For the first time in history, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a countrywide import alert for any category of drug product. Specifically, on January 26, 2021, the FDA announced that it will Take Action to Place All Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers from Mexico on Import Alert to Help Prevent Entry of Violative and Potentially Dangerous Products into U.S., Protect U.S. Consumers. FDA singled out importations of hand sanitizers from Mexico due to the frequent use of methanol.
In a Final Rule, published on December 23, 2020, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) amended the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) by creating a “Military End User (MEU) List”. The list includes the first tranche of 103 entities consisting of 58 military end-users in China and 45 in Russia. BIS determined that these companies are ‘military end users’ for purposes of the ‘military end user’ control in the EAR that applies to specified items for exports, reexports, or transfers (in-country) to China, Russia, and Venezuela when such items are destined for a prohibited ‘military end user.’
Prior to this final rule, exporters, reexporters, or transferors were responsible for identifying these entities as ‘military end users’ themselves, assuming they were not otherwise individually informed. The MEU List (which is now searchable on the consolidated screening list) allows the public to be informed of BIS’s determination so all potential exporters are informed simultaneously.
Diaz Trade Law’s President, Jennifer Diaz, Associate Attorney, Denise Calle, and supporting Law Clerk, Zachary Kaufman, are enthusiastic to announce Bloomberg Law published another one of our articles, “U.S. Customs Targets Use of Forced Labor”! Below is the article reproduced with permission for your reading pleasure. We’d love to hear your feedback!
You can read the article here (where you’ll have the ability to access all of the great hyperlinks), please note you cannot click on the hyperlinks below.
We’d love to hear your feedback!
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.
Background on Iran Sanctions
The United States has imposed restrictions on activities with Iran under various legal authorities since 1979, following the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran following the Iranian Revolution. In October 2015, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia, as well as Germany (known collectively as the P5 +1) met with Iran and successfully negotiated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”). Pursuant to the JCPOA, Iran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from some sanctions. According to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, the JCPOA would result in “the comprehensive lifting of all UN Security Council sanctions as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program, including steps on access in areas of trade, technology, finance, and energy.” The few years of decreased economic sanctions towards Iran came to an end in May 2018 when the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA. The return of increased U.S. sanctions towards Iran came into effect in November 2018.
On December 29, 2020, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced long-awaited extensions to a limited set of previously granted exclusions (for COVID-related products), that were set to expire on December 31, 2020. Meanwhile, importers across non-COVID industries are continuing to await guidance on their tariff exclusion extensions that are set to expire on December 31, 2020.
National Space Policy Unveiled
On December 9, 2020, the White House released the National Space Policy of the United States of America. Among other objectives, the policy seeks to drive U.S. leadership in space commerce by encouraging the cultivation of U.S. industrial capacity in space innovation.
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!
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.