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In keeping with the continued efforts of the White House to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba, the United States recently modified its stance on travel to Cuba and eased certain export restrictions.  Reed Smith’s International Trade & National Security team has authored a client alert that summarizes the policy amendments, and explains the implications for businesses and investors engaging in business with Cuba. For more information on this topic, please click here.…
In keeping with the Obama Administration’s efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, the U.S. government is making further amendments to CACR and EAR.  While the overall embargo is still in place, these amendments will lessen the degree of various restrictions.  The effects will be seen in areas including travel, telecommunications and internet-based services, commercial and financial transactions, physical presence and operations, support for the Cuban people, and remittances.  The amendments are being put into effect today,…
On February 27, 2015, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) announced a $1.5 million civil penalty against the First National Community Bank of Dunmore, Pennsylvania (“FNCB”), arising from FNCB’s admission that it violated the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) by failing to detect and report suspicious financial transactions. The penalty is concurrent with a $500,000 penalty and remedies imposed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for related BSA violations. This penalty highlights the…
On February 18, 2015 the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) and Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) published changes to the Export Administration Regulation (“EAR”) and the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations (“SSR”) in order to advance the free flow of information and facilitate communications by the Sudanese people. OFAC’s changes are consistent and nearly identical to its personal communications general license for Iran, first issued on May 30, 2013 and revised…
This post was also written by Alexandra E. Allan, Laith Najjar, Tom C. Evans On 24 November 2013, an agreement was reached between the E3+3 (also known as the P5+1, and which includes the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China, France and Germany) and Iran. This agreement, known as the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), was the result of negotiations the aim of which was “to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iran’s…
On August 13, 2014, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) revised its guidance on the status of entities owned by persons designated on the Specially Designated Nationals List (“SDN List”).  Under the new guidance, OFAC will consider an entity to be blocked if it is 50 percent or more owned, directly or indirectly, in the aggregate by one or more SDNs. This rule applies even if the entity is not itself listed on the…
On April 28, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced a new licensing policy restricting exports of “dual use” items that could contribute to Russia’s military capabilities.  Effective immediately, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) will deny new and pending export license applications to Russia or occupied Crimea of high-technology items that could benefit Russia’s military.  BIS is also taking actions to revoke existing export licenses meeting these same criteria.  All other export…
On March 19, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued a general license under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations that authorizes several specific forms of academic exchanges with Iran. The newly issued general license – General License G (the “License”) – authorizes qualifying U.S. colleges and universities to engage in certain transactions related to Iranian students and educators. Additionally, the License makes provisions for U.S. persons to participate in certain educational activities in…
On November 23, 2013, the White House issued a Press Release (“the Announcement”)  outlining the first of a two-step negotiation process between Iran and the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China (the “P5+1”).  The Announcement calls for the P5+1 countries to provide limited sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for Iran’s commitment to reduce its enriched uranium efforts. Persons and entities subject to the jurisdiction of the United States will experience…
This post was also written by Gunjan Talati and Joelle E.K. Laszlo. Guilt by association seems to be a growing trend in government contracts. Under this trend, states are starting to use their contracting authority to promote U.S. foreign policy and impose mandatory debarment for policy violators. In the latest example, companies doing business with Michigan must now be sure to stay away from business dealings with Iran, or they could find themselves debarred from state…