Here is a recap of the latest customs and international trade law news:

Russia – Sanctions & Export Controls

  • On February 25, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued a new General License to expand authorizations for commercial and financial transactions in Afghanistan, including with its governing institutions. This aims to ensure that U.S. sanctions do not prevent or inhibit transactions and activities needed to provide aid and support the basic human needs of the people of Afghanistan. In addition, it underscores the U.S. commitment to working with the private sector, international partners and allies, and international organizations to support the people of Afghanistan.
  • On February 24, 2022, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is issuing Russia related Directive 2 and Directive 3 under Executive Order 14024 and Russia-related General License 5, General License 6, General License 7, General License 8, General License 9, General 10, General License 11, and General License 12. OFAC is also issuing Belarus General License 6 and General License 7.
  • On February 25, 2022, the United States continued to impose sanctions on President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov, along with other members of Russia’s Security Council. These sanctions, together with previous actions responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, impose unprecedented diplomatic and economic costs on Russia and isolate it from the global financial system and international community.
  • On March 2, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued new public guidance to cut off avenues for potential sanctions evasion by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation. This guidance makes clear that there should be no loopholes for Russia to evade the unprecedented prohibitions by the United States to lock up Russia’s war chest.
  • On March 2, 2022, the White House released a statement detailing the imposition of additional economic costs on Russia and Belarus in response to President Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. The announced actions include sweeping restrictions on Belarus to choke off its import of technological goods, full blocking sanctions on Russian defense entities, export controls targeting oil refining, targeting entities supporting the Russian and Belarusian Military, and banning Russian aircraft from entering and using domestic U.S. airspace.
  • On March 2, 2022, Changpeng Zhao, founder and chief executive of Binance, one of the world’s biggest crypto-currency exchanges, ruled out restricting ordinary Russians from using the service saying, “We differentiate between the Russian politicians who start wars and the normal people.”, and “Many normal Russians do not agree with war.”.
  • On March 2, 2022, the Ukrainian port city of Kherson became the first key city to fall by Russia, after heavy fighting, since it was invaded a week ago. Its mayor, Igor Kolykhaev, said Russian troops had forced their way into the city council building and imposed a curfew on residents. The capture of Kherson – located on the banks of the Dnieper River where it flows into the Black Sea – is significant because it could allow Russia to create a base for the military there as it seeks to push further inland.
  • On March 3, 2022, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued a final rule implementing sanctions against Russia under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to protect U.S. national security and foreign policy interests. Specifically, these sanctions add new Russia license requirements and licensing policies to the EAR and took effect February 24, 2022.

CBP 

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations officers at the Portal Port of Entry targeted and investigated a rail container destined to arrive in North Dakota, discovering counterfeit entertainment systems that were in violation of intellectual property rights (IPR) regulations. CBP seized 6,464 of the counterfeit entertainment systems with an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $2,068,480 had the goods been genuine.

 

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