On Friday, May 1, President Trump issued an Executive Order declaring a national emergency with respect to the threat posed to the United States bulk-power system by certain equipment potentially liable to exploitation by “foreign adversaries.” Under the Executive Order, certain foreign-supplied equipment used in the US bulk-power system will be subject to US government

On May 29, 2020, President Trump announced in a White House news conference that the US government would begin taking steps to revoke the “full range of agreements” providing the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China separate treatment under US law on topics including customs, extradition, and export controls “with few exceptions.” The United States also plans to sanction Chinese and Hong Kong officials “directly or indirectly involved in eroding” Hong Kong’s autonomy, the President announced.

The President’s announcement contained few specifics on the proposed measures or a timeline for their implementation. We anticipate additional guidance and actions from the US Departments of State, Treasury, and Commerce in the coming days and weeks.  

Continue Reading United States to Take Steps to Revoke Hong Kong’s Separate Status, Impose Sanctions and Enhanced Export Controls after Beijing National Security Vote

On May 26, 2020, the European Commission announced that it would not prolong the Export Authorization Scheme for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) it had put in place due to the COVID-19 crisis. The Commission explained that the scheme has “served its purpose” in ensuring adequacy of supply of PPE in the EU. The measures ceased to apply on the same day.

Since April 26, 2020, exporters have requested more than 1,300 authorizations, of which 95% have been approved. As a result, over 13 million protective masks, around 1 million protective garments and over 350,000 protective masks and visors have been exported from the EU since April 16.

Continue Reading EU Ends Export Authorization Scheme for Personal Protective Equipment

On May 19, the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published a new interim final rule, retroactively effective on May 15, amending the Foreign-Produced Direct Product Rule (FPDP) under the US Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The new rule expands the jurisdictional scope of the EAR and restricts the non-US supply

The European Commission has published a Guidance Note on how humanitarian aid related to COVID-19 can be provided to countries and areas that are subject to EU sanctions. The Note provides practical help, in the form of questions and answers (Q&As), on how to comply with EU sanctions when providing humanitarian aid, such as medical assistance and supplies, to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The first version of the Guidance Note covers Syria. The Commission will update it with further information on other countries subject to EU sanctions, including Yemen, Somalia and North Korea.

EU sanctions targeting Syria are set out in Council Regulation (EU) No 36/2012 – as periodically amended – and consist of a number of sectoral restrictions, such as a prohibition on exporting goods or technology which might be used for internal repression, including chemicals used in chemical attacks, and a prohibition on the local purchase and import of petroleum products. The EU framework provides for a number of exceptions, notably for humanitarian purposes. It also includes individual designations entailing notably the freezing of funds or economic resources of certain persons, entities and bodies (“designated persons”).

Continue Reading European Commission publishes Guidance on the provision of humanitarian aid to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in countries subject to EU sanctions

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, the EU introduced measures requiring that exports to non-EU countries of some personal protective equipment (PPE) be subject to authorization (see our previous alert). The European Commission now announced the prolongation of these measures until 25 May 2020 and issued a modified Implementing Regulation. The adjustments result from a careful evaluation of needs signaled by EU Member States and include the following:

Continue Reading EU Prolongs and Adjusts Export Authorization Scheme for Personal Protective Equipment

Update: On May 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (“DDTC”) will publish a Federal Register notice that updates DDTC’s April 23 web notice, providing certain types of flexibility in licensing, registration, disclosures and other matters under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) in light of the COVID-19 epidemic.  Most notably, the April 23 web notice did not mention any leniency for ITAR agreements, such as Technical Assistance Agreements (“TAAs”) and Manufacturing License Agreements (“MLAs”).  But the Federal Register notice does address TAAs and MLAs, saying it will “extend any license or agreement that expires between March 13, 2020 and May 31, 2020 – for six (6) months from the original date of expiration so long as there is no change to the scope or value of the authorization and no Name/Address changes are required.”   

On April 23, 2020, the U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (“DDTC”) announced on the DDTC home page that, because of the COVID-19 epidemic, it would provide limited relief with respect to certain deadlines and fees for registration, licensing and disclosures under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”).  DDTC is also providing limited additional flexibility to account for remote work by employees and contractors and communication with DDTC by email.

Continue Reading Update: More Flexible Policies Announced under the ITAR due to COVID-19

Update: On April 27, 2020, CBP issued a set of frequently asked questions for exporters about the temporary rule issued by FEMA on April 10, 2020 requiring FEMA’s approval for exports from the United States of five types of PPE. Click here to read the CBP frequently asked questions.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) announced in an April 10, 2020 Federal Register notice that exporters will require approval from FEMA to export from the United States five types of personal protective equipment (“PPE”), subject to an exemption for certain continuous exports. The rule is effective from April 7, 2020 through August 10, 2020.

Under the rule, Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) will temporarily detain any shipment of covered gloves, masks, or respirators, as defined below, to allow FEMA to determine which PPE to return for domestic use and purchase by FEMA or to allow, in whole or in part, to be exported from the United States. FEMA will make these determinations “within a reasonable time of being notified of an intended shipment.”

Continue Reading FEMA Restricts Exports from US of Personal Protective Equipment, Until August 10, 2020

Today, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) is publishing a new set of regulations tightening export controls on China, Russia and Venezuela (the new “Rule”).  The new Rule will take effect on June 29, 2020, and will apply to goods, software and technology subject to U.S. export controls jurisdiction – it will not be limited to U.S. persons.

The most significant parts of this new Rule will increase the licensing requirements and due diligence expectations that apply to trade with China, Russia and Venezuela under the U.S. Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) when “military end users” or “military end uses” are involved.  However, in light of the way these terms are defined, industry should note that the impact of this new Rule will extend into many areas of commercial technology and trade with these countries, beyond the defense sector.

In two additional rulemakings published today, BIS is removing one license exception under the EAR (CIV) and proposing to modify another EAR license exception (APR).

Continue Reading Commerce Issues Long-Awaited Export Control Rules for China, Russia and Venezuela

On March 9, 2020, a new US federal firearms export control rule (the Rule) that has been in the works for many years went into effect, changing the way the United States regulates international trade in firearms, guns, ammunition and related articles. Essentially, the Rule makes the US Commerce Department responsible for the regulation of most commercially available firearms exports and enforcement of those regulations, rather than the US State Department. While the Rule should come as a welcome relief to firearms manufacturers and dealers, as it will reduce the procedural burdens and costs of export compliance, it does not deregulate the items transferred to Commerce. In fact, Commerce is expected to be just as exacting in its civil/administrative regulation of the firearms trade, and just as tough in criminal enforcement.

Continue Reading US Civilian Firearms Exporters Take Heed as Commerce Department Takes Lead Over Enforcement under New Rule