Latest updates

Key changes to Foreign Trade General Rules
Ramos, Ripoll & Schuster
  • Mexico
  • 15 January 2021

The Tax Administration Service recently published the Third Resolution of Modifications to the Foreign Trade General Rules 2020. This article sets out the key changes in this respect, which concern suspension from the importer registries, requests to rectify a pedimento form, commercial information numbers and fines.

Trump and Congress pave way for potential delisting of publicly traded Chinese companies
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 15 January 2021

President Trump recently signed into law the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which aims to increase oversight of Chinese companies listed on US stock exchanges and force the delisting of those that refuse to comply with US audit inspection requirements. This bipartisan legislation was motivated by longstanding US frustrations over China precluding inspections of locally conducted audits of Chinese companies.

FCC's new foreign ownership review rules set to take effect
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 15 January 2021

For the first time, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will have formal rules governing the process for Team Telecom review of licence applications involving foreign ownership. However, the FCC declined to adopt exclusions for applications that have undergone review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) on the grounds that CFIUS review analyses distinct foreign ownership concerns.

DHS joins in broad enforcement effort against forced labour in apparel supply chains
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 08 January 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently blocked imports of cotton products from a major Chinese state-owned firm in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, saying that the company uses forced labour of ethnic Uighur Muslims. In doing so, the DHS has joined the Trump administration's efforts to punish human rights abuses in the region. This article examines this and other recent enforcement actions in the forced labour area, as well as what they mean for apparel importers.

Time is running out to reclaim hundreds of thousands in overpaid customs duties
Gowling WLG
  • United Kingdom
  • 18 December 2020

With the Department of International Trade set to replace the free trade agreements (FTAs) that the United Kingdom has enjoyed as part of its EU membership, this article considers the last 'hurrah' available under these agreements: the claim back of overpaid duties. Businesses should also consider their altered exposure to customs duties where the United Kingdom has not negotiated 'rollover' FTAs, or they have expired, and in light of new UK FTAs.

Global Britain? Rules, Britannia: Britannia screens the investment waves
Gowling WLG
  • United Kingdom
  • 27 November 2020

The government recently published the National Security & Investment Bill. In a marked contrast to its 'Global Britain' aspirations in a post-Brexit world, the bill will create a mandatory screening regime for investment in certain core areas of the UK economy in which national security risks are considered more likely to arise. This article considers the key implications of the proposed new regime for investment in the United Kingdom.

Trump bars investments by US persons in Communist Chinese military companies
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 27 November 2020

In his last days in office, President Trump has taken a swipe against companies identified by the Department of Defence as Communist Chinese military companies by prohibiting US persons from investing in such companies. According to the applicable executive order, the national security concerns stem from China exploiting US investors to finance the development and modernisation of its military through its military-civil fusion policy.

Military licence review factors expanded for NS-controlled items to China, Venezuela and Russia
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 13 November 2020

The US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) recently issued a final rule amending the licence review policy for items on the Commerce Control List that are controlled for national security reasons and destined for China, Venezuela or Russia. The amended Export Administration Regulations trigger a presumption of denial in a more expansive way and specify new and expansive factors which BIS will use in its case-by-case licence application assessment.

New ECCN proposed for emerging software used to operate nucleic acid assemblers and synthesisers
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 13 November 2020

The US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has proposed a new Export Control Classification Number to control software that is capable of being used to operate nucleic acid assemblers and synthesisers due to concerns that such software could be used to create pathogens and toxins as biological weapons. If adopted, this will be the fifth set of emerging technology controls that BIS has published and the second set of unilateral emerging technology controls.

Government steps up actions against forced labour as Congress considers further measures
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 30 October 2020

The government has recently stepped up its enforcement against forced labour. As particular regions come under increased media scrutiny, this issue has seen renewed interest in Congress, which is considering several bills to enhance forced labour enforcement. Moreover, with the United States taking a whole-of-government approach against goods made from forced labour, companies must act now to mitigate risk in their supply chains. This article discusses these actions in further detail.

CFIUS 2.0: mandatory filings now pegged to export control rules
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 30 October 2020

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is now following new rules on mandatory filings for certain foreign investments in critical technology companies. On behalf of CFIUS, the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Investment Security initially issued proposed regulations in May 2020. After considering public comments, the treasury made minor revisions to the proposed regulations and published a final rule in September 2020, which took effect on 15 October 2020.

United Kingdom and Japan sign free trade agreement
  • United Kingdom
  • 30 October 2020

The Department for International Trade (DIT) recently announced that the United Kingdom and Japan will sign the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. According to the DIT, the British-shaped deal is the first agreement that the United Kingdom has secured that goes beyond the existing EU deal, with enhancements in areas such as digital and data, financial services, food and drink and creative industries.

Human rights now part of US export licensing review for nearly all export licences
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 23 October 2020

The US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) recently released a final rule revising its licensing policy for crime control and detection (CC) items, which is designed to promote respect for human rights throughout the world. On the same day, BIS made another CC-related move, issuing a final rule regarding new controls on water cannon systems and related parts and components, with the preamble specifically describing riot and crowd control in Hong Kong.

OFAC's new ransomware advisory
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 23 October 2020

The US Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control recently issued an advisory highlighting sanctions risks associated with facilitating ransomware payments on behalf of victims targeted by malicious cyberattacks. Relatedly, the US Department of Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued guidance alerting financial institutions to their role in processing ransomware and associated payments, red flags and reporting information.

Further updates to UK sanctions against Belarus
  • United Kingdom
  • 16 October 2020

The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation has further expanded the reach of sanctions in respect of Belarus to cover an additional 40 individuals. These 40 individuals have been designated at EU level and added to the consolidated list. Five of these individuals were previously sanctioned under the United Kingdom's global human rights regime and are now subject to an asset freeze under both this regime and the EU regime.

United Kingdom updates unilateral sanctions targeting Belarusian officials
  • United Kingdom
  • 02 October 2020

The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation recently announced that eight Belarusian officials have been subjected to sanctions (asset freezes and travel bans) under the United Kingdom's autonomous global human rights sanctions regime. This regime was introduced earlier in 2020 as a 'Magnitsky-style' regime and is the first autonomous sanctions regime adopted by the United Kingdom following its departure from the European Union.

Goods from China under heavy forced labour scrutiny
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 25 September 2020

The Department of Homeland Security through US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently issued new withhold release orders (WROs) aimed at entities involved in the import, downstream manufacturing or sale of certain apparel, cotton, hair products and computer parts. As the WROs were backdated, they may adversely affect merchandise that is currently being shipped to the United States or which is already in CBP's custody.

United Kingdom takes major step towards membership of Trans-Pacific free trade area
  • United Kingdom
  • 25 September 2020

The Department for International Trade recently announced that the United Kingdom has taken a major step in the process of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of the world's largest and most dynamic free trade areas. The partnership includes ambitious agreements on digital trade, data, financial, professional and business services, all of which are areas where the United Kingdom is a global leader and stands to benefit from more trade.

BIS launches rulemaking process for foundational technologies and hints at potential areas of control
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 18 September 2020

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has published the advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) on foundational technologies, which seeks public comment on criteria for identifying and defining 'foundational technologies' essential to US national security. Although the ANPRM is vague, the potential for stronger control of items currently controlled as Export Administration Regulation 99 or for anti-terrorism, crime control, short supply or UN reasons should prompt comments.

Sanctions on Chinese apparel companies for forced labour hit retail supply chains
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 18 September 2020

Fashion and luxury goods companies should be concerned about the recent sanctioning of Chinese companies in Xinjiang province by the US Departments of Treasury and Commerce and other US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) developments relating to importing products that contain fabric made with prison or forced labour. Notably, there is a risk that garments made from cotton produced by Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps could be subject to a CBP withhold release order.

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