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Global Trade and Investment

  • Four China Nuclear Industry Companies Added to “Entity List”

    On August 14, 2019, the U.S. Commerce Department added China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) and three of its affiliates, China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC), China Nuclear Power Technology Research Institute Co. Ltd., and Suzhou Nuclear Power Research Institute Co. Ltd., to the Commerce Department’s “Entity List.” Effective immediately, both U.S. and non-U.S. companies are prohibited from exporting or transferring to the listed Chinese entities any goods, software or technology that is subject to control under the U.S. Export Administrations Regulations (EAR) (including EAR99 items not on the Commerce Control List). Licenses from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) are subject to a presumption of denial.

  • The Qualified Opportunity Zone Program: Thoughts on the Long-Awaited Treasury Guidance

    Section 13823 of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, P.L. No. 115-97 (2017) added Sections 1400Z-1 and 1400Z-2 to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). These provisions created the Qualified Opportunity Zone (“QOZ”) program that has recently generated such a wave of media attention that one might surmise President Trump had sent an angry late-night tweet about it.

  • Pillsbury's Post-Election Outlook

    The 2018 Midterm Election played out as most poll forecasters speculated. Although several races have yet to be decided, Republicans have retained control of the Senate, but lost at least 29 seats, allowing the Democrats to wrest back control of the House for the first time since 2010.

  • 2018 Election Night Guide

    Pillsbury’s Political Law and Public Policy groups break down the need-to-know numbers for this year’s election. Pillsbury’s biennial Election Night Guide examines the potential outcomes for the 2018 Congressional and Governor’s races. Our Public Policy team is also preparing a post-election guide that will be useful in navigating potential changes in Congress.

  • Fall 2018 CFIUS Briefing

    Many US-China deals are still getting done, but there is no question the challenges facing those deals has increased over recent months. Relatively few transactions have emerged from the CFIUS process since earlier this year; some have cleared and some have not. Our review of publicly available information indicates that the clearance rate for US-China deals since the Trump Administration took office has fallen from about 55% earlier this year to about 50%, but two very high-profile deals received approval (an acquisition by COSCO which involved a pier in Long Beach Harbor, and China Oceanwide’s acquisition of Genworth Financial). We continue to believe that careful selection of target assets, early risk assessment, and transparent filings with CFIUS will still allow many if not most deals to get through.

  • Congress Reaches Agreement on CFIUS Reform Legislation Broadening National Security Reviews and Addressing Emerging Technologies

    House and Senate negotiators have agreed on proposed reforms to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) foreign investment review process, which has been added as Title XVII of the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The final bill makes a number of changes intended to improve the efficiency of national security reviews and investigations, although a significant increase in staff and funding will be required in order to handle the increased caseload. Importantly, outbound technology transfers in the context of joint ventures and other collaborative arrangements will not be added to the “covered transaction” definition, but will instead be addressed by U.S. export controls.

  • The UK’s Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act Enters into Law

    On 23 May 2018, the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act became law in the United Kingdom. Its aim is to provide a legal framework to allow the UK to impose sanctions and implement its own sanctions regime once the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019. However, the Bill goes well beyond any current EU sanctions regime and provides scope for the Government to shape an autonomous UK sanctions policy

  • Car Wars: Trump Administration Opens Section 232 Investigation into Imports of Autos and Auto Parts

    On May 23, 2018, as directed by President Trump, the Secretary of Commerce initiated a Section 232 investigation into whether imports of automobiles, including SUVs, vans, light trucks and automotive parts, threaten to impair national security. President Trump reportedly is contemplating tariffs as high as 25% on automobile imports, similar to the tariff imposed a result of its recent 232 action on steel imports.

  • With CDD and Beneficial Ownership Rule in Effect, FinCEN Continues to Clarify and Refine Rules for Financial Institutions

    Long awaited rules for “Customer Due Diligence Requirements for Financial Institutions” (the CDD Rules) went into effect on May 11, 2018. FinCEN has taken steps to clarify and refine implementation of the CDD Rules, issuing (1) FAQs on April 3, 2018 and (2) a ruling on May 16, 2018 providing covered financial institutions with a limited 90-day exceptive relief from the obligations for financial products and services that are subject to automatic renewals, provided such products were established before May 11, 2018.

  • US Announces Withdrawal from JCPOA

    Today, President Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and to impose the “highest level of economic sanctions” on Iran. The Office of Foreign Assets Control quickly thereafter published FAQs that discuss how the sanctions will be implemented.

  • USTR to Review India’s Eligibility for Continued Preferential Tariff Access Under the GSP Program

    The United States Trade Representative announced it will review India’s eligibility to continue receiving treatment as a beneficiary country under the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences program. India is by far the largest beneficiary of the GSP program.

  • Russia’s State Duma Introduces Draft Law to Counter U.S. Sanctions

    Lawmakers in State Duma—a lower house of the Russian Federal Assembly—have introduced legislation to counter recent U.S. sanctions, setting out a broad menu of prohibitions, from import and services restrictions to individual bans.

  • Trump Administration Considering Use of IEEPA To Restrict U.S. Technology Transfer to China

    Reports suggest that the Trump Administration may declare an emergency under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to grant the CFIUS authority to review technology transfer transactions even where there is no transfer of “control.”

  • Spring 2018 CFIUS Briefing

    How can parties help CFIUS say “yes?” The key is to begin with the data, identify problems early, and be proactive.

  • Treasury Department Designates Russian Oligarchs, Officials, and Entities

    The Treasury Department's April 6 placement of several prominent Russian individuals and companies on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons lists promises to be more commercially disruptive for western companies than most past listings.

  • Trump Administration Takes Action Following Section 301 Investigation

    President Trump’s latest directives regarding the USTR’s Section 301 investigation into China has wide-ranging implications for in-bound Chinese investment. Here’s what you need to know.

  • CFIUS and China: Separating Fact from Fiction

    It's true that a few high-profile deals have been abandoned due to CFIUS concerns. But many other transactions--including three recent ones involving Chinese acquirers--have been cleared.

  • Status of the Iran Nuclear Deal and New Sanctions Designations

    In a statement, President Trump warned European allies that unless they fix these four flaws in the Iran nuclear deal, the U.S. intends to withdraw from it. 

  • U.S. Targets Human Rights Abusers and Corrupt Actors Worldwide – Key Takeaways from the Potent New Sanctions

    Executive Order 13818 authorizes the imposition of sanctions on individuals worldwide connected with “serious human rights abuse,” corruption, or “the transfer or the facilitation of the transfer of the proceeds of corruption.” Here is what businesses need to know.

  • Update on U.S. Investigation of China’s IP Practices

    The U.S. Trade Representative is expected to announce affirmative findings and remedy recommendations regarding China's alleged violation of Section 301(b)(1) of the Trade Act. What happens next?

  • Large Whistleblower Award to Non U.S. Person – Lessons for Anti-Corruption Compliance Programs

    Increasingly, The SEC is being alerted to securities fraud by whistleblowers living in foreign countries. It is a trend that only further incentivizes sound compliance.

  • Retroactive Corporate Liability for Human Rights Abuses

    Section 13 of the Criminal Finances Act 2017 is now in effect in the United Kingdom, meaning companies have far greater liability for human rights violations.

  • CBP Takes Measures to Enforce Ban on Imports Made with Forced Labor and Sanctions for Forced North Korean Labor in Supply Chains

    With a renewed focus on enforcing its ban on imports of forced labor, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has taken new measures so importers don't run afoul.

  • Three Key Aspects of the Proposed Reform to the CFIUS Process

    A bill updating the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. and the national security review process has been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate. Here's what you need to know.

  • Reaching for a Rarely Used Tool to Probe China IP Practices

    President Trump has repeatedly express concern about China's trade practices, most notably its technology transfer requirements. Now the U.S. Trade Representative is employing a rarely used tool to investigate.

  • Evolving U.S. and UN Sanctions Against North Korea

    The U.S. and UN have imposed a number of sanctions on North Korea since the middle of 2017. Here is a summary of all the key pronouncements.

  • U.S. Government Agencies Publish Changes to Cuba Sanctions Program Pursuant to President Trump’s Policy Announcement

    The U.S. government has announced a number of changes to its sanctions program in Cuba, adjusting some of the broader reforms initiated during the previous administration.

  • Russia Sanctions Under CAATSA – U.S. Updates Rules and Provides Guidance on Enforcement

    U.S. efforts to advance sections of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (CAATSA) will impact the implementation and enforcement of Russia-related sanctions.

  • Another Market Opens: U.S. Revokes Sudanese Sanctions Program Though Important Limitations Remain in Place

    The U.S. government has revoked sanctions regulations in recognition of Sudan’s sustained positive actions in stopping conflict and improving humanitarian access. However, since Sudan remains designated as a “State Sponsor of Terrorism,” key restrictions remain and companies must continue to abide by applicable anti-corruption and anti-money laundering laws.

  • President Trump Issues Executive Order Blocking Proposed Acquisition of Lattice Semiconductor

    For only the fourth time in 30 years, the President blocked the proposed acquisition of a U.S. company following a review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The alert explains the reasoning behind the Executive Order that prevented a Chinese consortium from acquiring a U.S. semiconductor company at a time when concerns about Chinese investment in the United States are growing.

  • New Executive Order Imposes Further Sanctions on Venezuela

    On August 25, President Trump issued an Executive Order providing for sanctions against the Government of Venezuela targeting certain long-term financial transactions, similar to existing sanctions on the Russian petroleum sector. The Order does not restrict imports or exports of oil, and the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control issued several general licenses that provide for specific permitted activities.

  • Three Birds with One Stone: New Russia, North Korea and Iran Sanctions

    On August 2, 2017, President Trump signed into law the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), strengthening U.S. sanctions on Russia, North Korea and Iran. The new sanctions could have far-reaching implications for companies and investors, although it remains unclear how vigorously they sanctions will be implemented, particularly for Russia.

  • OFAC Updates FAQs on the Cuba Sanctions Program

    On July 25, 2017, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) updated its Cuba FAQs to address upcoming changes to Cuba sanctions rules as they relate to pre-existing contracts, licenses, and travel arrangements. The new OFAC guidance addresses upcoming changes to its Cuba sanctions as they relate to pre-existing contracts, licenses, and travel arrangements.

  • Senate Minority Leader Urges President Trump to Suspend Chinese Acquisitions of U.S. Companies

    Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has written to President Trump asking him to order the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to suspend the approval of all covered transactions by Chinese entities. This article discusses Sen. Schumer’s position and possible upcoming legislative action.

  • China Updates New Industry Catalogue: PRC Reduces Regulatory Procedures for Foreign Investments Following its 2016 Reforms

    The National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China’s 7th updated version of the Catalogue of Industries for Foreign Investments, became effective July 28, 2017. The Catalogue opens various previously restricted industries to foreign investors (mainly in services, manufacturing and mining) and includes a “negative list” of industries that will require special pre-approval and examinations for foreign investments.

  • A Message to China? New U.S. Sanctions and AML Measures for North Korea

    In June 2017, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions designations and anti-money laundering measures against Chinese entities engaged in business with North Korea. The actions may be intended to send a political message.

  • CFIUS and Real Estate

    The expanding influx of foreign investments in U.S. real estate has drawn the attention of three key U.S. Senators amid national security concerns.

  • New Details Emerge on Legislative Proposal to Modernize CFIUS Process

    A bipartisan group in Congress is working to modernize the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) review process due to increased foreign direct investment and perceived threats to national security. The proposed legislation would focus on nations posing the greatest threat and give CFIUS clearer authority to review investments.

  • EU Proposes Significant Changes to Anti-Money Laundering Laws

    Earlier this year, European law makers approved important amendments to the EU’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Directive that would implement new rules to combat money-laundering, terrorism financing and tax evasion.

  • “Buy American, Hire American”—From Rhetoric to Regulation

    “We will follow two simple rules: buy American and hire American.” While world leaders are pondering what these words from President Trump’s Inaugural Address mean for international trade, a different question looms for U.S. Government contractors—what is on the horizon as far as the Buy American Act and similar protectionist regulations?