In a move aimed at curbing Iran's ballistic missile and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) programs, the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has imposed sanctions on 11 individuals, eight entities, and one vessel spread across Iran, Hong Kong, the People's Republic of China (PRC), and Venezuela. These entities have allegedly supported Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL), or their subordinates in the development and proliferation of missiles and UAVs.

Meetings: Information Systems Technical Advisory Committee Nov 1st 9AM Sensors and Instrumentation Technical Advisory Committee Oct 31, 1PM Emerging Technology Technical Advisory Committee Nov 8 and 9, at 9AM Materials and Equipment Technical Advisory Committee Nov. 16, 10:00 AM Transportation and Related Equipment Technical Advisory Committee, November 15,, 9:30 AM.,

On Tuesday 17 October, the Commerce Department tightened controls over exports of AI-specific semiconductors. This move makes it more challenging for U.S. firms like Nvidia and Intel to market their current products in China or to launch new products as workarounds. Addressing oversights: This step is designed to mend potential oversights in the export regulations declared last year. Those regulations had been met with notable resistance from the international semiconductor sector and increased strains with Beijing.

At the recent Defense Trade Advisory Group Meeting, Timothy A. Betts, the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, presented an overview of the significant developments and accomplishments of the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), as well as the announcement of his replacement by Compliance Director Jae Shin.

Two appeals related to Denial Orders affecting Russian and Turkish Airlines have been denied, one because the TDO had been reversed, and one because the complainant was not named. Pegas Touristik and Southwind Airlines had filed appeals based on the repetitional damage created by Temporary Denial Orders related to Nordwind Airlines, a Moscow-based holiday package carrier, which remains subject to sanctions. Pegas Touristik is the Moscow-based tour operator which has owned 100% of Nordwind Airlines since 2008.   Southwind Airlines was formed in April 2022 in Antalya Turkey by Pegas Touristik in response to the US Sanctions on Nordwind. Despite the distinction, some MRO providers have been reluctant to maintain Southwind's fleet.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s Trade Regulations Branch regularly receives questions regarding who the Ultimate Consignee is in an export transaction. The questions become more complicated when an end user and the Ultimate Consignee are two different entities, and they reside in two different countries. In a two-part posting, Gerry Horner, Chief of the Trade Regulations Branch addresses some of your frequently asked questions on the Ultimate Consignee and the end user based on the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR).

During the December 2022 Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies (WA) Plenary meeting, Participating States of the WA  made certain decisions affecting the WA dual-use and munitions control lists, which BIS is now implementing via amendments to the CCL. BIS seeks comments on restricting STA eligibility for countries in EAR Country Group A:5 of certain technology for the development of supersonic aero gas turbine engine components controlled under ECCN 9E003.k, formerly controlled under ECCN 9E001 as part of its ongoing assessment of current export control licensing policy.

The board of the Export Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) announced the consideration of a long-term loan or financial guarantee in excess of $100 million to Beta Technologies, Inc, a Vermont-based builder of battery-powered aircraft. Beta is building a plant in Burlington VeT and seeking certification from the FAA of its aircraft and manufacturing processes. "The financing will enable the production of electric-powered aircraft, a portion of which is expected to be exported," according to EXIM.  

Ryan Fayhee is a partner at Akin and is a former official and senior prosecutor with the U.S. Justice Department.  During his 11 years in the DOJ, he was a leading prosecutor handling complex cross border investigations and prosecutions affecting the national security and foreign policy of the United States. We sat down with Ryan for his perspective on the DOJ's National Security activities and how they've evolved in recent years.

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is issuing a rule updating the general authorizations for Samsung and SK hynix—companies headquartered in the Republic of Korea (RoK) – for their semiconductor fabrication facilities in the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). Samsung’s and SK hynix’s PRC facilities are Validated End-Users (VEUs). VEUs can apply for, and after national security review and approval by the U.S. government, obtain a general authorization to acquire certain items rather than seeking multiple individual licenses. Today’s rule updates the items that may be exported to these companies under the VEU authorization.

The Price Cap Coalition released a Maritime Safety Advisory, emphasizing responsible trading in the maritime oil industry and compliance with the price caps. The Advisory, which is directed at both government and private sector actors involved in the maritime trade of crude oil and refined petroleum products, provides recommendations concerning specific best practices and reflects our commitment to promoting responsible practices in the industry, preventing and disrupting sanctioned trade, and enhancing compliance with the price cap. 

The Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) is issuing a new ITAR Compliance Risk Matrix, accompanied by a supplemental risk matrix specific to universities. These risk matrices are intended to assist organizations in assessing their level of ITAR compliance risk and assist in the evaluation of potential compliance risks that are specific to each organization and that, if left unaddressed, may lead to ITAR violations. The new risk matrices are available for download on the DDTC website.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri reviewed developments in the Criminal Division's revised enformement policies, citing examples in the department's caseload year to date.  Previously Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Ms. Argentieri assumed her current role in August replacing Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite.  Her remarks were delivered at the American Bar Association 10th Annual London White Collar Crime Institute October 10, 2023.

After being cited twice for unfair labor practices under the USMCA, Troy Michigan-based VU Manufacturing has reportedly closed their automotive components facility in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico.  "[R]ather than comply with the terms of the remediation plan and ensure it is operating consistent with Mexican labor laws, the United States understands that Manufacturas VU has closed the facility and ended operations in Mexico,” read a USTR statement.

The Treasury Department announced it has imposed sanctions on seven individuals and four entities based in Iran, the People’s Republic of China, Russia and Türkiye in connection with Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle and military aircraft development.

Both Florida men arrested this Spring in a scheme to launder funds for the fugitive "Gas King of Ukraine," through a Florida metals service center have entered guilty pleas. John Can Unsalan, president of Orlando-based Metalhouse, LLC, and Sergey Karpushkin, a Belarusian citizen from Miami, and were indicted and arrested in April for engaging in a $150 million scheme to violate U.S. sanctions against Russian oligarch Sergey Kurchenko and his two companies. As set forth in court filings, between July 2018 and October 2021, Unsalan and Karpushkin conspired to transfer over $150 million to Kurchenko and sanctioned companies under Kurchenko’s control.

Global commodity trading powerhouse Trafigura announced the establishment of $400 million revolving credit facilities subsidized by the Export Import Bank of the US (EXIM). Each policy is for $200 million, with a 90 percent guarantee, for a taxpayer exposure of $360 million. The subsidies to Trafigura’s bankers, Citibank and Credit Agricole “could support over 12,000 U.S. jobs,” according to EXIM statements.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen Delivers Remarks on FISA Section 702 Reauthorization at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law. "702 is the foundational authority for our efforts to protect the nation...Section 702 is the law that allows the Intelligence Community (IC) to collect the communications of non-U.S. persons located overseas, who are communicating foreign intelligence information, and who are using U.S. communications services. Unless Congress acts, Section 702 will expire at the end of the year.

The Commerce Department has launched an updated Semiconductor Alert Mechanism to detect supply chain disruptions and bottlenecks. The Semiconductor Alert Mechanism aims to help industry experts at Commerce detect and assess bottlenecks in the semiconductor supply chains and better mobilize and coordinate US government resources to reduce chokepoint risks.

The United States and Mexico today announced Wednesday 4 October resolution to the situation at a Grupo Yazaki auto components facility in León, Mexico.   United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai had requested the Government of Mexico to review the matter under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s (USMCA) Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM).  The Government of Mexico declined the request but "worked with the facility to ensure no ongoing denial of rights was taking place."

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