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voluntary self-disclosure

EAREEIExportInternational TradeITARU.S. Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)U.S. Census BureauU.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC)U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)

Exporting 101 – Introduction to Export Controls

posted by Jennifer Diaz May 7, 2021 0 comments

On April 30, 2021, the Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) announced that it had fined FLIR Systems, Inc. $307,922 for an egregious violation of the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) for misrepresentations made in commodity jurisdiction (“CJ”) requests. A BIS spokesperson said: “BIS will not tolerate exporters that provide inaccurate or incomplete representations related to export regulations and laws.”

This recent announcement is a textbook example of why it is important to obtain counsel and be  both proactive and truthful in regards to your export compliance. Whether you are new to exporting or looking to understand the foundations of export controls, including a discussion of recent penalty cases like FLIR’s (so they do not happen to you), or a seasoned professional looking to understand the latest developments, this one-hour webinar is a must attend. Register today to hear directly from the following expert duo:

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ExportInternational TradeU.S. Census Bureau

Submitting a Voluntary Self-Disclosure to Census

posted by Jennifer Diaz May 4, 2021 0 comments

Diaz Trade Law’s President, Jennifer Diaz,  and Associate Attorney, Sharath Patil, are enthusiastic to announce Bloomberg Law published another one of our articles, “Submitting a Voluntary Self-Disclosure to Census”! 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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Best PracticesEnforcementExportInternational TradeU.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)

Submitting a Voluntary Self-Disclosure to OFAC

posted by Jennifer Diaz April 6, 2021 0 comments

Diaz Trade Law’s President, Jennifer Diaz,  and Associate Attorney, Sharath Patil, are enthusiastic to announce Bloomberg Law published another one of our articles, “Submitting a Voluntary Self-Disclosure to OFAC”! 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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Export

New Export Enforcement Priorities Come with New Names at the Bureau of Industry and Security

posted by Jennifer Diaz April 17, 2011 0 comments

On April 14, 2011, in Washington, D.C., David Mills, the new Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), U.S. Department of Commerce, and his Special Advisor, Bob Rarog, explained the enforcement priorities of BIS. These priorities were established by Eric Hirschhorn, who was just sworn in as Under Secretary of the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) on April 2, 2010, after being appointed by President Obama. This event was part of the American Bar Association’s Section of International Law’s Export Controls and Economic Sanctions Committee.

David Mills, who has an excellent perspective from recently being a private practicing attorney, and was formerly the Chief of Licensing at the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), identified the three primary initiatives of export enforcement by the BIS.

1.  Efficiency – process administrative cases faster.

2.  Education – outreach program to exporting companies.

3.  Enforcement – going for the $250,000 maximum penalty or twice the value of the transaction, whichever is greater.

David Mills stated that where both OFAC and BIS have jurisdiction over a violation, it is best to file voluntary self disclosure simultaneously with both agencies.  Generally, Special Agents from the BIS’ Office of Export Enforcement will conduct the investigation thereafter.  Another interesting point was that the Obama Administration remains focused on Iran, preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and prohibiting any transactions with Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs). This is consistent with the U.S. Department of Justice’s recent National Counter-Proliferation Initiative to increase the detection and prosecution of export control violations. For the past two years since this Initiative started, the number of criminal and civil cases targeting violations of the ITAR, EAR and trade sanctions have greatly increased. Federal agents from the FBI, Justice, BIS, ICE, OFAC, State and Defense have investigated and prosecuted companies and individuals for illegally exporting goods and technology not only to countries such as Iran, China and Cuba, but also to close allies such as Canada, Mexico, Taiwan and Israel. 

What surprised many of the legal experts listening to David Mills who practice in the area of export controls was the statement by Mr. Mills that the filing of voluntary self disclosure by the company with BIS will not necessarily protect the employees of that company. Mr. Mills was sending a message:

Willful or knowing, as opposed to inadvertent,  violations by individuals will be punished.

Mr. Mills clearly set forth a new policy:

Special Agents of BIS are directed to focus on investigating culpable individuals for criminal prosecution or civil penalties.

He also stated that it is often an appropriate action for the company to terminate the employee who violates the laws of the United States.

ExportU.S. Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)

Save Money by Admitting Your Export Violations to the U.S. Commerce Department

posted by Jennifer Diaz December 12, 2010 0 comments

Sometimes it is beneficial for an exporter to voluntarily self-disclose its export violations to the U.S. Government.  Maybe an exportation of an item occurred without first obtaining the necessary license, or maybe the item was shipped to a company overseas other than allowed in a license. Both situations are violations of the Export Administration Regulations, and both violations could result in $250,000 penalties against the exporter. By voluntarily self-disclosing the violation, the exporter would reduce, and might even eliminate, such a penalty.

For a suspected violation of 15 CFR 764.2 of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) enforced by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the U.S. Department of Commerce, an exporter may submit a voluntary self-disclosure (popularly known as a "VSD") to the Office of Export Enforcement of BIS at its Washington, D.C. headquarters office.  The contents of what must be included in a VSD are established in 15 CFR 764.5.

Procedurally, once a properly filed VSD is received by the BIS, it is investigated by a Special Agent from the Office of Export Enforcement. If a penalty or other sanction is contemplated, the case is referred to an attorney with the Office of Chief Counsel of BIS.  The BIS attorney will contact the exporter’s attorney, eventually resulting in a written Settlement Agreement between the exporter and the BIS.  Negotiating the terms of the Settlement Agreement is critical.

The Obama Administration is actively pursuing export control reforms. Importantly, Kevin Wolf, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration, on November 9, 2010, at the Global Trade Controls Conference in London, England, stated:

Enforcement will become an even higher priority…We have long promoted the submission of voluntary self-disclosures (VSDs).  We view VSDs, along with internal compliance programs, as important mitigating factors. 

There will always be occasional errors by exporters.  Exporters should consult with knowledgeable and experienced international trade attorneys before submitting a VSD.  With more enforcement, there are sure to be more investigations and more penalties assessed by the Government against exporters, and likely more VSDs submitted to the Government by exporters.