On April 15, 2018, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) issued a denial order against ZTE Corporation and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd. (collectively “ZTE”), effectively banning U.S. companies from providing components to ZTE  because the company had failed to comply with the terms of a disciplinary agreement reached in March 2017 arising from violations of U.S. export control restrictions against Iran and North Korea. It is estimated that U.S. companies provide nearly 25-30 percent of the components used in ZTE products. ZTE’s U.S. subsidiary advertises that it has been ranked by independent industry analysts as the fourth-largest supplier of mobile devices in the U.S. overall and second-largest supplier of prepaid devices.

Continue Reading U.S. Commerce Department Rescinds Export Privileges for China’s ZTE

Stainless steel factoryThe Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it had reached an agreement with South Korea to provide the country with a long term exemption from the 25 percent tariff on steel products imposed by the President under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1862). Instead,

On Friday, February 23, 2018, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) imposed blocking sanctions against one individual, twenty-seven entities and twenty-eight vessels known to have previously provided maritime support to North Korean coal and petroleum transactions. OFAC added the individuals, entities and vessels to its Specially Designated Nationals List (the “SDN List”), which will generally prohibit the fifty-six sanctioned parties from transacting with the United States or any United States person.

Continue Reading OFAC Issues Additional North Korean Sanctions and Guidance for Shipping Companies

bankOn Tuesday, September 26, the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department announced new sanctions on banks and representatives linked to North Korean financial networks. These sanctions come as a response to North Korea’s violations of UN resolutions and attempts to develop nuclear weapons.

OFAC identified 26 North Korean nationals working in China, Russia, Libya, and the UAE as representatives of North Korean banks. In addition, eight financial institutions were added to the Specially Designated Nationals list, several of which have branches in China.


Continue Reading OFAC Implements New Sanctions on North Korean Banking

White HouseOn Thursday, September 21, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order imposing new sanctions on North Korea designed to curb its nuclear weapons program. President Trump, along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, announced the sanctions at a United Nations luncheon.

The President said he had authorized the U.S. Department of Treasury to “target any individual or entity that conducts trade in goods, services or technology” with North Korea. The sanctions are also intended to disrupt shipping from North Korea by prohibiting aircraft and vessels that have been to North Korea within 180 days to call at a port or land in the United States.


Continue Reading Trump Announces New Sanctions on North Korea

White HouseOn Tuesday, August 22, the Trump Administration unveiled new sanctions against Chinese and Russian individuals and entities in order to restrain North Korea’s development of its nuclear and missile programs. The United States Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) added ten companies and six individuals accused of trading coal, oil, and mineral resources with North Korea to its Specially Designated Nationals List. The Department of Treasury says that North Korea generates nearly $1 billion a year in coal exports and imposed sanctions on three Chinese companies that it determined to have imported North Korean coal between 2013 and 2016.

Continue Reading Trump Imposes Sanctions on China and Russia to Restrain North Korea’s Weapons Program

flagsOn August 14, 2017, the Trump Administration moved toward self-initiating a case against China under section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. That legal provision is broad, and  authorizes the President to “take all appropriate action, including retaliation, to obtain the removal of any act, policy, or practice of a foreign government that violates an international trade agreement or is unjustified, unreasonable, or discriminatory, and that burdens or restricts U.S. commerce.” Past administrations have been hesitant to use the broad powers of the act to impose additional tariffs and quotas due largely to the possibility of retaliation and the uncertain effect on US companies. The Trump Administration announced that it was using the broad statute to zero in on issues involving U.S. intellectual property rights, theft of such trade secrets, and pressures by China forcing U.S. companies to transfer technological knowledge before setting up operations in China.


Continue Reading Trump Administration Moves Forward on Case That Could Affect All Chinese Imports

White HouseToday, President Trump officially signed H.R. 3364, the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (CAATSA) into law. CAATSA originated as a bill which was focused on only Iran. However, partially in response to Russian cyber-interference with the 2016 election, the Senate expanded CAATSA to impose additional sanctions against Russia and also codify into law various sanctions imposed by the Obama Administration in the form of Executive Orders. The House of Representatives then approved these additions and added further sanctions against North Korea. Eventually, the House and Senate approved the final version of CAATSA by a margin of 419-3 and 98-2, respectively. For additional detail on CAATSA’s legislative history, please see our previous alerts here, here and here.

Continue Reading President Signs Russian, Iran and North Korea Sanctions Legislation into Law

chinaReports from numerous sources, including the New York Times and Politico, indicate that the Trump Administration is on the verge of self-initiating a case against China under section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. That legal provision is broad, and authorizes the President to “take all appropriate action, including retaliation, to obtain the removal of any act, policy, or practice of a foreign government that violates an international trade agreement or is unjustified, unreasonable, or discriminatory, and that burdens or restricts U.S. commerce.” Past administrations have been hesitant to use the broad powers of the act to impose additional tariffs and quotas due largely to the possibility of retaliation and the uncertain effect on US companies. It appears that the Trump Administration may have a very different attitude toward such risks.

Continue Reading Trump Administration Appears To Be Close To Initiating A Major Case That Could Affect All Chinese Imports

White HouseLast night, Thursday, July 27, the U.S. Senate voted to pass the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” by a vote of 98-2. The House of Representatives passed the bill on Tuesday after adding in new sanctions against North Korea. Among other things, the legislation would impose additional sanctions against Russia and restrict President Trump’s ability to withdraw or relax previous Russian sanctions imposed by the Obama Administration.  To learn more about the bill, please see our July 26th post. The Senate created the bill back in June, where it also passed 98-2, before sending it to the House. Despite reports that the addition of North Korea would result in a delay from the Senate, the Senate passed it just over 48 hours after the House.

Continue Reading Senate Sends Russian Sanctions Bill to the President