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Enforcement & Investigations

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On October 20, 2020, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published in the Federal Register a general notice [CBP Dec. 20-17] that the Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Trade, of CBP with the approval of the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, has determined, pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1307 and 19 CFR 12.42(f) that stevia leaf (Stevia rebaudiana) extracts, or glycosides classified under subheading 2938.90.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), that are mined,…

On October 16, 2020, CBP issued CSMS #44451479 – GUIDANCE: Section 301 Tranche 1 – $34B Action Extension of Product Exclusions from China, which is reproduced in pertinent part below: Background On October 5, 2020, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published Federal Register (FR) Notice 85 FR 62782 to extend through December 31, 2020 certain product exclusions previously covered by the October 2, 2019 notice (see 84 FR 52567) for Section 301 duties on China (Tranche 1 – $34B Action). This product…

On 15 October, the EU imposed Designated Party controls on six individuals and one entity in Russia under the EU’s Chemical Weapons sanctions regime for their alleged involvement in the poisoning of Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent in August 2020. The EU separately designated one Russian individual under the Libya sanctions regime, for alleged breaches of the UN arms embargo against Libya. These individuals and entities are now subject to a travel ban and…

The European Council has designated 40 individuals under its Belarus sanctions regime, amending Council Regulation (EC) 765/2006. In the UK, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) has accordingly updated the consolidated list. 5 of these individuals were already sanctioned under the UK’s Global Human Rights regime and are now subject to an asset freeze under both the UK and EU regimes. OFSI has also updated information for a further 4 individuals under the UK regime, bringing the…

On 9 October 2020, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) published its Annual Review, providing an overview of OFSI’s activities in the financial year April 2019 to March 2020. A copy of the Annual Review is available here. In addition, OFSI has reminded UK businesses that they must report any frozen assets they hold by 16 October 2020. Statistics In 2019-2020, OFSI received 140 reports of potential financial sanctions breaches, an increase from 99 previously. The…

On October 8, 2020, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) identified the Iranian financial sector as subject to Executive Order (EO) 13902 and, based on such identification, designated 18 Iranian banks. Our previous blog post on EO 13902 is available here. OFAC also issued a general license and Iran-related Frequently Asked Questions, as further described below. The action represents a significant escalation of the sanctions targeting Iran’s financial sector, yet many humanitarian transactions and activities will…

On 13 October 2020, a WTO arbitrator issued its decision on the level of countermeasures the European Union may request with respect to 16-year old dispute with the United States involving subsidies to Boeing in “United States — Measures Affecting Trade in Large Civil Aircraft — Second Complaint” (DS353). The United States had previously won a parallel case involving European subsidies to Airbus and assessed tariffs against European goods worth approximately USD 7.4 Bn. In…

On October 10, 2020, President Trump issued a Proclamation increasing the safeguard tariff on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic (CSPV) Cells. The Proclamation adjusts the duty rate of the safeguard tariff for the fourth year of the safeguard measure to 18 percent to account for the exclusion of bifacial panels from application of the safeguard tariffs, which the President said has impaired the effectiveness of the 4-year action. The proclamation eliminates the exemption for bifacial panels [currently…

On October 2, 2020, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that at the direction of President Trump, it is initiating an investigation addressing two significant issues with respect to Vietnam. USTR will investigate Vietnam’s acts, policies, and practices related to the import and use of timber that is illegally harvested or traded, and will investigate Vietnam’s acts, policies, and practices that may contribute to the undervaluation of its currency and the…

On October 7, 2020, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published in the Federal Register a notice that announces USTR’s determination to make one technical amendment to a previously announced exclusion to a Tranche 3 ($200 Bn.) product. Product exclusions for tranche 3 apply from September 24, 2018 to August 7, 2020. The amendment announced in this notice is retroactive to the date the original exclusion was published and does not further…