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Sylwia A. Lis

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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 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 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 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.

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