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Building a Strong Export Compliance Plan

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

Exporting is a Privilege, Not a Right

Over 95% of the world’s consumers are outside of the United States. Opportunities abound for U.S. companies that export. However, exporting is a privilege and not a right. U.S. exporters have an important responsibility to adhere to U.S. export control laws, including the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”), the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) sanctions laws, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). Violations of export control laws carry hefty civil and criminal penalties. Exporters can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties, lose export privileges, and even be imprisoned for violations of U.S. export control laws.

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Catch Up on Diaz Trade Law’s Top Blogs From 2020!

We want to make sure you stay up to date with the hottest trade blogs from 2020. Below is a summary of what you missed by category. Enjoy!

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Goldman Sachs Pays $2.9 Billion in FCPA Settlement

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

Largest FCPA Settlement to Date

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced in October that Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (“Goldman Sachs”) agreed to pay $2.9 billion as part of a settlement agreement. The settlement was a result of the agencies’ enforcement action after they learned that Goldman Sachs had allegedly paid $1.6 billion in bribes to officials in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) to secure its position as the underwriter of $6.5 billion in three bond deals with 1Malaysia Development Berhad. The settlement constitutes the largest Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) settlement ever recorded.

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The Importance of Regular Export Compliance Training for your Business

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

What’s Export Compliance?

Boundless opportunities exist for U.S. businesses when they export their products and services to foreign markets. In fact, over 95% of the world’s consumers are located outside of the United States. However, the vast export opportunities must be tempered by your duty to diligently and effectively comply with U.S. export control laws under the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) and the U.S. State Department’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”).

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Exporting

Meeting Your Legal Obligation When Exporting From the United States

Diaz Trade represents a wide range of export clients in matters relating to compliance with U.S. laws and regulations. For example, we routinely advise clients on international trade in dual-use commodities, defense articles, software, and technology. Our expertise is in providing export compliance, licensing, and enforcement mitigation counsel related to the:

  • International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
  • U.S. Export Administration Regulations (EAR)
  • U.S. Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR)
  • Various embargo and sanctions programs administered by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) including the Cuban Embargo
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) compliance and representation, and
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) laws and regulations relating to exports.

 

 

Export Administration Regulations (EAR) Representation

Administered by the U.S. Commerce Department, the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) is a set of regulations which governs whether U.S. persons may export or transfer goods, software, and technology outside of the United States or to non-U.S. citizens. U.S. exporters have an important responsibility to adhere to the EAR. Violations of the EAR carry hefty civil and criminal penalties. Exporters can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties, lose export privileges, and even be imprisoned.Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to be proactive about your export compliance. According to the Bureau of Industry & Security, developing an effective export compliance program is “an invaluable way a company can contribute to U.S. national security and nonproliferation priorities while protecting vital company interests.” While having an export compliance plan is not a guarantee that an export violation will not occur, a coherent export compliance program can minimize the risk of non-compliance.Diaz Trade Law EAR-related services include:

Developing an effective export compliance plan

A key foundation of proactive and effective export compliance requires the development of an export compliance plan. An export compliance plan establishes a set of procedures for your organization to ensure that everyone is on the same page about how standard processes work, who is responsible for what, how to identify violations, what to do when violations occur, etc. An export compliance plan helps build consciousness in your organization that compliance is critical – both to avoid costly penalties and also to protect national security. Diaz Trade Law helps exporters create export compliance manuals that help prove you have a process in place to classify your merchandise correctly, vet your customers and ensure you can prove you can take compliance seriously and implement all of the important great weight mitigating factors. Diaz Trade Law has significant experience in developing and enhancing export compliance plans for organizations. Additionally, Diaz Trade Law can assist your business in auditing and improving your current plan so that it is in its best shape.

Export compliance training

A foundation of a strong export compliance program is export compliance training. Training is important because it (1) ensures that all employees understand the export regulations and reinforces internal policies and procedures, (2) demonstrates to federal government agencies that your business is proactive about export compliance, and (3) avoids your business from being subject to costly penalties and even criminal liability. Fortunately, export compliance training can be highly tailored to meet your company’s needs. All of your training events include assessments for comprehension, certificates for successful participation, and ample opportunities for Q&A. For your next export compliance training event, trust Diaz Trade Law to provide highly-effective, engaging training.

Export Transaction Vetting

Unsure whether a proposed export transaction violates the EAR? Diaz Trade Law has significant experience vetting your potential transaction against U.S. export control laws. Through research and due diligence, Diaz Trade Law ensures that your transaction won’t get you in trouble later down the road.

Voluntary Self-Disclosures

If your business believes it may have violated the EAR, it can be in your business’ strategic interest to submit a voluntary self-disclosure (VSD). According to the Bureau of Industry & Security, VSDs are “an excellent indicator of a party’s intent to comply with U.S. export control requirements and may provide BIS important information on other ongoing violations. BIS carefully reviews VSDs received from disclosing parties to determine if violations of the EAR have occurred and to determine the appropriate corrective action when violations have taken place.” Diaz Trade Law has significant experience filing VSDs and mitigating penalties.

Requesting Authorization / Export License Applications

BIS export authorization is required for many export transactions of controlled goods. Diaz Trade Law has significant experience in vetting proposed transactions to determine whether BIS authorization is required. Furthermore, Diaz Trade Law assists clients by filing BIS export license applications on their behalf on BIS’ SNAP-R portal.

Mitigation and corrective action

If your business has violated U.S. export control laws, there is a lot you can do to mitigate penalties and prevent future violations. Diaz Trade Law has significant experience representing businesses in dealing with the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry & Security and the Census Bureau. Specifically, Diaz Trade Law has successfully assisted clients in (1) submitting voluntary self-disclosures to mitigate penalties, (2) negotiated agreements with BIS and Census, and (3) built corrective action systems to help ensure that your business does not make the same violation again.

Contact Us

If you have questions about export compliance, reach out to us at info@diaztradelaw.com or call us at 305-456-3830. Want more information on EAR compliance? Check out our relevant blog posts, Bloomberg Law article, and on-demand webinars:

To read more blog articles on EAR, click here.

Export Compliance Plans

Over 95% of the world’s consumers are outside of the United States. Opportunities abound for U.S. companies that export. However, exporting is a privilege and not a right. U.S. exporters have an important responsibility to adhere to U.S. export control laws, including the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions laws. Violations of export control laws carry hefty civil and criminal penalties. Exporters can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties, lose export privileges, and even be imprisoned for violations of U.S. export control laws.

A key foundation of proactive and effective export compliance requires the development of an export compliance plan which establishes a set of procedures for your organization to ensure that everyone is on the same page about how standard processes work, who is responsible for what, how to identify violations, what to do when violations occur, etc. An export compliance plan helps build consciousness in your organization that compliance is critical – both to avoid costly penalties and also to protect national security.

According to the Bureau of Industry & Security, developing an effective export compliance program is “an invaluable way a company can contribute to U.S. national security and nonproliferation priorities while protecting vital company interests.” While having an export compliance plan is not a guarantee that an export violation will not occur, a coherent export compliance program can minimize the risk of non-compliance.

Diaz Trade Law helps exporters create export compliance manuals that help prove you have a process in place to classify your merchandise correctly, vet your customers and ensure you can prove you can take compliance seriously and implement all of the important great weight mitigating factors. Diaz Trade Law has significant experience in developing export compliance plans for organizations without plans. Additionally, Diaz Trade Law can assist your business in auditing and improving your current plan so that it is in its best shape. To learn more about the services we offer, contact us at info@diaztradelaw.com or call us at 305-456-3830.

Want more information on Export Compliance Training? Check out our blog posts and on-demand webinars:

Export Seizures and Penalties

Shippers Export Declaration (SED) & Filing Electronic Export Information (EEI) in the Automated Export System (AES)

The Shippers Export Declaration (SED) paper filings no longer exist, and were replaced with the Electronic Export Information (EEI), which serves the dual purpose of providing export statistics and export control. EEI filings are made through the Automated Export System (AES). EEI’s must be filed in the AES when a shipment of merchandise under the same HTSUS is valued at more than US$2,500. If a valid, timely EEI transmission is not filed, CBP can seize the shipment and issue penalties.

Seizure and Penalties for Non-Compliance

U.S. Customs may seize goods if they are contrary to law. If your merchandise is seized, you have options. In your seizure notice, you are provided a Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures (FP&F) case number and assigned a paralegal. The paralegal will send you a “Seizure Notice” and you have 30 days to respond to (yes, extensions are typically given freely, as long as they are requested BEFORE the 30 days expiration). A response is called a “Petition”. A Petition should be prepared by an expert in Customs cases. A Petition typically contains your legal arguments and the valid reasons why U.S. Customs should release your merchandise back to you.

How Can Diaz Trade Law Help?

Diaz Trade Law specializes in assisting companies with U.S. Customs seizure cases and understands the policies, procedures, and practices of CBP and clearly advises you of your options. Diaz Trade Law will not only help you you’re your current seizure, but, will also advise you on Pre-Compliance to make sure your merchandise complies with all relevant laws and regulations applicable prior to exporting.

Want More Information on this Topic?

See blog posts, webinars, and Bloomberg articles here:

Export Compliance Training

Boundless opportunities exist for U.S. businesses when they export their products and services to foreign markets. However, the vast export opportunities must be tempered by your duty to diligently and effectively comply with U.S. export control laws under the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Administration Regulations (EAR), the U.S. State Department’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions laws.

A foundation of a strong export compliance program is export compliance training. Training is important because it:

  • Ensures that all employees understand the export regulations and reinforces internal policies and procedures. Many businesses don’t realize the export control concerns many of their employees, not just the export department. This is because the scope of the term “export” is broad in the EAR and the ITAR. For example, “deemed exports” refer to the release of controlled technology to a foreign person, including within the territory of the United States. Therefore, employees that have little to do with a business’ export activities (e.g. accountants, information technology, customer service) can inadvertently cause your business to violate U.S. export control laws (e.g. by sharing information to non-U.S. persons, by failing to secure data on a cloud server, etc.).
  • Demonstrates to federal government agencies that your business is proactive about export compliance. Training is a great way to demonstrate to BIS and DDTC that you are on top of your export compliance obligations. The federal agencies like to see regular export compliance training
  • Is a terrific mitigating factor for your business when subject to costly penalties and even criminal liability. Many U.S. businesses have paid hefty civil penalties for violating U.S. export control laws. L3Harris Technologies, for example, was fined $13 million for illicitly exporting defense technology and software. For more examples of costly civil and criminal penalties, check out BIS’ latest Don’t Let This Happen to You! report.

Training that Meets Your Organization’s Needs

Fortunately, export compliance training can be highly tailored to meet your company’s needs. Given that many different departments from sales to accounting to human resources can be implicated in export compliance matters (not just the trade department), it’s important that everyone who could violate U.S. export control laws receive a basic level of export compliance training. However, it’s also important that those individuals most involved in export matters receive in-depth training as they are most liable to violate U.S. export control laws. Below, we describe some of the trainings that Diaz Trade Law provides:

  • General Awareness Training (Exporting 101): We offer an overview training for your entire organization which introduces all departments in your company to the fundamentals of export compliance. General Awareness Training ensures that your entire organization is on the same page about the importance of export compliance, and understands that export compliance involves more than just the work done by export personnel. General Awareness Training also helps ensure that everyone knows that export violations can occur in every department, and builds consciousness about avoiding export violations altogether, or identifying export violations when they do occur and proactively resolving issues in a transparent and accountable manner.
  • Orientation Training: Our orientation training works with your developed export control program to assist new employees in understanding the intricacies of their new role and how it is implicated by export control laws. The orientation training is highly tailored to the new employee and your company processes. The training instills in new employees an understanding of how export violations can occur in their role, establishes good practices to avoid costly export violations, and establishes a system for proactively following-up with identified violations.
  • Advanced Training for Export Personnel (Exporting 201): Diaz Trade Law offers more specialized training for export personnel in your organization who are already familiar with the fundamentals of export controls. The focused training provides in-depth training on particular issues of export controls that pertain to your organization; updates your export personnel about the latest developments in U.S. export control laws and policies; provides an opportunity to meaningfully discuss patterns of violations to ensure that these violations occur less often; and instills in the personnel an appreciation of the seriousness of U.S. export controls and the significant civil and criminal penalties associated in violating these laws.

Want more information on Export Compliance Training? Check out our blog posts and on-demand webinars:

Contact Us

All of your training events include assessments for comprehension, certificates for successful participation, and ample opportunities for Q&A. For your next export compliance training event, trust Diaz Trade Law to provide highly-effective, engaging training both in-person or online. If you have questions or are interested in scheduling a training, reach out to us at info@diaztradelaw.com or call us at 305-456-3830.

 

Export Financing

The U.S. government offers a variety of financing and insurance products to help you build working capital, sell abroad and protect your business. These programs can help you get bank loans for your business development, working capital, and project financing needs. U.S. government export financing programs can help your business minimize your risk by considering export credit insurance, address foreign exchange risk, and avoid potential payment problems from your buyer. Unfortunately, navigating the wide array of export financing programs offered by U.S. government agencies can be difficult. Diaz Trade Law can evaluate your export financing needs and assist you in obtaining financing. For more information, contact us today at info@diaztradelaw.com or call us at 305-456-3830.

 

Export Report Cards

Why You Need Your Very Own ACE Account

The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) system designed to facilitate legitimate trade while enhancing border security. ACE provides a single, centralized access point for the trade community to connect with CBP and its Partner Government Agencies (PGAs). It is the primary system through which the trade community reports imports and exports and the government determines admissibility. Through ACE as the Single Window, manual processes are streamlined and automated, paper is being eliminated, and the trade community is able to more easily and efficiently comply with U.S. laws and regulations. ACE improves collection, sharing, and processing of information submitted to CBP and government agencies. Diaz Trade Law can assist you in setting up your ACE account (separate and apart from your brokers account) and pulling useful customized information from ACE.

Export Report Card

U.S. exporters stand to benefit from Diaz Trade Law’s new service – the Export Report Card. Diaz Trade Law has customized an ACE report that provides U.S. exporters of an overview of their export compliance. Diaz Trade Law’s Export Report Cards provide both the ACE report and an expert analysis of the report which includes an overview of your export transactions, identifies late filings, and provides clarity on any systemic issues in your business’ export processes as well as recommendations to ensure compliance.

Export Report Cards can reveal the following information about your export transactions:

  • Filer information
  • Export destinations
  • Shipment value and volume over time
  • Unique consignees
  • U.S. Principal Parties of Interest (USPPI)
  • Freight forwarders
  • Top export ports
  • Top export goods

Contact Us

If you need assistance accessing and analyzing your ACE data or would like an export report card, reach out to us today at info@diaztradelaw.com or call us at 305-456-3830.

Want more information on the Export Report Card? Check out our on-demand webinar:

Export Trade Data

Trade Data Helps You Find Export Opportunities

There are many factors that U.S. exporters and importers should be conscious of in their operations – including trade and customs laws, foreign market opportunities, changes in commodity prices, and currency fluctuations – just to name a few. However, one vital consideration that exporters and importers alike often overlook is trade flows. A firm’s ability to analyze and keep a pulse on trade data pertaining to that company’s product category can provide that exporter or importer with a clear vision of what’s actually happening. This perspective can empower a firm to optimize its operations and gain an edge against competitors.

 For example, U.S. importers who regularly track and analyze trade data can gain an understanding of how tariff and non-tariff barriers affect imports. Similarly, U.S. exporters can track and analyze trade data to glean vital intelligence about opportunities in foreign markets. In doing so, U.S. exporters can gain an understanding of which markets their U.S. competitors are selling to and which countries demand is quickly increasing. Analyzing trade data is the first step to developing a sound import or export market strategy. However, doing so once is not enough. Importers and exporters should have a regular practice of tracking trade flow developments and restructuring operations based on what the data reveals. Such a nimble posture can truly empower businesses trading internationally.

Contact Us

Diaz Trade Law has significant experience analyzing international trade data. We can produce reports that show where your competitors are exporting for your specific harmonized tariff schedule code. If you have questions about trade data or would like an export data report, contact us today at info@diaztradelaw.com or call us at 305-456-3830.

Want more information on export compliance? Check out our relevant blog posts:

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Compliance

Under U.S. anti-bribery laws, U.S. citizens, nationals, residents, and businesses are prohibited from giving a corrupt payment to a foreign government official for the purpose of influencing a decision of the official in his or her official capacity. Specifically, a “corrupt payment” is the payment of money or an offer or promise to give anything of value to influence the official in his or her official capacity, to influence the official to violate his or her lawful duty, or to seek an improper advantage. Under the law, even making an offer of payment, as long as it is made with the intent to influence, obtain improper advantage, or induce improper influence, is all that is required for a violation. Even if the official refuses to accept the benefit, or accepts the benefit but does not take the desired action, it is still a violation. The anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA have applied to all U.S. persons and certain foreign issuers of securities. The anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA also apply to foreign firms and persons who cause, directly or through agents, an act in furtherance of such a corrupt payment to take place within the territory of the United States.

There are limited exceptions for common business practices, however. For example, paying the costs of a foreign official to travel to a plant for a plant visit may be legal. In addition, certain payments transmitted as part of a routine government action may be allowed. Because the exceptions are extremely limited, companies should be proactive to investigate whether such payments could violate U.S. anti-bribery laws. The SEC and DOJ jointly publish an FCPA resource guide that further explain FCPA standards.

Building a Strong FCPA Program

 Does your business have a strong FCPA compliance program? Or does the strength of your FCPA compliance program need to be reviewed and audited?

Diaz Trade Law, P.A. offers a number of services pertaining to FCPA compliance, including:

  • Auditing your company’s operations and building a strong FCPA compliance plan that reflects your organization
  • Reviewing your existing FCPA compliance plan to ensure that it’s strong and reflects the latest changes to anti-corruption laws
  • Training your employees in avoiding FCPA violations
  • Establishing clear lines of responsibility to determine how potential violations are proactively addressed
  • Representing your firm in mitigating penalties and reaching settlements with federal agencies after violations have occurred
  • Creating corrective action plans so that violations don’t occur again

 Contact Us
If you have questions about your firm’s FCPA compliance plan or are interested in scheduling a training, reach out to us at info@diaztradelaw.com or call us at 305-456-3830.
For information on Diaz Trade Law’s FCPA and export compliance services, check out our relevant articles and webinars:

Want more information on FCPA compliance? Read more here.

International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) Representation

Administered by the U.S. State Department, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is a set of regulations which governs whether defense or military-related technologies may be exported or transferred to non-U.S. citizens. The purpose of the ITAR is to safeguard U.S. national security interests by ensuring that critical technology does not fall into the wrong hands. U.S. exporters have an important responsibility to adhere to the ITAR. Violations of the ITAR carry hefty civil and criminal penalties. Exporters can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions in penalties, lose export privileges, and even be imprisoned.

Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to be proactive about your export compliance. To ensure compliance with the ITAR, the U.S. State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls strongly encourages registered exporters, manufacturers, brokers, and others engaged in defense trade to maintain compliance programs that assist in the monitoring and control of exports and other regulated activities. While having an export compliance plan is not a guarantee that an export violation will not occur, a coherent export compliance program can minimize the risk of non-compliance.

Diaz Trade Law ITAR-related services include:

  • Developing an effective export compliance plan.

 A key foundation of proactive and effective export compliance requires the development of an export compliance plan which establishes a set of procedures for your organization to ensure that everyone is on the same page about how standard processes work, who is responsible for what, how to identify violations, what to do when violations occur, etc. An export compliance plan helps build consciousness in your organization that compliance is critical – both to avoid costly penalties and also to protect national security. Diaz Trade Law helps exporters create export compliance manuals that help prove you have a process in place to classify your merchandise correctly, vet your customers and ensure you can prove you can take compliance seriously and implement all of the important great weight mitigating factors. Diaz Trade Law has significant experience in developing and enhancing export compliance plans for organizations. Additionally, Diaz Trade Law can assist your business in auditing and improving your current plan so that it is in its best shape.

  • Export compliance training.

A foundation of a strong export compliance program is export compliance training. Training is important because it (1) ensures that all employees understand the export regulations and reinforces internal policies and procedures, (2) demonstrates to federal government agencies that your business is proactive about export compliance, and (3) avoids your business from being subject to costly penalties and even criminal liability. Fortunately, export compliance training can be highly tailored to meet your company’s needs. All of your training events include assessments for comprehension, certificates for successful participation, and ample opportunities for Q&A. For your next export compliance training event, trust Diaz Trade Law to provide highly-effective, engaging training.

  • Export Transaction Vetting

Unsure whether a proposed export transaction violates the ITAR? Diaz Trade Law has significant experience vetting your potential transaction against U.S. export control laws. Through research and due diligence, Diaz Trade Law ensures that your transaction won’t get you in trouble later down the road.

  • Voluntary Self-Disclosures

 If your business believes it may have violated the ITAR, it can be in your business’ strategic interest to submit a voluntary self-disclosure (VSD). According to the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), ITAR violations should be disclosed promptly and VSDs can be a significant mitigating factor in DDTC’s analysis of such violations and is strongly recommended. DDTC encourages the submission of VSDs for common violations such as exporting without authorization, unauthorized access to technical data, failure to comply with license provisos, failure to maintain required records, failure to register or maintain registration, or misuse of the ITAR exemptions. Diaz Trade Law has significant experience filing VSDs and mitigating penalties.

  • Requesting Authorization / Submitting License or Agreement Applications

 Generally, any person or company who intends to export or to temporarily import a defense article, defense service, or technical data must obtain prior approval from DDTC. A license is required when a U.S. company seeks authorization for the permanent export, temporary export, or temporary import of a defense article, defense service, or technical data. Meanwhile, an agreement is generally required when a U.S. person provides a defense service to a foreign person, a U.S. person requires authorization to manufacture defense articles abroad, or a U.S. person seeks to establish a distribution point abroad for defense articles of U.S. origin for subsequent distribution to foreign persons. Diaz Trade Law has significant experience requesting authorization from DDTC on behalf of clients in the form of license applications and agreement requests.

  • Mitigation and corrective action.

If your business has violated U.S. export control laws, there is a lot you can do to mitigate penalties and prevent future violations. Diaz Trade Law has significant experience representing businesses in dealing with the U.S. State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. Specifically, Diaz Trade Law has successfully assisted clients in (1) submitting voluntary self-disclosures to mitigate penalties, (2) negotiated agreements with DDTC, and (3) built corrective action systems to help ensure that your business does not make the same violation again.

Contact Us

If you have questions about export compliance, reach out to us at info@diaztradelaw.com or call us at 305-456-3830. Want more information on export compliance? Check out our relevant blog posts and webinars:

Want more information on ITAR compliance? Read more here.

Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Sanctions Compliance

Administered by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), U.S. sanctions laws govern whether international transactions may occur. OFAC administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and other threats to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States. Violations of OFAC-administered sanctions carry hefty civil and criminal penalties.

Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to be proactive about your sanctions compliance. To ensure compliance with OFAC regulations, businesses should develop and maintain a sanctions compliance plan that is thoughtful, proactive, and well-executed. While having a sanctions compliance plan is not a guarantee that a sanctions violation will not occur, a coherent sanctions compliance program can minimize the risk of non-compliance.

Diaz Trade Law’s OFAC-related services include:

  • Developing an effective sanctions compliance program

A key foundation of proactive and effective sanctions compliance requires the development of a sanctions compliance plan which establishes a set of procedures for your organization to ensure that everyone is on the same page about how standard processes work, who is responsible for what, how to identify violations, what to do when violations occur, etc. A sanctions compliance plan helps build consciousness in your organization that compliance is critical – both to avoid costly penalties and also to protect national security. Diaz Trade Law helps businesses create sanctions compliance manuals that help prove you have a process in place to vet proposed transactions and ensure you can prove you can take compliance seriously and implement all of the important great weight mitigating factors. Diaz Trade Law has significant experience in developing and enhancing sanctions compliance plans for organizations. Additionally, Diaz Trade Law can assist your business in auditing and improving your current plan so that it is in its best shape.

  • Sanctions compliance training

A foundation of a strong sanctions compliance program is sanctions compliance training. Training is important because it (1) ensures that all employees understand the sanctions regulations and reinforces internal policies and procedures, (2) demonstrates to federal government agencies that your business is proactive about sanctions compliance, and (3) avoids your business from being subject to costly penalties and even criminal liability. Fortunately, sanctions compliance training can be highly tailored to meet your company’s needs. All of your training events include assessments for comprehension, certificates for successful participation, and ample opportunities for Q&A. For your next sanctions compliance training event, trust Diaz Trade Law to provide highly-effective, engaging training.

  • Transaction vetting

Unsure whether a proposed transaction violates OFAC sanctions? Diaz Trade Law has significant experience vetting your potential transaction against U.S. sanctions laws. Through research and due diligence, Diaz Trade Law ensures that your transaction won’t get you in trouble later down the road.

  • Voluntary self-disclosures

If your business believes it may have violated OFAC sanctions, it can be in your business’ strategic interest to submit a voluntary self-disclosure (VSD). OFAC encourages anyone who may have violated OFAC-administered regulations to disclose the apparent violation to OFAC voluntarily. Voluntary self-disclosure to OFAC is considered a mitigating factor by OFAC in enforcement actions, and pursuant to OFAC’s Enforcement Guidelines, will result in a reduction in the base amount of any proposed civil penalty.  Diaz Trade Law has significant experience filing VSDs and mitigating penalties.

  • Specific license applications

A specific license is an authorization from OFAC to engage in a transaction that otherwise would be prohibited. Businesses apply for OFAC specific licenses to generally authorize transactions, release blocked funds, and permit travel to Cuba, for example.. Diaz Trade Law has significant experience submitting specific license applications and receiving authorization for proposed transactions on behalf of our clients.

  • Mitigation and corrective action

If your business has violated U.S. sanctions laws, there is a lot you can do to mitigate penalties and prevent future violations. Diaz Trade Law has significant experience representing businesses in dealing with the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Specifically, Diaz Trade Law has successfully assisted clients in (1) submitting voluntary self-disclosures to mitigate penalties, (2) negotiated agreements with OFAC, and (3) built corrective action systems to help ensure that your business does not make the same violation again.

Check out our article Bloomberg article, blog articles, and webinars below:

Want more information on OFAC compliance? Read more here.

CONTACT DIAZ TRADE LAW

 

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