The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security has issued a rule, effective immediately, lowering the permissible level of de minimis U.S.-origin content in goods to be exported to Cuba.  Items manufactured outside the United States now may have no more than 10% U.S.-origin content (reduced from 25%) if they are to

On October 23, 2019, the Trump Administration rescinded the designation of Turkish officials and ministries.  The Executive Order remains in force, and so authority to re-impose sanctions remains.

On October 14, President Trump issued Executive Order 13894, styled “Blocking Property and Suspending Entry of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Syria.”  Under this order, OFAC designated the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, the Turkish Ministry of Defense, and the Ministers of the Interior, Energy and Natural Resources, and Defense for blocking sanctions.  This prohibits not only transactions with the relevant ministries and ministers (including in their official capacities) but any state-owned enterprise in which a 50% or greater interest held through those ministries.  OFAC also issued three general licenses providing a 30-day wind-down period for existing contracts with the sanctioned ministries or entities and permitting official U.S. government functions and certain international organization activities to continue, and OFAC has indicated that it is prepared to issue specific or general licenses to ensure that Turkey is still able to meet its energy needs.
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U.S. authorities take an expansive view of their jurisdiction when it comes to sanctions. They cannot, however, directly restrict persons outside U.S. jurisdiction from dealing with sanctioned persons. They therefore exert pressure on persons outside U.S. jurisdiction by threatening to designate them as sanctioned persons if they engage in certain activities contrary to U.S. sanctions policy (“Target Activities”). Sanctions imposed in such circumstances are known as ‘secondary sanctions’, and were the topic of the September 2019 judgment of the High Court of England and Wales in Lamesa Investments v. Cynergy Bank. In a ruling that will surprise many, the Court found that the risk of incurring secondary sanctions could be invoked by a party seeking to be excused from its contractual obligations under an illegality clause. While the Court’s interpretation of secondary sanctions appears questionable in several respects, parties will nonetheless need to take it into account when drafting contractual provisions.
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In the case of Ministry of Defence and Support for Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran v International Military Services Ltd [2019] EWHC 1994 (Comm), the High Court examined in detail the effect of the EU sanctions regime against Iran in the context of the enforcement of arbitral awards.

The High Court found

On August 5, 2019, the U.S. Administration imposed blocking sanctions on the Government of Venezuela (“GOV”) under a new executive order. Although named individual officials, the Central Bank of Venezuela, and Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (“PdVSA”) were already blocked entities under U.S. sanctions, now all Venezuelan government entities and state-owned enterprises are blocked entities.

Unless

On August 5, 2019, the European Commission (“Commission”) published its official Guidance on Internal Compliance Programmes (“Guidance”).[1] The Guidance aims to clarify and harmonize implementation of Regulation 428/2009 on Dual-Use Goods[2] (“Dual-Use Regulation”) by competent Member State authorities (“national export authorities”) and EU-based exporters of dual-use goods (“exporters”). While the Guidance is non-binding, national export authorities will take it into careful account when considering applications to export, transit or broker dual-use items.

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Late on Friday, August 2, 2019, the U.S. Administration announced that it would implement a second wave of sanctions under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) against the Russian Federation.  These sanctions will;

  • prohibit U.S. financial institutions from participating in future primary issuances of non-ruble Russian sovereign debt;
  • require the United States to oppose any new assistance to Russia by international financial institutions; and
  • prohibit the export to Russia of dual-use goods controlled for chemical or biological warfare reasons.


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Late in the evening of August 1, 2019, President Trump signed an executive order (the Executive Order) re-delegating implementation of certain sanctions under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) to the Secretary of the Treasury.  According to press reports, the Administration may be preparing for a second round of CBW Act sanctions against Russia as a result of the Skripal poisoning.

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Over the last few weeks, the U.S. House and Senate have separately passed a number of amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (the “NDAA”) that, if enacted, would expand sanctions on persons and activities related to North Korea, China, Russia, Burma, and certain Central American states.
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This Trade Summary provides an overview of WTO dispute settlement decisions and panel activities, and EU decisions and measures on commercial policy, customs policy and external relations, for the second quarter of 2019.

If you have any questions regarding the above, do not hesitate to contact fclaprevote@cgsh.com or tmuelleribold@cgsh.com.