On October 21, 2019, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) amended the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) to further restrict exports and reexports of items to Cuba (“the Amendment“). According to BIS, the Amendment was made to further restrict the Cuban government’s access to items subject to the EAR, thereby supporting the US government’s national security and foreign policy decision to hold the Cuban regime accountable for its repression of the Cuban people and its continuing support for the Maduro regime in Venezuela. The Amendment further implements President Trump’s June 2017 National Security Presidential Memorandum on Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba. BIS also updated Frequently Asked Questions regarding Cuba, and the US Commerce Department issued a related press release here.
The same week, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo wrote to the Secretary of Transportation noting the Administration’s policy and requested that the Department of Transportation (“DOT”) suspend all scheduled US carrier flights between the United States and all airports in Cuba, except José Martí International Airport (HAV) in Havana. DOT issued an order suspending service on October 25, 2019. US air carriers have 45 days to discontinue all scheduled air service between the United States and all airports in Cuba, except José Martí International Airport. Please see here for the State Department’s press release.
A summary of specific changes/clarifications made by the Amendment are described below:
On September 20, 2019, in response to recent attacks on certain Saudi Arabian oil facilities, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) took action pursuant to Executive Order 13224 against three Iranian entities: (i) the National Development Fund of Iran (“NDF”) (ii) Etemad Tejarat Pars Co., and (iii) the Central Bank of Iran (“CBI”). Executive Order 13224 authorizes the designation of parties if, among other things, they attempt to commit, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism.
On September 6, 2019, the US Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced that it is amending the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (“CACR”) to further financially isolate the Cuban government and implement President Trump’s June 2017 National Security Presidential Memorandum (“NSPM”) Strengthening the Policy of the United States Towards Cuba (the “CACR Amendment”). The CACR Amendment (1) removes the authorization for banks subject to US jurisdiction to process pass-through or “U-turn” transactions, and (2) eliminates or restricts certain types of remittances to Cuba. The CACR Amendment was published in the Federal Register on September 9, 2019, and will take effect on October 9, 2019.
OFAC also published Frequently Asked Questions and a Fact Sheet on the CACR Amendment.
Effective August 19, 2019, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) (i) added forty-six (46) additional non-US affiliates of Chinese-headquartered Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. (“Huawei”) to the Entity List, and (ii) extended and modified the Temporary General License (“TGL”) authorizing certain transactions involving the export, reexport, and transfer of items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) to Huawei and its designated non-US affiliates. The extended and modified TGL (“New TGL”) covers the Huawei entities added to the Entity List on May 16, 2019, as well as the ones added on August 19, 2019. The New TGL will be effective through November 18, 2019. As further discussed below, the New TGL (i) mitigates the impact of the Entity List designation by waiving the Entity List restrictions for certain transactions, and (ii) imposes strenuous certification requirements for the use of the New TGL. Please see our blog post on the initial designation of Huawei and its non-US affiliates here and the original TGL here.