Sanctions against Cuba continue to lift. Effective this week, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) have relaxed controls in several areas of trade and commerce with Cuba, including loosening restrictions on exporting to and importing from Cuba, carving out new allowances for U.S. persons entering into contingent contracts with Cubans, and opening new opportunities for American entrepreneurs in the civil aviation, construction, and health sectors. Among the changes is also a provision that will allow Americans to travel to Cuba to attend professional meetings and conferences related to tourism. (more…)

The Commerce Department issued great news for exporters and American workers last week. According to Commerce’s report, Jobs Supported by Export Destination 2015, American jobs supported by U.S. exports to current free trade agreement partners grew 22% from 2009 to 2015. In 2015, U.S. exports to these free trade partners supported more than three million American jobs. Exports to NAFTA partners account for approximately one-fourth of these jobs. (more…)

Dear all,

The State and Commerce Departments have revised the standardized language for the destination control statement (DCS) that exporters are required to put on their shipping documents. Further, now exporters are only required to put the language on the commercial invoice. Gone is the requirement that exporters and freight forwarders take steps to include the statements on bills of lading, air waybills, and other shipping documents. The hope is to ease the burden on exporters and make the standard the same under both the State Department’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). (more…)

I know the title of this blog is Export Compliance Matters, but I feel compelled to provide evidence that  import compliance is also becoming a serious compliance risk. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) just announced Friday that the US government is owed 2.3 billion dollars in antidumping and countervailing duties alone. Moreover,  CBP  has issued several “informed compliance” letters encouraging prior disclosure of customs violations by warning the trade community that the CBP and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement are enforcing trade violations. The issuance of the letters comes in tandem with more sophisticated auditing techniques that CBP has developed to catch violations, including using customs data provided by CBP’s Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). (more…)

Further weakening secondary sanctions, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has issued a new license to allow non-U.S. persons to fly some U.S. aircraft to Iran for temporary  sojourn. While General License J only applies to fixed-wing airplanes and imposes a number of conditions that must be met in order for non U.S.-persons to fly to Iran, the new license may mark the start of new opportunities for the civil aviation industry in Iran. (more…)

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…)