April 2011

The Journal for Export Control Professionals

I am pleased to introduce to you a new periodical, “World Export Controls Review – the journal of export controls and compliance,” published by Brightlaw Media Ltd., London, England.  The first issue published in March 2011 is free.  The April 2011 publication contains my article entitled “Good Practice: Responding to an OFAC Administrative Subpoena” (available only upon request).

The publication reports on sanctions programs such as the United States has with Burma, Iran, and Libya, as well as general international trade topics such as “U.S. Tightens Controls on Foreign Workers” or “Evolving Intent Standards in U.S. Prosecutions”. The publication is truly for the legal experts in international trade and export controls.

world ecr helps its readers stay on top of:

  • Developments in export control regulation and policy around the world,
  • Changing enforcement policies and practice governing export and re-export,
  • Legal implications of changing distribution technologies,
  • Best practice in trade regulation compliance, and
  • Encryption, technology transfer and end-use and end-user controls.

I hope you enjoy reading the article, and will subscribe to the publication. 

New Export Enforcement Priorities Come with New Names at the Bureau of Industry and Security

On April 14, 2011, in Washington, D.C., David Mills, the new Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), U.S. Department of Commerce, and his Special Advisor, Bob Rarog, explained the enforcement priorities of BIS. These priorities were established by Eric Hirschhorn, who was just sworn in as Under Secretary of the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) on April 2, 2010, after being appointed by President Obama. This event was part of the American Bar Association’s Section of International Law’s Export Controls and Economic Sanctions Committee.

David Mills, who has an excellent perspective from recently being a private practicing attorney, and was formerly the Chief of Licensing at the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), identified the three primary initiatives of export enforcement by the BIS.

1.  Efficiency – process administrative cases faster.

2.  Education – outreach program to exporting companies.

3.  Enforcement – going for the $250,000 maximum penalty or twice the value of the transaction, whichever is greater.

David Mills stated that where both OFAC and BIS have jurisdiction over a violation, it is best to file voluntary self disclosure simultaneously with both agencies.  Generally, Special Agents from the BIS’ Office of Export Enforcement will conduct the investigation thereafter.  Another interesting point was that the Obama Administration remains focused on Iran, preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and prohibiting any transactions with Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs). This is consistent with the U.S. Department of Justice’s recent National Counter-Proliferation Initiative to increase the […]

By |2015-12-01T02:00:06-05:00April 17, 2011|Export|0 Comments

Todd Owen – U.S. Customs Commissioner Bersin’s Hand-Picked Leader in Los Angeles

In my recent blog post entitled “The 3 Dirty Words Unspoken by U.S. Customs Commissioner Bersin”, I  had advised that U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin had established some priorities.  One of the most prominent action steps already implemented by Commissioner Bersin was to reassign Todd Owen from his position as Executive Director for Cargo and Conveyance Security at CBP Headquarters in Washington, D.C. to become the new Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles, California.

In his former role, Mr. Owen was responsible for all cargo security programs and policies for CBP, including the National Targeting Center-Cargo, and the 100% scanning initiative. In Mr. Owen’s new position, he now has the responsibility over LAX, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, as well as Las Vegas International Airport. 45% of the maritime cargo which enters the U.S. does so through LA/Long Beach.  By comparison, the next largest port is Port Elizabeth, at 11%.  LAX is also the second largest international airport behind JFK.

Many people first got to know Todd when he was appointed Director of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT), a position which he served from January 2005 to May 2006.  Todd has also held the position of Area Port Director in New Orleans, positions with CBP in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and started his career in 1990 as an Import Specialist in Cleveland, Ohio.  In addition to his impressive career achievements at CBP, he has excelled academically too.  Mr. Owen is a career member of the Senior Executive Service, […]

The 3 Dirty Words Unspoken by U.S. Customs Commissioner Bersin

At the annual meeting of the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America in Phoenix, Arizona, on April 4, 2011, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin gave a surprisingly frank speech.  He used the familiar phrases of “global supply chain security,” the need “to protect the homeland from dangerous people and dangerous things,” and “risk management”.  Only after he finished 60 minutes of speaking did I realize that he omitted saying the three dirty words that were the bedrock of every CBP Commissioner since the tragic events of 9/11.

Those three dirty words are “terrorism,” “counter-terrorism,” and “anti-terrorism.” In a radical departure from prior leaders of CBP, Commissioner Bersin stated:

We need to drive transaction costs down 10-15% to become more competitive with China, Brazil, and India…I need your help in making this happen.

I was shocked! Did I really just hear the top manager of the primary border enforcement agency for the United States talk about business and not  terrorism?  If you were surprised by that, then the next quote will really grab you. Commissioner Bersin described the international transportation process for both importing and exporting as “a series of bureaucratic mazes.”

I have met and talked with every Commissioner since Carol Hallett in 1989, , and have never heard such candid, outspoken, and straightforward talk from a Commissioner as I had heard yesterday.

Commissioner Bersin said that with 60,000 CBP employees and a $11.5 billion annual budget, he has 3 priorities.

1.  Re-establishing the credibility between CBP and the international trade community.  To […]

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