The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has issued a voluntary disclosure guidance for export violations. The guidance takes effect July 22 and its intent is to make Commerce’s enforcement more in line with that of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Specifically, the new guidance introduces the OFAC concept of a “base penalty amount.” Like OFAC base penalties, the BIS base penalties will be determined by whether the violation was egregious and whether it was voluntarily disclosed. Once a base penalty amount is determined, the amount can move downward or upward based on mitigating and aggravating factors. (more…)

Dear readers,

This attachment is from my TerraLex colleagues in London regarding the Brexit. I don’t believe we can have a better analysis at this time. The global trading system is very volatile. And our election will further affect both TPP and TTIP. (more…)

Sri Lanka may not be the first market that comes to mind when thinking of opportunities to export goods and services or invest, but there is reason to at least keep the country in mind. While the Administration has been busy in its efforts to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and prepare for its implementation, it has also aimed to strengthen trade with other Asian countries. (more…)

2016 Top Export Markets for U.S. Goods

Last week the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration (ITA) released the second installment of its Top Markets Reports. The reports–nineteen different industries are highlighted in total–do an excellent job highlighting growing export markets for American businesses and provide a lot of useful insight into the United States’ position in the global economy. Top export industries include auto parts ($81 billion), aircraft parts ($56.2 billion), pharmaceuticals ($47 billion), medical devices ($43 billion), building products and sustainable construction ($35.2 billion), construction equipment ($32.6 billion), and smart grid technology ($30 billion). (more…)

U.S. importers should reevaluate their compliance program as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)’s steps up its efforts to enforce payment of antidumping and countervailing duties. The efforts come at the heel of this February’s passage of the Trade Facilitation and Enforcement Act, which gave CBP new investigatory authority over claims that certain importers are not paying duties. A new interim final rule is expected by Aug. 22. Importers of steel and other goods from China should be especially cautious. (more…)

The Department of Treasury and Department of Commerce have made several changes to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) since the Administration announced its new direction toward Cuba in December 2014. Since the amendments have occurred in multiple sets of rule changes over the past seventeen months, here is an attempt to summarize where we are in terms of what is now allowed.
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I am here to encourage newly authorized trade to and from Cuba.  However, my job is also to ensure that exporters have all of the information they need to make informed business decisions and remain compliant with U.S. trade laws – not just the information in the introductory paragraphs of news articles or press releases. (more…)

Trade Agreements are political hot potatoes, which as a trade attorney I always find interesting.  The presidential candidates have been debating the pros and cons of trade agreements for years from a 60,000 foot level. Is the agreement good for us or not? Now, there is a Commerce Department tool that will help companies determine if a trade agreement will actually cut tariffs for specific export market for a particular product. This could be a real tool for the exporting community.  Currently, the tool is for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and focuses on goods going to 25 markets.  You can search by tariff code or key word – simple but really useful. (more…)

On March 16, 2016, in what could be the final set of amendments  to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) under the Obama Administration, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published a Final Rule that further facilitates travel to Cuba, authorizes additional types of financial transactions, and allows companies to have a greater business presence on the island.  As expected, Wednesday’s changes represent yet another small step towards normalization that builds upon past rounds of regulatory amendments implemented on January 16, June 15, and September 21, 2015, and January 27, 2016. (more…)