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Trade Policy

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On 19 April 2021, the UK Government announced that the UK and Serbia signed a Partnership, Trade and Cooperation Agreement to ensure £682m trade can continue and grow between the two countries. The announcement said: The Agreement secures continued preferential trade access between the UK and Serbia with significant savings for business to support jobs and the wider economy. It also sets out how the two countries will strengthen political, economic, security and cultural ties,…

In the past several days, the US Government has issued a slew of sanctions measures targeting Russia. These represent the first major escalation of sanctions against Russia under the Biden Administration and, according to a White House Fact Sheet, are stated to be in response to Russia’s “harmful foreign activities,” including efforts to undermine free and fair democratic elections and institutions, malicious cyber activities (including the recent SolarWinds incident), transnational corruption, targeting of dissidents and journalists,…

On April 9, 2021, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published a final rule (“Final Rule”) in the Federal Register to add seven Chinese parties (together, the “Designees”) to the Entity List. The Final Rule took effect on April 8, 2021. According to the Final Rule and the Commerce Department’s press release, the Designees were added to the Entity List because they have procured US-origin items for use in building supercomputers that are used to support…

On April 8, 2021, the US Treasury Department published an updated List of Countries Requiring Cooperation With An International Boycott (the “Treasury List”). Significantly, Treasury announced that it had removed the UAE from the Treasury List following the UAE’s repeal of its law requiring participation with the Arab League Boycott of Israel and subsequent implementation of the new policy. In connection with its establishment of full diplomatic ties with Israel last year under the UAE-Israel Abraham Accords,…

Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry announced that on 9 April 2021, Singapore deposited its instrument of ratification with the Secretary-General of ASEAN and became the first country to complete the official process for ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement. It is understood that China, Japan and Thailand completed their domestic procedures to approve RCEP, but apparently have not deposited their instruments of ratification with ASEAN. RCEP is the world’s largest free trade agreement and…

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the US State Department (State), and the US Commerce Department (Commerce) issued rules adjusting maximum civil monetary penalties (CMPs) under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (FCA), as outlined below. (For additional years of CMPs, see our previous blog post available here.) OFAC CMP Adjustments Under OFAC’s final rule published on March 17, 2021, the adjusted penalties apply to CMPs that are assessed…

Under the Russian encryption regulations, notification to, or registration with, the Russian Federal Security Service (the FSB) is required in order to import and distribute foreign products (hardware and software) with encryption functions or features in the Russian Federation. Although the FSB is a sanctioned party, listed on the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) list of specially designated nationals and blocked persons (the “OFAC SDN List”) pursuant to the Cyber-Related Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R.…

The UK Export Control Joint Unit has published a revised guidance note on exporting military or dual-use technology. This guidance clarifies a number of common queries regarding technology exports, particularly around the use of cloud storage and remote data infrastructure through which information could be routed. The guidance also addresses the application of the special arrangements in Northern Ireland under the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement. The guidance affirms the position on how key definitions and concepts in UK…

On April 9, 2021, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) strengthened restrictions targeting Burma by adding Burma to the list of countries subject to the Export Administration Regulations’ (EAR’s) military-intelligence end-use and end-user controls and controls on certain support activities by US persons (“Interim Final Rule“). These controls were first issued on January 15, 2021 (“January Rule“), and became effective March 16, 2021.  Our blog posts on other recent sanctions targeting Burma…

Global Affairs Canada announced that the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement (Canada-UK TCA) entered into force on April 1, 2021 – preserving preferential market access for both Canadian and UK businesses. Resources: The full text of the Canada-UK TCA may be found here.A Joint Interpretative Instrument. Statement by Canada and the UK interpreting the Canada-UK TCA provisions.Chapter summaries – Chapter-by-chapter guide to the Canada-UK TCA key provisions.Economic Impact Assessment – Assessmentconducted by the Office of…