Anthony Rapa

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President Trump Issues Venezuela-Related Executive Order

On May 21, 2018, President Trump issued a new executive order prohibiting certain transactions benefitting the government of Venezuela.  The order prohibits all transactions related to, provision of financing for, and other dealings in: (i) the purchase of any debt owed to the Government of Venezuela, including accounts receivable, (ii) any debt owed to the … Continue Reading

Russia Sanctions: General Licenses, Deadlines, Russian Counter-Measures– What’s the Latest?

As the world turns… There have been several key developments recently in the Russia sanctions context: Issuance of General License 15.  This general license, issued May 22, authorizes maintenance and winding down of pre-April 6 business with GAZ Group and its subsidiaries through October 23.  The authorization is similar in scope to General License 14, issued on … Continue Reading

OFAC Issues General License Extending Authorization for Dealings with GAZ Group

Yesterday, OFAC issued General License No. 15 under the Ukraine-Related Sanctions Regulations (31 C.F.R. Part 589), authorizing the maintenance or wind-down of pre-April 6 contracts with GAZ Group and its subsidiaries through October 23, 2018.  Previously, such activity with GAZ Group was permitted only through June 5, 2018 as per General License No. 12B (which … Continue Reading

Unmanned Systems and Export Controls: What Your Company Needs to Know

Steptoe’s Anthony Rapa authored a piece titled “Unmanned Systems and Export Controls: What Your Company Needs to Know” for the May 2018 edition of Unmanned Systems magazine. The article gives an overview of US commercial and military export controls, discusses the application of export controls to unmanned systems, and offers tips for complying with these … Continue Reading

EU Moves to Reactivate Blocking Statute, Launches Other Initiatives Regarding Iran

Here’s the official press release.  The EU Blocking Regulation, which in its heyday was only sparingly (if ever) enforced with respect to Iran, is now coming to the fore as one of the European Union’s key  tools to help EU companies cope with President Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA.  The European Union also announced other … Continue Reading

The Plot Thickens: EU Prepares to Invoke Blocking Regulation in Response to U.S. Withdrawal from JCPOA

As the world seeks to come to grips with President Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA, it appears that the European Union will play one of its strongest cards by invoking its “Blocking Regulation“, which would prohibit European companies from complying with U.S. sanctions against Iran.  European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had this to say: As the … Continue Reading

OFAC Issues General License Extending Maintenance / Wind-Down Period for Rusal Dealings

On Monday, OFAC issued General License No. 14 under the Ukraine-Related Sanctions Regulations (URSR), authorizing the maintenance or winding down of business with United Company Rusal plc (Rusal) through October 23, 2018.  The imposition of sanctions on Rusal, which OFAC listed as a Specially Designated National (SDN) on April 6, had roiled the global aluminum market and … Continue Reading

OFAC Sanctions Russian Oligarchs and Major Russian Companies

Today, the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated several Russian individuals and companies as Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs).  Specifically, in response to what Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin described as Russia’s “malign activity”, OFAC indicated that it sanctioned seven Russian oligarchs and 12 companies they own or control, 17 senior Russian … Continue Reading

Newly Introduced Sanctions Bill Targets IRGC

On March 1, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and the committee’s ranking Democrat, Eliot Engel (D-NY), introduced bipartisan legislation targeting Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (“IRGC”), a branch of Iran’s armed forces considered responsible for much of Iran’s international terrorism and domestic repression.  The new bill, known as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard … Continue Reading

OFAC Publishes FAQs on New Debt and Late Payments Under Venezuelan Sanctions Regime

On February 12, 2018, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) published new frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) regarding the meaning of “new debt” under Executive Order (“EO”) 13808 and the receipt of certain late payments from the Government of Venezuela (“GoV”) and Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (“PdVSA”). EO 13808 prohibits “all … Continue Reading

Russia Sanctions: Amended OFAC Directive 4 Effective Today

Today is the effective date of the expanded sanctions set out in Directive 4 under the U.S. Russia sanctions program, as amended by the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on October 31, 2017.  The amendment implemented Section 223 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), signed into law … Continue Reading

What if President Trump Refuses to Renew Iran Sanctions Waivers?

Last week, while reluctantly renewing waivers of statutory sanctions against Iran, President Trump issued an ultimatum: Either the United States’ European allies negotiate a “supplemental agreement” that strengthens the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement and targets Iran’s ballistic missile program, or the United States will no longer waive sanctions against Iran.  The President’s … Continue Reading

Trump Designates North Korea as a ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism,’ Makes Additional Sanctions Designations

On November 20, 2017, President Trump announced that North Korea would be designated a “state sponsor of terrorism.”  The only other countries with this designation are Syria, Iran, and Sudan.  The president also stated that the United States would announce the imposition of additional sanctions on Pyongyang.  The next day, the US Department of the … Continue Reading

Russian Sanctions Update: OFAC Amends Directive 4 and Updates FAQ Guidance

On October 31, 2017, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took a number of actions to implement the Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act (CRIEEA) (also known as the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), a larger sanctions statute of which CRIEEA was a part).  As part of this, OFAC amended Directive … Continue Reading

President Trump Outlines New Strategic Approach Regarding Iran

In a speech today, President Trump announced the result of his Administration’s strategic review of foreign policy towards Iran, including the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) implemented by the Obama administration in January 2016.  As set out in a White House fact sheet, the Trump Administration will seek to expand the focus of U.S. … Continue Reading

Bank Warranties: The Other Sanctions Regulations

Imagine, for a moment, that your company has achieved a state of compliance nirvana. Through the diligent efforts of compliance personnel and counsel, the company has assessed its economic sanctions and export control risks, implemented policies and procedures to prevent unlawful activity, and provided compliance training to employees.  With those measures in place, the company … Continue Reading

EU Raises Specter of Blocking Regulation as Trump Administration Ponders JCPOA

In a panel hosted by the Atlantic Council last week, the EU Ambassador to the United States, David O’Sullivan, stated that the European Union could block U.S. sanctions on Iran if the United States pulls out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”). The U.S. Congress built in a requirement under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review … Continue Reading

Settlement Points to Potentially Expansive View of Importation of Iranian Services by OFAC

On August 10, 2017, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced a settlement with IPSA International Services, Inc. (“IPSA”) to resolve apparent violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (“ITSR”).   The apparent violations include importation of Iranian-origin services in violation of § 560.201 and engagement in transactions or dealings related … Continue Reading

WorldECR Publishes Article on EAR License Exceptions

Steptoe’s Ed Krauland and Anthony Rapa authored an article on Export Administration Regulations (EAR) license exceptions published in WorldECR’s July 2017 issue. The article discusses the pros and cons of license exceptions, which can offer exporters a host of cost, time, and efficiency benefits. They argue that, when mastered, these license exceptions can be a … Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Firms can be Sued in Human Rights Cases

The unsettled question of whether corporations may be held liable for international human rights abuses may finally, after a tortuous deviation, be addressed by the Supreme Court in the case of Jesner v. Arab Bank. The case, on appeal from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York, contains allegations … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Recertifies Iran’s Compliance with Nuclear Deal, Imposes Sanctions on IRGC-Linked Individuals and Entities

The Iran nuclear deal lives to see another day—but President Trump continues to express deep reservations regarding the agreement. Iran Nuclear Deal Certification On Monday, the Trump Administration reportedly certified Iran’s compliance with its nuclear-related obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement, as required under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA). … Continue Reading

BIS Amends EAR Based on Missile Technology Control Regime Plenary Agreements

On July 7, 2017, the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) published a final rule amending the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) based on the 2016 Missile Technology Control Regime (“MTCR”) plenary agreements. The MTCR is a multilateral export control regime designed to control the export of certain goods and technology that … Continue Reading
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