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The PT Law Blog

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.

Read more... [Dr. Gomez: Preparing to do Business in a Future Cuba]

UAE Company Fined for Violating U.S.-Syria Sanctions, Export Control Laws

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Trade Security
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 10:53

Jason I. Poblete

Computerlinks, a UAE-based company that sells information technology product and services, has been fined $2.8 million for violating U.S.-Syria export control laws. According to the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), Computerlinks committed three violations of the Export Administration Regulations (the Regulations) by engaging in transactions or taking:

Read more... [UAE Company Fined for Violating U.S.-Syria Sanctions, Export Control Laws]

US State Department: Terrorist Designations of Ansar al-Dine

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Trade Security
Friday, 22 March 2013 09:29

Pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, the U.S. Department of State has designated Ansar al-Dine (AAD) a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). According to the State Department:

"AAD has received support from AQIM since its inception in late 2011, and continues to maintain close ties to the group. AAD has received backing from AQIM in its fight against Malian and French forces, most notably in the capture of the Malian towns of Agulhok, Tessalit, Kidal, Gao, and Timbuktu, between January and April 2012."

Read more... [US State Department: Terrorist Designations of Ansar al-Dine]

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.

Read more... [Emerging Business and Trade Opportunities in Latin America]

Vegas Casino Corp. Deftly Refutes Allegations of Foreign Corruption

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Trade Security
Thursday, 07 March 2013 00:00

Jason I. Poblete

When senior company officials are politically active, or the company has matters pending before the U.S. Congress or federal agencies, your legal and public policy departments have to deal with a whole set of potential issues that other companies do not, at least not with the same intensity. Last week, several newspapers posted a story about the owner of the Las Vegas Sands corporation that is illustrative of what can happen when the law and public policy worlds collide; and also shows how a company should respond. 

The story deals with a very potentially serious legal issue faced by companies that do business around the world, compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA for short. The Las Vegas Sands corporation reported in its annual shareholders report that that company personnel may have violated the books, records, and internal control provisions of this anti-corruption law.

Read more... [Vegas Casino Corp. Deftly Refutes Allegations of Foreign Corruption]

OFAC Hosts Financial Services Industry Symposium

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Trade Security
Thursday, 21 February 2013 14:53

Jason Poblete

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) will host a Financial Services Industry Symposium in Washington, DC on March 19, 2013. Expected topics on the agenda include:

  1. Review of recent changes to Iran sanctions
  2. Overview of recent enforcement actions and guidelines
  3. Licensing procedures and guidance
  4. Compliance with U.S. economic and trade sanctions


These conferences are a good opportunity to meet with OFAC personnel and answer questions about general matters of interest to your companies. 

For more information visit this OFAC website or contact us.


US Updates Humanitarian Transaction Guidelines for Iran Sanctions

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Trade Security
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 14:07

In addition to the laws and regulations, familiarize yourself with U.S. policy reasons for sanctions programs

Jason Poblete

On February 6, 2013, OFAC published updated guidance for companies and individuals who provide or wish to export humanitarian assistance and other support to the Iranian people. While it is an especially good overview document for individuals and companies that have never engaged in such activities, these guideline materials are not a substitute for the laws and regulations.

In the case of Iran, you should refer to U.S. regulations including: Iranian Assets Control Regulations; Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations; Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations; and the Iranian Human Rights Abuses Sanctions Regulations, as well as underlying laws they are based on such as the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act (CISADA), the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act (ITRASHRA). 

In addition, when reviewing your company's trade security policies and procedures, or if you're an individual or company unfamiliar with U.S. sanctions laws, you should also familiarize yourself with overall U.S. policy aims with respect to a target country or sanctions programs.

Read more... [US Updates Humanitarian Transaction Guidelines for Iran Sanctions]

Brasseler USA Settles with US for Alleged Violation of Iran Sanctions

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Trade Security
Saturday, 20 October 2012 12:23

Brasseler USA, the U.S. subsidiary of a Canadian medical supply company, and the Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced this week that Brasseler has agreed to pay $18,900 to settle potential civil liability for alleged violations of U.S. economic sanctions on Iran.

According to an OFAC civil penalties announcement, OFAC alleged that "on or about February 24, 2006, January 21, 2009, and March 20, 2009, Brasseler exported goods or services to a person in a third country with knowledge or reason to know that such goods or services were intended specifically for transshipment to Iran, without authorization from OFAC. The alleged violations involved three transactions valued at $5,241. OFAC determined that Brasseler did not voluntarily self-disclose the matter to OFAC and that the alleged violations constituted a non-egregious case. The base penalty amount for the alleged violations totaled $21,000."

Read more... [Brasseler USA Settles with US for Alleged Violation of Iran Sanctions]

FP Blog: Is China becoming a sanctioning state?

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Wednesday, 17 October 2012 09:27

Jason I. Poblete

Countries that complain about U.S. economic sanctions usually do not have the economic clout to impose them. This has been the case with China through the years; however, as China's global economic reach has increased, so has her use of this, at times, very effective tool to advance national interests.

Read more... [FP Blog: Is China becoming a sanctioning state?]

Venezuela's Chavez Arrests US Ship Captain, Arms Smuggling Allegations

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Sunday, 09 September 2012 10:24

Jason Poblete

With less than 30 days until Venezuelan general elections, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez has turned to distraction politics. According to various news accounts, a U.S. citizen has been detained for alleged arms smuggling.

The charges sound dubious. The articles do not state the type of weapons found aboard the ship; however, various news accounts state that just three rifles were found aboard the cargo vessel Ocean Atlas. The Ocean Atlas is a U.S.-flagged vessel (pictured) and is part of the Intermarine fleet based in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Read more... [Venezuela's Chavez Arrests US Ship Captain, Arms Smuggling Allegations]
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