Insight on Last 6 Months of Biden/Congress on Trade

A lot has happened in the first 6 months of the Biden administration. Notable developments include (at least temporary) resolutions in the large civil aircraft and digital service tax disputes, consensus around a global minimum corporate tax of 15%, lawsuits pertaining to Section 232, increased export controls enforcement, shifting U.S. policy stances on Cuba, and more. However, the most important developments pertain to the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. The U.S. and China are engaged in ongoing negotiations while tensions have risen, a lawsuit challenging Trump’s imposition of 301 tariffs are underway, and a massive U.S. competitiveness bill is being considered in Congress that could bring back broad China tariff exclusions. Join us for a jam-packed hour where we discuss everything that has happened in the world of U.S. trade policy over the past 6 months, and provide insight into how Biden’s trade policies affect industry.

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Do’s and Don’ts of Filing a Commodity Jurisdiction Request

An Introduction to Export Controls

Over 95% of the world’s consumers are outside of the United States. Opportunities abound for U.S. companies that export. However, exporting is a privilege and not a right. U.S. exporters have an important responsibility to adhere to U.S. export control laws, including the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”), and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”). Violations of export control laws carry hefty civil and criminal penalties. Exporters can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties, lose export privileges, and even be imprisoned for violations of U.S. export control laws.

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OFAC Sanctions & Licensing

Background on U.S. Sanctions (as of May, 2021)

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) administers a number of different sanctions programs. The purpose of U.S. sanctions programs is to advance U.S. foreign policy objectives and protect national security. Currently, OFAC administers 35 sanctions programs. These sanctions programs vary widely – some are comprehensive while others are highly selective.

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Building a Strong Export Compliance Plan

Exporting is a Privilege, Not a Right

Over 95% of the world’s consumers are outside of the United States. Opportunities abound for U.S. companies that export. However, exporting is a privilege and not a right. U.S. exporters have an important responsibility to adhere to U.S. export control laws, including the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”), the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) sanctions laws, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). Violations of export control laws carry hefty civil and criminal penalties. Exporters can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties, lose export privileges, and even be imprisoned for violations of U.S. export control laws.

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Trump Administration Designates Cuba State Sponsor of Terrorism

Cuba Designated a State Sponsor of Terror

The U.S. State Department designated Cuba a State Sponsor of Terrorism (“SST”) on January 11, 2021. Countries are designated on the SST list when they are determined by the U.S. Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.

The four main categories of sanctions resulting from designation can include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions. Here, the January 11 re-designation of Cuba on the SST subjects Cuba to:

  • Sanctions that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with Cuba
  • Restricts U.S. foreign assistance to Cuba
  • Bans defense exports and sales to Cuba
  • Imposes certain controls on exports of dual use items.

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A Year in Review!

2020 has been a difficult year filled with immense challenge and change (to say the least). From all of us at Diaz Trade Law, we are incredibly thankful and grateful for your support. Despite a pandemic, Diaz Trade Law still managed to save our clients MILLIONS of dollars in 2020. It is with great joy that we finish off 2020 filled with numerous achievements and accomplishments. We look forward to assisting you in what we envision will be a better and brighter 2021!

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U.S.-Cuba Trade under Trump vs. Biden

U.S.-Cuba Trade under Trump

Since the early 1960s, the U.S. maintained a policy of economic sanctions towards Cuba. The U.S. policy sought to isolate the Cuban government. In 2014, the Obama administration significantly changed U.S. trade and economic policies towards Cuba by restoring diplomatic relations, rescinding Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terror, and permitting increased trade between the two countries. This period was known as the Cuban Thaw.

However, under President Trump’s administration, the Obama administration’s efforts to normalize relations have been rolled back. In November 2017, the Trump administration restricted financial transactions with entities controlled by the Cuban government. Furthermore, many new entities have been added to the Cuba restricted list under the Trump administration. As of 2019, the Trump administration has more or less abandoned engagement with the Cuban government, and has opted instead to increase sanctions based on Cuba’s human rights violations and its support of the Venezuelan government under Nicolas Maduro.

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President Trump Strengthens U.S. Policy Toward Cuba

Did you know that the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced additional changes to U.S. policy toward Cuba implemented on October 9? On September 6th, the Trump Administration announced measures to increase economic pressure on the Cuban military regime. This follows past policy changes President Trump has taken to sanction the Cuban government for its daily human rights abuses against the Cuban people and abroad. Earlier this year, the President restricted non-family travel to Cuba by removing the travel exemption category of “people-to-people” travel to the island. 

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UPDATE: Non-Commercial Airplanes and Cruise Ships on Temporary Sojourn are Now Prohibited To Travel To Cuba.

cuba - prohibtFollowing President Obama’s historical break in precedent, easing restrictions on Cuba in 2016, President Trump now seeks to deprive the Communist regime of revenue from American citizens.

President Trump, not wanting the US to be complicit in the oppression and subjugation of Cubans, has decided to roll back the newly established relationship and directed the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) to draft a final rule limiting the types of aircraft that are authorized to fly to Cuba and the types of vessels that are authorized to sail to Cuba on temporary sojourn. This change is likely to be a result of the exponential growth of the island’s economy, coupled with the lack of improvement in overall quality of life for its citizens.

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