Maria H. van Wagenberg


On February 2, 2017, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) amended the List of Medical Devices Requiring Specific Authorization (“List”), to update and clarify the scope of medical devices not authorized for export/reexport to Iran pursuant to the general license (“Ag/Med GL”) at section 560.530(a)(3)(i) of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 560 (“ITSR”). 

On December 29, 2016, the US government announced several measures in response to the Russian government’s alleged “aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election.” The measures impose sanctions against nine Russian parties, including the Russian Federal Security Service (“FSS” or “FSB”).  In addition, the US government announced the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the United States and the closing of two US properties for their alleged intelligence operations.  As a result of the sanctions, US companies will now likely require US government authorization prior to dealing with the FSB, which can include submissions to or the receipt of approvals from the FSB to market or distribute certain encryption products in Russia or participation in certain other regulatory actions before the FSB.

On October 14, 2016, the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) and the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced final rules amending the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”), 15 C.F.R. Part 730 et seq., and the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (“CACR”), 31 C.F.R. Part 515, respectively, to authorize additional activities relating to Cuba.  The final rules became effective on October 17, 2016, upon publication in the Federal Register. 

On September 20, 2016, the Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) published a final rule in the Federal Register implementing the 2015 Wassenaar Arrangement Plenary Agreements and that also included changes to a number of encryption-related provisions in the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”). BIS described the changes as a “minor relaxation” intended to streamline and make more efficient the encryption requirements of the EAR. At the same time, BIS made clear that it considers the scope of encryption controls and the related License Exception ENC relatively unchanged. Key changes include: