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Eunkyung Kim Shin

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On December 26, 2019, the US State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (“DDTC”) published a long-awaited Interim Final Rule (the “Interim Rule”) revising a number of definitions in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”). While DDTC was accepting comments until January 27, unless a new or revised rule is published, the Interim Rule will go into effect on March 25, 2020. These changes will permit companies storing and transmitting ITAR technical data to benefit from cloud computing and email services that utilize global platforms.

On January 6, 2020, the US Department of State’s US Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (“DDTC”) published a set of Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) (available here), which provide long-awaited clarifications regarding the registration and authorization requirements of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) applicable to the provision of defense services abroad by natural US persons employed by foreign persons. The main points are summarized below: The FAQs clarify that no registration with DDTC is…

On November 5, 2019, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued a new Venezuela-related general license (General License No. 35) (“GL 35”) to authorize certain administrative transactions with the Government of Venezuela (“GOV”) prohibited by Executive Order (“EO”) 13884 (“Blocking Property of the Government of Venezuela”); issued General License No. 34A (“GL 34A”), which supersedes and replaces General License No. 34, and authorizes transactions involving certain GOV-related individuals prohibited by EO 13884; and identified five current GOV officials on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (“SDN List”) pursuant to EO 13884.

Then, on November 21, 2019, OFAC announced the amendment of the Venezuela Sanctions Regulations (“VSR,” 31 C.F.R. Part 591) to incorporate additional EOs; make certain clarifying changes; add a GL authorizing US Government activities; and add an interpretive provision regarding activities related to judicial processes.  The VSR regulatory amendments took effect on November 22, 2019 concurrent with their publication in the Federal Register, available here.

These Venezuela sanctions developments are described in more detail below.  Our previous blog posts about US sanctions targeting Venezuela are available here.

On November 26, 2019, the US Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) issued a highly anticipated proposed rule with proposed regulations (“Proposed Regulations”) to implement Executive Order 13873, “Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain” (“Executive Order 13873“).

Executive Order 13873 gives the Secretary of Commerce (“Secretary”) sweeping, unprecedented authority to prevent or modify transactions involving information and communications technology and services (“ICTS”) originating in countries designated as “foreign adversaries” which pose an undue risk to critical infrastructure or the digital economy in the United States, or an unacceptable risk to US national security or the safety of United States persons.  All industries are potentially affected by the Proposed Regulations, whether directly or indirectly, which allow for case-by-case reviews of transactions at the Secretary’s discretion.  Any transaction that is ongoing as of, or was initiated on or after, May 15, 2019, can be reviewed and there is no mechanism by which a company may seek to clear transactions in advance.

A summary of the background and the Proposed Regulations is provided below: