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 13, 2020, the U.S. Department of Treasury (“Treasury”) issued two anticipated final rules (the “Final Rules”) that replace the existing regulations governing the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”). The Final Rules implement the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (“FIRRMA”) enacted in August 2018, which expanded the United States’ foreign investment review regime. FIRRMA mandated pre-closing notification of certain foreign investments and expanded the scope of transactions subject to CFIUS’ jurisdiction. The Final Rules largely follow the proposed rules released on September 17, 2019. Our analysis of the proposed rules is available here. Our earlier analyses of FIRRMA and the “critical technologies” pilot program implementing certain FIRRMA provisions on an interim basis are available here and here.
On October 31, 2019, the US State Department strengthened US secondary sanctions targeting Iran under the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (“IFCA”) (codified at 22 U.S.C. § 8801 et seq.), which dates back to 2013. These new IFCA sanctions target the construction sector in Iran and make sanctionable the export to Iran of certain strategic metals.
On September 17, 2019, the Department of Treasury (“Treasury”) released for public comment two proposed rules (the “Proposed Rules”) implementing the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (“FIRRMA”) enacted in August 2018. FIRRMA expanded the jurisdiction of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) and granted CFIUS new tools to regulate foreign investments raising national security concerns. Our previous analysis of FIRRMA is available here, and our analysis of the “critical technologies” pilot program under FIRRMA implemented by interim regulations issued by Treasury on October 10, 2018, (the “Pilot Program”) is available here.
Treasury will accept comments on the Proposed Rules until October 17, 2019, and the final regulations are to become effective no later than February 13, 2020. Companies that may be affected by the Proposed Rules are encouraged to comment. The full text of the Proposed Rules on investments by foreign persons in US businesses can be found here and on real estate transactions here. We would be pleased to assist our clients with the submission of comments.