Global Trade Law Blog

Timely Updates and Analysis on Key International Trade Law Issues

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Updated as of March 3, 2022
Key Takeaways of EU and UK Recent Actions Against Russia and Ukraine Breakaway Regions

  • The EU adopted sanctions restrictions targeting financial institutions, other entities, and individuals, and imposing territorial restrictions on Donetsk and Luhansk. The sanctions also include broad export restrictions to Russia detailed below.
  • In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised and adopted a “massive package of economic sanctions” including asset freeze restrictions; potential exclusion of Russian banks from the UK financial system, including preventing access by such banks to GBP and clearing services in the UK; and dual-use export restrictions


Continue Reading Russian Risk: Transactions with Russian Banks and Exports to Russia Create Greatest Exposure Under New EU and UK Ukraine-Related Sanctions

Updated as of February 25, 2022
Key Takeaways

  • On February 21, 2022, the White House issued a new Executive Order (EO) that imposes comprehensive sanctions on the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) regions of Ukraine (collectively the “Covered Regions”). These sanctions appear to be modelled on those imposed on Crimea since late 2014 under Executive Order 13685 (EO 13685).
  • In parallel, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published six general licenses (GLs) authorizing certain transactions involving the Covered Regions.
  • The EU has also announced similar measures with respect to those breakaway regions.


Continue Reading U.S., UK and EU Sanctions Over the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) Regions of Ukraine

  • BIS added 33 Chinese companies to the Unverified List.
  • The UVL places lesser restrictions designees than an Entity List or Sanctions designation
  • BIS may not have been able to verify the entities because of new Chinese laws restricting compliance with extraterritorial laws; creating a potential conflict of laws for these and other companies.


Continue Reading Verify, Then Trust: Commerce Adds 33 Parties in China to Unverified List

Key Takeaways

  • The proposed regulation would arm the EU with a counterstrike capability if non-EU countries take economic action against a Member State.
  • Where a Member State is subject to economic interferences from non-EU states that affect its legitimate sovereign choices.
  • The European Commission to take some or all of the following measures against the interfering state:
    • Impose tariffs;
    • Implement quotas;
    • Restrict access to EU financial markets; or
    • Reduce intellectual property protections[1]


Continue Reading Arming for a Trade War: The EU Proposes an Unprecedented Anti-Coercion Regulation

Today, in a rare demonstration of bipartisanship, the U.S. Senate passed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (the “Act”) – the text of which was a compromise between Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Representative Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) – which had already passed the house on Tuesday of this week. Over the years, including most recently in February 2021 (see our post here), we’ve seen different attempts from both chambers to pass legislation prohibiting the imports of goods from Xinjiang or the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (“XUAR”) – a region in China where, per the U.S. Department of Labor and
Continue Reading The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act: Congress Finally Takes Action

With Russian forces massing at the Ukrainian border, the U.S. and EU have been warning of severe economic sanctions. While we wait and watch this brinksmanship play out, it is worth considering how businesses, and particularly banks, might prepare for what comes next.
Continue Reading A Ruble Without a Cause: What Economic Sanctions on Russia May Mean for Your Business and Global Finance

How do you tackle the complicated and often seemingly insurmountable problem of human rights abuses around the world? The U.S. Government typically uses a variety of tools: diplomatic efforts, international aid, sanctions, import restrictions on forced labor – the whole carrot-and-stick universe. Enter… Export Controls.
Continue Reading The Intersection of Export Controls and Human Rights: Combating the Misuse of Technologies to Curb Human Rights Abuses

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action last Monday, November 8, 2021, and sanctioned a Latvia-based exchange, Chatex, its associated support network, and two ransomware operators for facilitating financial transactions for ransomware actors. In total, OFAC designated Chatex and 57 cryptocurrency addresses (associated with digital wallets) as Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs). OFAC took this action pursuant to Executive Order 13694, issued in 2015, which provides broad sanctions authority to address the national security threat posed by malicious cyber-actors outside the United States.
Continue Reading OFAC Enforcement Impacts NFTs: As Crypto Enforcement Ramps Up to Combat Ransomware, Robust Compliance is Key

Background

Last Friday, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published more targeted guidance for digital asset companies related to compliance with sanctions and best practices for mitigating risks. This guide comes on the heels of OFAC’s first enforcement action against a cryptocurrency exchange, SUEX (which we discussed in our blog here). Given the rise of ransomware threats from malicious cyber-actors that are often linked to sanctioned countries and persons, the lack of very robust regulatory oversight of the virtual currency world, the emerging nature of the technologies, and the growth of the market, it is clear that OFAC
Continue Reading Sanctions Compliance for Crypto: OFAC Issues Guidance Targeting Virtual Currency Industry

If your company is like many, your board of directors may be demanding that you put more effort into environmental, social, and governance issues, which have become known by the now-ubiquitous acronym “ESG.” Those demands don’t come from nowhere: consumers are demanding transparency and social responsibility. In particular, if your company does business internationally, regulators are focused on international social justice issues (such as the use of forced labor) more than ever.
Continue Reading Does Your Trade Policy Support Your Company’s Values?

Today, the United States Trade Representative issued a notice informing the importing community about a new Section 301 exclusion process and seeking comments from affected importers. The comment period begins on October 12, 2021, and ends on December 1, 2021.
Continue Reading Exclusions 2.0. The USTR Announces a New Section 301 Exclusion Process for Chinese Products

Companies are putting forth more effort, thought, commitment, and resources into environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) considerations across their business lines. The focus of ESG has primarily centered around climate change and sustainability, but the “S” in ESG is becoming increasingly important to consumers and other stakeholders. As global corporate citizens become more vocal about asserting their identity and values, it is critical to think about how their global trade and compliance policies and supply chains reflect those values. Issues like forced labor in the supply chain, third party diligence, and how to build an ethical culture are part
Continue Reading ESG, Global Trade, and Forced Labor: Aligning Compliance with Company Values

Yesterday, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions on SUEX OTC, S.R.O, a cryptocurrency exchange, for its role in laundering money to ransomware attackers. According to OFAC, SUEX facilitated criminal transactions involving at least eight ransomware variants and 40% of SUEX’s known transaction history involved bad actors. The designation of SUEX is the first time OFAC has sanctioned a virtual currency platform – and this approach may prove to be a useful regulatory tool to make malicious cyberactivity less profitable and therefore deter cyber-criminals. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the government is “committed to using the
Continue Reading First OFAC Sanctions Against a Cryptocurrency Exchange: Could the Designation of SUEX Signal an Enforcement Trend to Combat Cybercrime?

Internet platform providers rely upon developers of applications to populate their application stores.  Some platform providers mandate app developers to use the platform’s in-app purchasing system as a condition to sell the apps on the platform.  There have also been commission charges as high as 30% imposed on digital goods or services sold through their stores.  The temptation to use their enormous leverage to gain further economic advantage is understandable, but governments, not to mention app developers, have taken an increasingly dim view of this behavior.  A number of countries are considering legislation to prohibit such mandates by Internet platform
Continue Reading Legislatures Can Free App Developers from Platform Providers’ Mandates to Use Their In-App Purchasing Systems Without Violating WTO Principles

This is the second of three articles on the Solar Industry and Forced Labor. Here we focus on interactions with solar module suppliers. Our first article in the series focused on regulations in this area, and our next will focus on investors and their requirements.
Continue Reading Clean Energy’s Messy Problem II: The Solar Industry, I͟t͟s͟ S͟u͟p͟p͟l͟i͟e͟r͟s, and the Complex Task of Combatting Forced Labor