and seven entities that provide major sources of revenue for U.S.-designated Republika Srpska (RS) President Milorad Dodik and his family. Dodik used his official position to direct RS government contracts to a network of private companies that he and Igor oversee. While Igor controls many of the companies in this network, he obfuscates his personal connection to the companies by relying on distinct nominal owners and directors.

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) expects to issue a final rule this Summer revising the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to authorize the release of certain technology and software in the context of standards setting and development in standards organizations. Much of the rulemaking activity was initiated in response to the Huawei sanctions and US firms' continued participation in 5G telecoms standards negotiations.  The Bureau published the interim rule in June of 2020, incorporating comments in a follow on interim rule two years later.

BIS Published the final rule announced last week as part of the Administration's participation in the G7 summit. The bulk of the rule is as displayed last week, though the published version adds additional EAR 99 software to coordinate with allies,

A Canadian national and resident of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), pleaded guilty today to conspiring to send trade secrets that belonged to Tesla Motors. …

The new Iran Foreign Direct Product rules go into effect next month, and the unusual way the rule was imposed may have left some practitioners unprepared.  Enacted by Congress with no input from the Deparetment of Commerce, the provisions of (HR. 6603) introduced by Rep. Nathaniel Moran (R-TX) were included in the massive emergency supplemental appropriation [HR 815] signed into law April 24th.  "This is the first time in the history of Congress that it passed a bill to codify a foreign direct product rule," Mr. Moran's office stated.

The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has imposed a three-year denial order against a Portland, Oregon, package forwarding service prohibiting the firm from from participating in all exports under BIS jurisdiction from the United States. “If a forwarding company – with an entire business model based on exports – fails to implement an adequate compliance program even while subject to a suspended denial order, it should not be able to export items subject to the EAR from the United States,” said Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement Matthew S. Axelrod.

The House of Representatives passed their version of the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act.  The narrow 217 to 199 vote on the normally nonpartisan legislation reflected the last minute addition of a raft of culture war amendments which alienated all but six Democrats.

Coordinator on Global Anti-Corruption Richard Nephew will travel to Montenegro, Lithuania, and Albania June 16-21. Mr. Nephew will visit Podgorica, Montenegro to meet with government officials and civil society representatives. He will then travel to Vilnius, Lithuania on June 18-19, to the opening plenary of the International Anti-Corruption Conference.

 Congressional China hawks called for the Commerce Department to include Chinese drones in evolving regulations for connected vehicles.  "With UAVs’ connected software and hardware posing similar national security threats to those of other identified connected vehicles, such transactions present undue and unacceptable risks to U.S. national security," the lawmakers wrote.

After Chinese fast fashion powerhouse pulled its plans to list shares in the US, Congressional bedevilment persists. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to the U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, informing him of SHEIN’s reported human-rights abuses and exploitation of trade loopholes and the risks these tactics pose to businesses and investors. The letter urges Hunt to investigate SHEIN thoroughly before allowing the company to list on the London Stock Exchange.  

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Trade is hosting a webinar on Thursday, June 20, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. ET titled De minimis: Back to Basics. The webinar will provide an overview of the basic filing requirements and data quality for the importation of de minimis shipments.

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is sanctioning ten individuals, entities, and vessels, including tanker captains, in multiple jurisdictions that have engaged in the illicit transport of oil and other commodities, including for the network of Houthi financial facilitator Sa’id al-Jamal. This action targets maritime shipping and financial facilitators, several vessel managers and owners, and a company involved in forging shipping documents.

A Turkish aviation operator was fined for ferrying passengers into and out of Russia on a US manufactured Gulfstream executive jet without the requisite export license.   The Commerce Department (BIS)  imposed a civil penalty of $285,000 against Sapphire Havacilik San Ltd. STI (Sapphire), an aviation company headquartered in Ankara, Türkiye, to resolve violations of the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 (ECRA). Although the Russian national passengers provided payment to Sapphire through third-party non-Russian charter brokers, such flights into Russia—which were arranged for the benefit of the Russian national or nationals on board—were nevertheless controlled by or under charter or lease by a Russian national.  As such, the relevant flights did not fall within license exception Aircraft, Vessels, and Spacecraft (AVS) and violated Section 764.2(a) of the ECRA.

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned members of one of Guyana’s wealthiest families, Nazar Mohamed and his son, Azruddin Mohamed, their company, Mohamed’s Enterprise, and a Guyanese government official, Mae Thomas , for their roles in public corruption in Guyana. Azruddin and Mohamed’s Enterprise evaded Guyana’s tax on gold exports and defrauded the Guyanese government of tax revenues by under­declaring their gold exports to Guyanese authorities. Between 2019 and 2023, Mohamed’s Enterprise omitted more than 10 thousand kilograms of gold from import and export declarations and avoided paying more than $50 million in duty taxes to the Government of Guyana.

Two men have been indicted and 17 snow machines seized as law enforcement broke up a scheme to ship the equipment to Russia by way of Hong Kong.   Sergey Nefedov, 40, of Anchorage, Alaska, and Mark Shumovich, 35, of Bellevue, Washington, were arrested June 11.  Both are Russian nationals and naturalized US Citizens. According to the indictment, Nefedov and Shumovich told freight forwarders that the snowmachines would be going to Hong Kong, where they knew that a license was not required for export, thereby causing a freight forwarder to provide false information to U.S. authorities by concealing the end user and destination of the snowmachines.

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