On April 17, 2019, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) continued its escalation of sanctions against Venezuela and Nicaragua through the designation of additional parties as Specially Designated Nationals (“SDNs”). OFAC issued two Venezuelan general licenses (“GLs”), amended certain Venezuelan GLs, and issued one FAQ, as further described below. A summary of OFAC’s measures is available here, and a related press release issued by the White House is available here.
On 21 February, 2019, the Department for International Trade (DIT) issued guidance entitled, Existing trade agreements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, which sets out the status of those agreements (free trade agreements, economic partnership agreements, association agreements and customs union) that may not be in place by exit day. It also links to trade agreements that have been signed and mutual recognition agreements that have been signed.
On November 27, 2018, the President signed Executive Order 13851 targeting Nicaragua entitled “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Nicaragua” (“Nicaragua EO”). The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) also issued a press release related to the Nicaragua EO available here, and added two close associates of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (“SDN List”) pursuant to the new Nicaragua EO, the notice for which is available here. The two new SDNs are the current Vice President of Nicaragua and President Ortega’s wife, Rosario Maria Murillo de Ortega, and President Ortega’s national security adviser, Nestor Moncada Lau.
On March 6, 2018, the Nicaraguan Government announced that it has, through the Ministry of Development, Industry and Trade (MIFIC,for its acronym in Spanish), launched a Single Window for Foreign Trade (VUCE, for its acronym in Spanish) pilot program, to enable international (cross-border) traders to submit regulatory documents at a single, online platform. This program is meant to increase the country’s international trade competitiveness and further simplify information flows between exporting companies and the government, bringing significant benefits to all parties involved. The announcement said:
On February 21, 2018, South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong signed the Korea-Central America Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with representatives from five Central American countries:
On January 24, 2018, the Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) published in the Federal Register a final rule [FAC 2005–97; FAR Case 2018–001; Docket No. 2018–0004; Sequence No. 1]
The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States 2018 Basic Edition (HTS; USITC Pub. No. 4750) was published by the US International Trade Commission. It took effect on January 1, 2018. This edition incorporates all changes to the HTS that took effect after the January 2017 printed edition was published through Presidential Proclamation 9687 of [December 22, 2017]: To Take Certain Actions Under the African Growth and Opportunity Act and for Other Purposes (82 Fed. Reg. 61413), effective January 1, 2018, and other dates specified therein. It is available either as a full document download, or a chapter-by-chapter download.
On December 28, 2017, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published in the Federal Register a notice of its determination of the trade surplus in certain sugar and syrup goods and sugar containing products of Chile, Morocco, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, Colombia and Panama. The level of a country’s trade surplus in these goods relates to the quantity of sugar and syrup goods and sugar-containing products for which the United States grants preferential tariff treatment under the applicable free trade agreements and trade promotion agreements. The notice is applicable on January 1, 2018.
On December 28, 2017, the Defense Acquisition Regulations System, Department of Defense (DoD) published in the Federal Register a final rule [Docket DARS-2017—0017] amending the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to incorporate revised thresholds for application of the WTO Government Procurement Agreement and the Free Trade Agreements, as determined by the United States Trade Representative. The thresholds are effective January 1, 2018. The thresholds are shown below:
On December 27, 2017, the Federal Register published Proclamation 9687 of December 22, 2017 – To Take Certain Actions Under the African Growth and Opportunity Act and for Other Purposes. The Proclamation: