- Semiconductors are the only commodity that are as ubiquitous and as heavily regulated.
- Semiconductors are unique: nothing so common is as tightly controlled, and nothing so tightly controlled is as common.
- But this puts the industry in an extremely complex position.
- Other industries may ask . . . are we next?
On November 21, 2023, the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced its largest settlement in history with the virtual currency exchange Binance. This almost-billion dollar settlement is a part of a larger comprehensive settlement with the Department of Justice, FinCEN, and the CFTC, totaling over $4 billion. OFAC found that Binance had allowed 1.6 million transactions in violation of multiple sanctions regimes while Binance’s C-Suite was complicit. Binance’s blunders that led to this enforcement action highlight the importance of management commitment to compliance programs.…
Continue Reading Binance’s Paper Compliance Program Crumples Under OFAC Scrutiny in Largest OFAC Settlement in History
In 1947, then President Harry Truman pledged that the United States would support any nation in its efforts to resist Communism and prevent its spread. The policy was commonly called, “Containment,” capturing the concept that countries aligned with U.S. policy would surround the Soviet Union and its allies, containing the spread of their ideologies. The policy was maintained as doctrine and a guiding principle in U.S. policy throughout the Cold War era.
Continue Reading China Semiconductor Export Regulations, Episode IV – “Technological Containment” – U.S. Semiconductor Restrictions Aim to Align Allies with U.S. Policy
- Advanced Computing and Supercomputing ECCNs are expanded.
- Controls applied to exports to countries other thanChina; countries from where items may be reexported to China.
- Chipmaking equipment controls are expanded and the de minimis rule reduced.
- New entities are added to the U.S. Entity List with the Footnote 4 (FN4) FDPR designation.
- More U.S.-person activity is controlled.
On August 9, 2023, President Biden issued an Executive Order (E.O.) ordering the issuance of outbound investment restrictions. This E.O. comes after nearly a year of anticipation (as we have documented on several occasions over the past year). This is the start of the reverse Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) process that has been mostly speculation (and blog articles) until yesterday. In conjunction, the Treasury Department issued a press release, fact sheet, and Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) seeking comments from the public on the proposed restrictions by September 28.
Continue Reading Reverse CFIUS Unveiled: Focus on China, Semiconductors, Artificial Intelligence, and Quantum Computing
The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) announced on July 21, 2023 they will publish a revised version of Form I-9 on August 1, 2023. DHS also announced an enhanced remote verification flexibility using video for E-Verify employers, both for clean-up of I-9s created during the pandemic and going forward.
Continue Reading DHS Announces New Form I-9 and Remote Verification for E-Verify Employers
On March 31, 2023, the U.S. Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released proposed guidance clarifying how manufacturers may meet the critical minerals and battery sourcing requirements for the clean vehicle tax credit under the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (“IRA”). The IRA substantially modified the tax credit incentive structure of the Internal Revenue Code as it relates to electric vehicles (“EV”). As the demand for lithium and critical minerals is higher than ever, taxpayers and EV manufacturers alike have been eagerly anticipating this guidance.
Continue Reading Tax Credits for Electric Vehicle Batteries Under the Inflation Reduction Act: Free Trade Agreement Edition
On June 23, 2023, the EU released its 11th package of sanctions on Russia. This package is designed to improve enforcement with new anti-circumvention rules, new trade restrictions, and new designations. The anti-circumvention rules are quite a novel aspect and could result in the first extraterritorial reach of European sanctions.
Continue Reading The EU’s 11th Sanctions Package: The Long(er) Arm of the Law
The United States and its allies are aiming to choke off the supplies that support the last vestiges of Russian industry. On May 19, 2023, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) released new regulations implementing additional restrictions under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) as well as corrections and clarifications on existing controls for Russia and Belarus. Those additions build on recent export control regulations issued on February 24, 2023 (which we discuss here) and significantly expand controls over items that can be used in even basic electronics and manufacturing. The new regulations continue BIS’s push to leave…
Continue Reading Everything but the Kitchen Sink (and Maybe That Too!): New Export Controls on Russia Cover Whole Categories of Low-Level Commercial Electronic and Mechanical Equipment
Between Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and growing U.S. tensions with China, U.S. export controls are in the spotlight like never before. As if regulators have not already made it clear enough, recent statements and actions indicate that the enforcement crosshairs are squarely on the semiconductor industry.
Continue Reading Watching the Detectives: Export Control Enforcement Trends Upward
On May 16, 2023, President Joseph Biden vetoed the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would have nullified the temporary moratorium on the collection of antidumping and countervailing (AD/CVD) duties on imports of certain solar cells and modules from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. See House Joint Resolution (H.J. Res.) 39.
Continue Reading Biden Veto Maintains Solar Tariff Moratorium
Recently, the Department of Commerce issued a memo, emphasizing that “technology protection is a core national security priority” and how companies that choose not to disclose significant violations of export regulations may have to bear concrete costs for non-disclosure. This memo highlights the continued focus to control U.S. technology security breaches, especially in the semiconductor and advanced computing industries.
Continue Reading Technology Protection is a Core National Security Priority: BIS Strengthens Its Policy on Disclosures
When can an employer use the “national security exception” under U.S. anti-discrimination law to make a hiring decision based on the national origin of the candidate? An often overlooked area of compliance is how to comply with anti-discrimination law when the job will include access to export-controlled data.
Continue Reading Don’t Let the Government Name, Shame, and Fine You – Export Controls Do NOT Excuse Hiring Discrimination
On March 31, 2023, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced a $72,230.32 settlement agreement with Uphold HQ Inc. (Uphold), a global multi-asset digital trading platform, in connection with 152 apparent violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, and Executive Order (E.O.) 13884. OFAC continues to focus on the virtual currency ecosystem which we have discussed here (Kraken) and here (Bittrex). This settlement provides another look at important compliance considerations for companies operating in the digital asset industry and a few practical tips.
Continue Reading OFAC Finds Digital Assets Trading Platform in Violation of Sanctions
On March 2, 2023, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco delivered remarks to the ABA’s National Institute on White Collar Crime. Unsurprisingly, her remarks focused heavily on inspiring a culture of compliance – including highlighting the DOJ’s new policy to incentivize companies to self-report criminal activity (which our Organizational Integrity Group discusses here). But, her remarks also emphasized an emerging priority for DOJ enforcement: the intersection of corporate crime and national security.
Continue Reading “Sanctions Are The New FCPA”: DOJ Increases Focus on Sanctions and Export Control Enforcement
- Outbound investment rules may require notification, but there is less risk of transactions being blocked by regulators.
- Investments in advanced semiconductors in China may still be subject to being blocked.
- The required notification, review, and possible restriction still represents a massive increase (from almost nothing) in regulation on outbound investments.
- Increases in the scope and powers of the reviewers may follow in future regulations or legislation.