Hong Kong’s Initiates Dispute Regarding U.S.-Origin Marking Requirement

What Happened

On October 30, 2021, Hong Kong, China requested consultations with the United States regarding U.S. measures affecting origin markings on goods imported from Hong Kong to the United States. On November 24, 2020, the United States and Hong Kong held consultations on the matter. On January 14, 2021, Hong Kong requested the World Trade Organization (“WTO”) to establish a dispute settlement panel. In response, the WTO established a dispute settlement panel on February 22, 2021.

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OFAC Issues Clarifying Guidance on Communist Chinese Military Companies Sanctions

Background on EO 13959

On November 12, 2020, President Trump issued Executive Order 13959 (“EO 13959”), Addressing the Threat from Securities Investments that Finance Communist Chinese Military Companies. EO 13959 prohibits U.S. investors from purchasing or investing in securities of companies identified by the U.S. government as Communist Chinese military companies (“CCMCs”), a designation determined by the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Since former President Trump signed EO 13959, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) has issued clarifying guidance and general licenses on this matter.

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Biden Executive Order Strengthens Buy American Government Procurement Laws

Biden Signs Executive Order Strengthening Buy American Laws

Buy American laws are a set of statutes, regulations, rules, and Executive Orders that require that the U.S. federal government require or provide preferences for purchasing goods produced in the United States. Buy American laws were created and continue to be amended with the intention of promoting economic and national security, stimulating economic growth, creating good jobs at decent wages, and supporting the U.S. manufacturing and defense industrial bases.

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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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CBP Issues WRO on Cotton, Tomato, & Downstream Products Made in Xinjiang

The United States has been increasing its efforts to combat forced labor around the world. During the Trump Administration’s final weeks, the United States not only banned the importation of Chinese Cotton, Tomatoes, among other products, but also explicitly recognized the situation in Xinjiang as a Genocide.

Importers not adequately auditing their supply chains for use of forced labor are at risk of administrative and criminal enforcement. Imported merchandise produced with forced labor is subject to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) enforcement. Such enforcement includes U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) right to detain, exclude, and/or seize imported goods and Homeland Security Investigation’s potential criminal investigation. China is not only the United States’ number one trading partner but also happens to be the world’s biggest forced labor violator.

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BIS Publishes First Military End User List

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.

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FTC issues a Record Breaking $1.2 Million Penalty

Chemence Inc., a glue maker, is once again in a sticky situation with The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for allegedly making deceptive claims that its products are made in the United States. In a proposed Consent Order, Chemence agreed to pay $1.2 million for its violation of the FTC Act for violating a 2016 federal court order to cease deceptive marketing tactics, as well as mandated an annual compliance report. The FTC now seeks Public Comment on the proposed consent agreement. The comment period closes on February 8, 2021. Thereafter, FTC will decide whether it should withdraw from the agreement or make it final and force Chemence to pay the $1.2 million penalty.

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U.S. Customs Targets Use of Forced Labor

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!

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Treasury Imposes Further Sanctions on Iran

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.

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