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Public Policy

What to Expect in 2017: Part 1

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Wednesday, 18 January 2017 20:37

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By: Arthur M. Freyre

As we embark on a new year as well as a new Administration, we can expect to see some changes. In this three part series we will look at what to expect from The Congress and the Presidency in 2017. This year will be a time of opportunities for both President-elect Trump and the GOP controlled Congress. Part 1 of this post will focus the House of Representatives.

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Next Congress May Expand CFIUS Jurisdiction

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Monday, 07 November 2016 19:02

CongressBuildingBy: Jason I. Poblete

Senior Members of Congress appear to be laying the groundwork for a much-needed regulatory update of a process used by the U.S. government to review of foreign investments in the United States in strategically important sectors such as defense as well as homeland security, especially in the case of U.S. ports. In a letter to the U.S. Comptroller General, sixteen (16) Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle asked that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) advise on the current effectiveness of the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) review process as well as provide guidance on proposed updates under consideration by the Congress. The letter is appended at the end of this post.

By way of brief background, the CFIUS review process was created via Executive Order in 1975 by President Gerald Ford. The rules governing the interagency process have also been amended by the Congress various times as well as other Presidential executive orders. While not a tool of (pure) free-market thinking, the CFIUS review process is a necessary tool that can be used to protect strategically vital U.S. markets from unfair competition, espionage, among other things. The process involves nine federal agencies and is one of many safeguards used by Uncle Sam to protect U.S. national security and, in the late 2000s, homeland security.

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Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere in Miami

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Public Policy
Saturday, 21 December 2013 11:10

By Arthur Freyre

(Coral Gables, Florida) Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere, Ms. Roberta Jacobson, spoke before a group at the University of Miami Center of Hemispheric Affairs last week. Jacobson and several of her colleagues were in South Florida, in part, for a business conference.  Jacobson's speech focused on the Administration’s effort in Latin America. Jacobson focused most of her remarks on the issues of education exchanges between students in the United States and in Latin America, narcotics interdiction, and trade.

Cuba: A Lot of Issues Discussed, Much to Be Done

After the presentation, the floor was opened for questions. The first question dealt with Cuba and the now seemingly infamous handshake between President Obama and Raul Castro. Ms. Jacobson stated that “a handshake was just a handshake.” Her bigger concern was the interaction between the President and Brazil's president. 

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Dr. Gomez: Preparing to do Business in a Future Cuba

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Public Policy
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 12:08

Dr. Andy Gomez, Senior Policy Advisor

The government of Raul Castro continues to introduce what appear to be economic reforms in Cuba with the purpose of jump-starting a moribund economic system that for more than a decade has been controlled by the government and dependent on subsides by countries such as Russia and Venezuela. However, at the same time, the Cuban leadership has shown clear signs that they have no intention of relinquishing political control or honoring fundamental freedoms. 

This is a time of great economic and political uncertainty in Cuba. For the first time in decades there are clear factions starting to form within the Cuban government.  There are the hardliners, who would like to see no change at all. Then  there is a class of bureaucrats who do not agree with the pace of the current reforms. This group would like to see a great deal more economic liberalization. These individuals, some in very senior posts in the current government, propose reform within the existing government structure. It is difficult to tell at this point if this latter group is as ideologically committed to the Revolution as the others.

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Emerging Business and Trade Opportunities in Latin America

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Public Policy
Saturday, 09 March 2013 10:25

Arthur Freyre

The International Law Section of the Florida Bar this past week hosted a seminar on Emerging Business and Trade Opportunities in Latin America in Coral Gables, Florida.  The speakers discussed the various opportunities and obstacles in the emerging Latin American market.

The first speaker, Violeta Longino spoke about the business climate in Argentina and Mexico.  Concerning Argentina, she mentioned that Argentina is moving towards Venezuela in the sense of over-regulation. To put this in perspective, it is easier to open a corporation in China or in Afghanistan than it is in Argentina.  In contrast to Argentina, Mexico is moving towards open markets.  There have been reforms in the energy sector, and labor laws.  Mexico has even passed an Anti-Corruption law, which stemmed out of a litigation involving Walmart.

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Proposal Would Require Political Donation Disclosure by Public Companies

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Friday, 02 September 2011 09:33

On August 3, 2011, the Committee on Disclosure of Corporate Political Spending submitted a Petition for Rulemaking to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) pursuant to Section 14 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The proposal would require certain publicly traded companies to disclose their political contributions.

According to the Committee, “[s]ince 2004, responding to shareholder demand for information about political spending, large public companies have increasingly agreed voluntarily to adopt policies requiring disclosure of the company’s spending on politics … [a]bsent disclosure, shareholders are unable to hold directors and executives accountable when they spend corporate funds on politics in a way that departs from shareholder interests.”

This petition arose, in part, out of the 2010 Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which overturned portions of the McCain-Feingold Act that legalized independent corporate political spending. 

Read more... [Proposal Would Require Political Donation Disclosure by Public Companies]
 

New Bipartisan Iran Sanctions Legislation Introduced in the US Congress

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Wednesday, 18 May 2011 09:33

As we enter the summer period of the Congressional session, it appears that Iran sanctions will once again be on the menu. This particular measure will be of interest to the energy and financial services sector that may have dealings with Iran.

The bill - HR 1905 - was introduced last week without much fanfare by the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; however, we expect it will receive a great deal of attention in both chambers. A companion Senate measure will be introduced in the near future.

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Government study finds foreign nationals in the US gaining unauthorized access to controlled technology

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Wednesday, 09 March 2011 11:21

It is not what advocates of export control reform necessarily wanted to hear, however, a recently completed study for the Congress that was released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirms prior reports that both our allies and enemies continue to try to steal the most advanced U.S. technologies. While nothing new, U.S. companies and universities who hire foreign nationals will once again come under pressure to ensure compliance with export control laws and regulations.

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A Berlin Wall moment for Egypt?

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Thursday, 10 February 2011 00:00

PT Law's Jason Poblete responds to a question from a leading Washington, DC news organization POLITICO on recent developments in Egypt:

Let’s wait and see if today’s cathartic moment transitions over to a new Egypt that will be a stabilizing influence in the Middle East. What we are seeing today is a potential constitutional crisis in the making that, if not managed correctly, will disappoint millions of Egyptians in the long term. In the process, it could also hurt U.S. and security interests in the region.

To read other comments on the subject, visit the POLITICO's website.

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An immediate exit for Mubarak?

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Friday, 04 February 2011 00:00

PT law's Jason Poblete responds to a question on the situation in Egypt from a leading Washington, DC news organization, the POLITICO:

Before folks on Capitol Hill or the White House start pointing the finger of blame on the intelligence community, they should look first at the institutions they serve in. It has been the Congress that has appropriated the assistance to Egypt; while the executive spent it.

Read more... [An immediate exit for Mubarak?]
 
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