Export

Cuba Policy Shift: Administration Eases Restrictions on Small Businesses

On May 28, 2024, the Biden administration announced new measures easing restrictions on independent small businesses in Cuba. The announcement follows a recent decision by the State Department to remove Cuba from the list of countries deemed uncooperative on counterterrorism. 

The Administration criticized the Cuban government in the announcement, saying: “We know the Cuban economy is in dire straits amid recurring shortages of fuel, electricity, increasingly even food. It’s clear the communist experiment of Cuba has failed, the government is no longer able to provide for its citizens’ most basic needs.” 

The new measures implemented by the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) include four main parts:

1. Authorized Internet-Based Services and Software.

Cuban small businesses will now be able to access additional internet-based services such as video conferencing, social media, maps, e-learning, automated translation, and other online services. 

U.S.-based entities will be allowed to provide cloud-based services to these small businesses. OFAC is also authorizing the export or reexport of Cuban-origin software and mobile applications from the United States to third countries.

2. Re-defining “Self-Employment.”

OFAC is scrapping the term “self-employed individual” and replacing it with a new term: “independent private sector entrepreneur.” The new term will still cover traditional self-employed individuals such as business owners, but it will also cover private cooperatives or small businesses that are wholly owned by such individuals. 

ICYMI: Commerce, Treasury, and Justice Issue Compliance Note on Obligations of Foreign-Based Persons to Comply with U.S. Export Laws

On March 6, 2024, the Department of Commerce, Department of the Treasury, and Department of Justice issued a tri-seal compliance note titled: “Obligations of foreign-based persons to comply with U.S. sanctions and export control laws.”

The note:

  1. Highlights the applicability of U.S. sanctions and export control laws to persons and entities located abroad;
  2. Outlines the enforcement mechanisms that are available for the U.S. government to hold non-U.S. persons accountable for violations of such laws; and
  3. Provides an overview of compliance considerations for non-U.S. companies and compliance measures to help mitigate their risk

Applicability of U.S. Sanctions and Export Control Laws to Foreign-Based Persons

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions, primarily against foreign jurisdictions but also against individuals and entities such as traffickers and terrorists.

The following persons/entities must comply with OFAC regulations:

  • U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens
  • All persons within the United States
  • All U.S.-incorporated entities and their foreign branches

In certain sanctions programs, foreign entities owned or controlled by U.S. persons also must comply with applicable restrictions – such as engaging in a transaction with the government of Iran. Certain sanctions programs also require foreign persons in possession of U.S.-origin goods to comply.

Non-U.S. persons are also subject to certain OFAC prohibitions. For example, non-U.S. persons are prohibited from causing or conspiring to cause U.S. persons to wittingly or unwittingly violate U.S. sanctions, as well as engaging in conduct that evades U.S. sanctions.

Applicability of U.S. Export Control Laws

The compliance […]

DOC, Treasury, DOJ, State, and DHS Issue Joint Compliance Note: Know Your Cargo

On December 11, 2023, the U.S. Departments of Commerce, State, Justice, Treasury and Homeland Security published a joint Quint-Seal Compliance Note, “Know Your Cargo: Reinforcing Best Practices to Ensure the Safe and Compliant Transport of Goods in Maritime and Other Forms of Transportation.”

The agencies highlight the increasingly complex nature of global supply chains and opportunities for nefarious actors to evade export control laws and U.S. sanctions. The note also highlights the responsibility of individuals and entities participating in the global transport of goods to assess their risk profile and implement compliance programs.

Potential Indicators of Efforts to Evade Sanctions and Export Controls

The note directs companies involved in funding and facilitating the transport of cargo to be aware of these practices that may suggest export control or sanctions evasion: 

  • Manipulating location or identification data
  • Falsifying cargo and vessel documents
  • Ship-to-ship transfers
  • Voyage irregularities and use of abnormal shipping routes
  • Frequent registration changes” that evade national provisions; and
  • Complex ownership or management

Recommended Compliance Practices

The note recommends that individuals and entities who participate in maritime and other transportation industries should implement and strengthen compliance controls as necessary, especially when operating in high-risk areas or when dealing with entities who demonstrate suspicious behavior. A non-exhaustive list of compliance practices includes:

  • Institutionalizing sanctions and export control programs
  • Establish location monitoring best practices and contractual requirements
  • Know your customer
  • Exercise supply chain due diligence
  • Industry information sharing

The note also encourages individuals and companies to report suspicious behavior to the relevant U.S. authorities.

Recent Activity to Combat the […]

New Court Rulings on Marijuana-Related Paraphernalia: Understanding the Impact on Importers

The marijuana industry is rapidly growing, with more and more states legalizing its use for medical and/or recreational purposes. With this growth, there is an increase in the importation of products such as grinders, storage containers, rolling paper, pipes, and vape pens, both for business and personal use. More businesses are asking why there is an issue importing such items when they only intend to sell and distribute within the many states where marijuana is legal for medical or recreational use and have established their regulations for marijuana-related products. It is still essential to remember, while many states have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use, marijuana remains illegal under federal law. 

This blog will address recent Court of International Trade (CIT) cases on this very topic and will be a part 2 to our previous blog covering U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seizures of drug paraphernalia 

CBP Authority 

CBP has the power to seize “drug paraphernalia” products.  This does not only cover importations of products for commercial use, but also items for personal use with individuals traveling internationally seeking entry into the United States.  CBP’s website section: Know Before You Go – Prohibited and Restricted Items encourages individuals to contact CBP prior to traveling and make sure that prohibited or restricted items, such as drug paraphernalia, are not brought into the country, as they are not only subject to seizure pursuant to […]

US Sanctions Lists

Diaz Trade Law is enthusiastic to announce Bloomberg Law published another one of our articles, “US Sanctions Lists“! Below is the article reproduced with permission for your reading pleasure. You can read the article here (where you’ll have the ability to access all of the great hyperlinks). Please note you cannot click on the hyperlinks below.

We’d love to hear your feedback!

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