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The PT Law Blog

State Department Starts Publishing Commodity Jurisdiction Final Determinations

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Sunday, 09 October 2011 00:00

For lawyers and other export controls professionals, the State Department's decision this week to finally start publishing its Commodity Jurisdtion (CJ) determinations on the State Department website is long overdue and a very welcome development. 

A CJ is used when a company or another entity is unsure whether an item or service is subject to export controls administed by the State Department Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC). A CJ determination advises you if the item or service is covered by the U.S. Munitions List (USML) and subject to controls pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). It can also lead to a review by the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) for controls pursuant to the Export Administration Act and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). 

The Obama Administration in the Fall of 2009 set in a motion a broad-based inter-agency review of U.S. export controls that built upon reforms started during the Bush Administration. The Obama Administration decided to launch an Export Control Reform Initiative that aims to update U.S. export control laws and regulations. The publication of CJ outcomes is part of that reform process. 

To access prior DDTC CJ determinations, visit the DDTC website.

 

 

Presidential Determination on Major Illicit Drug Transit or Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries for Fiscal Year 2012

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Monday, 26 September 2011 09:30

In this morning's Federal Register, pursuant to section 706(1) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003 (Public Law 107–228)(FRAA), President Barack Obama identified the following countries as major drug transit or major illicit drug producing countries: Afghanistan, The Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Burma, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.

Read more... [Presidential Determination on Major Illicit Drug Transit or Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries for Fiscal Year 2012]
 

Miami Herald: Pakistan search for energy could run afoul of U.S. Iran sanctions

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Saturday, 17 September 2011 13:56

The Miami Herald reports today that "Pakistan's power supply network is in deep crisis, pounding the economy and making life miserable for average Pakistanis. But one of the solutions that Pakistan has proposed to fix the problem, a natural gas pipeline from Iran, faces objections from the United States. This week U.S. officials warned Pakistan not to depend on Iran."

Read more... [Miami Herald: Pakistan search for energy could run afoul of U.S. Iran sanctions]
 

U.S. Biological Weapons Export Controls Revised

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Thursday, 15 September 2011 17:49

On Monday, September 12, 2011, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published a final rule to amend the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to implement a series of changes to biological weapons export controls. The amendments to the EAR are based on a proposal that was discussed at the 2010 Australia Group (AG) Plenary and adopted in November 2010.

Read more... [U.S. Biological Weapons Export Controls Revised]
 

U.S. Government Updates Kingpin Act Watch List with Venezuelan Nationals

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Wednesday, 14 September 2011 12:44

This morning the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") published the name of four individuals whose property and interests in property have been blocked pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act ("Kingpin Act"), 21 U.S.C. 1901-1908, 8 U.S.C. 1182.

Enacted in 1999, the Kingpin Act establishes a program targeting the activities of significant foreign narcotics traffickers and their organizations on a worldwide basis. The Act provides a statutory framework for placing targeted economic sanctions against significant foreign narcotics traffickers and their organizations on a worldwide basis.

Read more... [U.S. Government Updates Kingpin Act Watch List with Venezuelan Nationals]
 

U.S. Energy Department Publishes Proposed Revisions to Nuclear Export Control Regulations

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Friday, 09 September 2011 15:43

On September 7, 2011, the Department of Energy published proposed changes to its export control regulations concerning unclassified atomic energy activities. These regulations are found at 10 C.F.R. Part 810. The proposed rule is open for public comment until November 7, 2011 and, in part, is meant to reflect changes in nuclear technology since the last major update of the rules which occurred in  1986. These proposed changes will be of interest to companies that employ or interact foreign nationals as well as research entities.

By way of background, Part 810 regulations implement section 57b of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended by section 302 of the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Act of 1978. These rules regulate the export of unclassified nuclear technology and nuclear assistance as well as facilitate international commerce. The new regulations are drafted to better help guard against the spread of nuclear technologies and material that would be contrary to the nonproliferation and other national security interests of the United States.

Read more... [U.S. Energy Department Publishes Proposed Revisions to Nuclear Export Control Regulations]
 

US Publishes Best Practices to Help Prevent Unlawful Diversions of Controlled Items

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Friday, 02 September 2011 10:32

The Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security ("BIS"), recently released a summary of best practices for preventing the unlawful diversion of U.S. dual-use items that are subject to the Export Administration Regulations ("EAR").

Companies and research universities should review and consider incoporating these suggestions in compliance programs. While these best practices do not create any new legal obligations, their adoption may be considered by the U.S. government in assesing an activity if an issue were to arise.

The following list includes the seven (7) best practices that BIS published to guard against diversion risk, particularly through transshipment trade:

Best Practice No. 1 – Companies should pay heightened attention to the Red Flag Indicators on the BIS Website and communicate any red flags to all divisions, branches, etc., particularly when an exporter denies a buyer's order or a freight forwarder declines to provide export services for dual-use items. 

Best Practice No. 2 - Exporters/Re-exporters should seek to utilize only those Trade Facilitators/Freight Forwarders that administer sound export management and compliance programs which include best practices for transshipment.

Read more... [US Publishes Best Practices to Help Prevent Unlawful Diversions of Controlled Items]
 

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]
 

US Seeks Comments on Foreign Export Controls

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Thursday, 01 September 2011 15:45
In today's Federal Register, the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published a notice that it seeks public comments on "the effect of existing foreign policy-based export controls in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). BIS requests comments to comply with the requirements of Section 6 of the Export Administration Act (EAA) which requires BIS to consult with industry on the effect of such controls and report to Congress the results of that consultation. Comments from all interested persons are welcome. All comments will be made available for public inspection and copying and included in a report to be submitted to Congress." For more information, visit this link.
 

US Government Issues Cuba Travel Advisory

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Friday, 29 July 2011 11:18

The Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Congtrol (OFAC) has issued a travel advisory to U.S. citizens and U.S. persons about travel to Cuba. 

In an advisory released earlier this week, the OFAC made reference to "misstatements in the media suggesting that U.S. foreign policy, as implemented by OFAC, now allows for virtually unrestricted group travel to Cuba by persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Although OFAC amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 515 (the "Regulations"), in January 2011 to expand licensing of travel to Cuba for certain specific purposes, the amended Regulations still contain significant travel restrictions."

Read more... [US Government Issues Cuba Travel Advisory]
 
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