The Treasury Department has removed the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) from its current list of countries which require or may require participation in, or cooperation with, an international boycott (within the meaning of section 999(b)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code).  Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen remain on the Treasury list.

According to the Treasury Department, the UAE has been removed from the list due to the issuance of Federal Decree-Law No. 4 of 2020, which repealed its law mandating a boycott of Israel, and the subsequent actions that the UAE government has taken to implement the new policy.  The change in law followed the 2020 normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.


Continue Reading Treasury Removes UAE From Boycott List: Possible Implications

In recent weeks, the EU, UK, and US have adopted sanctions against those allegedly involved in the military coup in Myanmar, along with those responsible for serious violations of human rights in overthrowing the democratically elected government or committing violence against protestors. The actions mark a sharp uptick in sanctions measures targeting Myanmar and suggest

Just three days before restrictions under Executive Order (EO) 13959 arising from Xiaomi Corporation’s designation by the US Department of Defense (DoD) as a Communist Chinese military company (CCMC) were to go into effect, on March 15, 2021, the US District Court for the District of Columbia granted Xiaomi’s request for a preliminary injunction order (the Court Order) against enforcement of the restrictions.

Following the Court Order, on March 14, 2021, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published a new Frequently Asked Question (“FAQ”) confirming that, for now, US persons are not prohibited from transacting in publicly traded securities of Xiaomi under EO 13959. OFAC also published a new FAQ concerning the application of EO 13959 to Luokung Technology Corp., which is also designated as a CCMC.


Continue Reading OFAC FAQs Confirm the Suspension of the Restrictions on Xiaomi’s Securities Following District Court Injunction

On March 8, 2021, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published amendments to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) imposing new export control restrictions on Myanmar (Burma) and adding four entities to the Entity List, in response to a military coup in early February 2021.

The BIS announcements follow the imposition of sanctions on 12 individuals and three entities by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), pursuant to Executive Order 14041 of February 10, 2021.

In addition to designating major military-linked commercial entities to the Entity List, the new EAR amendments make Myanmar ineligible for certain license exceptions and add Myanmar to the list of countries subject to BIS’s military end use / military end user rule (the MEU Rule)—alongside China, Russia, and Venezuela.

For background on the US government’s previous Myanmar-related measures in response to the recent coup, including Executive Order (EO) 14014, see our blog post of February 12, 2021, “Biden Administration Announces Sanctions and Export Controls in Response to Myanmar Coup.”


Continue Reading Commerce Department Issues Significant New Export Controls in Response to Myanmar Coup

On March 2, 2021, the US Departments of Treasury, State, and Commerce announced the coordinated imposition of sanctions and other restrictive measures on Russia and Russian officials and entities for the “poisoning and subsequent imprisonment of Russian opposition figure Aleksey Navalny.” The Department of the Treasury added seven Russian officials and entities to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (the SDN List) pursuant to Executive Order (EO) 13661 and EO 13382, thereby blocking their property or interests in property that come within the possession of US persons or the jurisdiction of the United States. US persons are now prohibited from engaging in transactions with these SDNs. The State Department designated seven entities under its own authority, including four that were already on the SDN List. Treasury further expanded the sanctions applied to Russia in 2018 after the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in the UK, and named six entities as operating for the Russian defense sector, triggering sanctions. The Commerce Department announced the addition of fourteen entities to the Entity List, which triggers a licensing requirement for exports, re-exports, and in-country transfers to those entities of all items subject to the US Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

Continue Reading US Applies Wide Range of Sanctions to Russian Officials and Entities

On January 19, 2021, the Department of Commerce published an Interim Final Rule (the “Rule”) setting out a more detailed regulatory structure to implement Executive Order 13873, which authorizes Commerce to prohibit or otherwise regulate transactions involving information and communications technology or services (“ICTS”) with a nexus to “foreign adversaries” that pose an “undue or unacceptable risk” to US national security.  See also our post on the predecessor proposed rule.  The stated purpose of the Rule, which bears some resemblance to (though differs in many ways from) the foreign investment review and mitigation process administered by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”), is to protect US national security through a focus on the ICTS supply chain.

The Rule identifies for the first time the following as covered “foreign adversaries”:

  1. China (including Hong Kong)
  2. Russia
  3. Cuba
  4. Iran
  5. North Korea
  6. “Venezuelan politician Nicolás Maduro (Maduro Regime)


Continue Reading Insights on the Information and Communications Technology and Services (“ICTS”) Rule

On February 11, 2021, the White House issued an Executive Order (EO) authorizing sanctions in response to the February 1, 2021, military coup in Myanmar (Burma). The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) named ten individuals and three entities as Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) pursuant to the EO. At the same time, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced new restrictions on certain exports to Myanmar of items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

This is the first new sanctions program adopted under the Biden administration, less than one month after the inauguration. Prior US sanctions and export controls targeting Myanmar were terminated in October 2016. Since then, the United States continued to maintain targeted sanctions against certain individuals and entities under other sanctions programs, including a number of SDNs named under the Global Magnitsky Sanctions program.


Continue Reading Biden Administration Announces Sanctions and Export Controls in Response to Myanmar Coup

The Chinese government has enacted new “blocking” rules to counteract extraterritorial application of certain foreign laws that it deems unjustifiable. On January 9, 2021, China’s Ministry of Commerce issued its No. 1 order of 2021— the Rules on Counteracting Unjustified Extraterritorial Application of Foreign Legislation and Other Measures (the Blocking Rules).

This Client Alert outlines

On January 19, 2021, President Trump issued Executive Order (EO) 13984, “Taking Additional Steps To Address the National Emergency With Respect to Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities” (86 Fed. Reg. 6,837 (Jan. 25, 2021)), taking further action under the national emergency declared by President Obama in Executive Order 13694 of April 1, 2015.  EO 13984 directs the US Department of Commerce (Commerce) to: (1) promulgate know-your-customer (KYC)-type identification and recordkeeping obligations on US “Infrastructure as a Service” (IaaS) providers engaging in foreign transactions, and (2) consult with other US government agencies to impose “special measures,” i.e., restrictions, on foreign jurisdictions and persons, i.e., actors, determined to be using US IaaS to engage in significant malicious cyber activities.

The EO describes IaaS as “products to provide persons the ability to run software and store data on servers offered for rent or lease without responsibility for the maintenance and operating costs of those servers,” and includes a lengthy definition of different types of IaaS products that are covered by the EO. Although some reports have focused on the impact that EO 13984 may have on cloud service providers, the EO’s broad definition for IaaS could sweep in other information technology service providers operating in the US.

The EO is not effective immediately, and may not go into effect for several months or longer.  The EO directs Commerce “to propose for notice and comment” regulations within 180 days implementing the KYC and “special measures” directives described above.  In addition, EO 13984 was issued by President Trump at the very end of his administration, and it is possible that the Biden Administration will delay implementation for a longer period of time as it reviews the legal and policy implications of the EO.


Continue Reading US Infrastructure as a Service Providers (IaaS) – New Know-Your-Customer Requirements?

On January 19, 2021, the European Commission presented a Communication setting out a strategy to stimulate the openness, strength, and resilience of the European Union’s economic and financial system.

An important part of this Communication concerns EU sanctions, in particular:

  1. the implementation and enforcement of EU sanctions regimes.
  2. the EU’s resilience to the effects of