International Business Law
Consequential Developments Under International Sales Law March 17, 2014, 6:44 PM
The United States is one of 80 countries that have adopted the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG). The CISG governs the formation and interpretation of sales contracts between companies with places of business in separate CISG countries. Although there are many similarities in the legal rules established under the CISG and our homegrown Uniform Commercial Code, there are also some important differences and occasionally some surprises.
FATCA is Coming to Your Foreign Financial Institution – Are You Ready? October 30, 2013, 6:49 PM
Globalization and immigration mean increasing numbers of U.S. persons own assets outside of the United States. These assets may be business interests or other investments in foreign countries that generate interest, dividend or capital gain income; they may include bank accounts, insurance products, securities, or commercial real estate. Because U.S. citizens are subject to taxation on their worldwide income, these interests and investments, though outside the borders of the United States, may be subject to a bewildering alphabet-soup of acronyms representing reporting, withholding and payment obligations. Some highlights are that:
Creating an Export Control Plan April 13, 2012, 6:50 PM
If your business exports products, technology, and/or software that are subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) or the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), then you should consider the implementation of an Export Control Plan (ECP). This post discusses the proper foundation of an ECP. Although such a plan is not mandated by ITAR or EAR, it is a valuable proactive measure that can save your business millions of dollars it might otherwise spend in penalties to the United States government.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act- Part 3 February 27, 2012, 6:50 PM
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) includes two primary components: (1) the anti-bribery provisions, and (2) the recordkeeping and internal controls provisions. This post will discuss the recordkeeping and internal controls provisions, which prohibits the false characterization of payments. The purpose of the FCPA is to prevent a company from hiding bribes and other improper transactions. However, the recordkeeping and internal controls provisions apply no matter if the record is linked to bribery of a foreign official or not. In addition, there is no minimum dollar amount that triggers the FCPA: from $1.00 to $1 million, your recordkeeping must accurately reflect the transaction.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act – Part 2 January 03, 2012, 6:51 PM
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) includes two primary components: (1) the anti-bribery provisions, and (2) the recordkeeping and internal controls provisions. This post will discuss the primary exception and affirmative defenses to the FCPA.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act November 11, 2011, 6:52 PM
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) includes two primary components: (1) the anti-bribery provisions, and (2) the recordkeeping and internal controls provisions. This post will discuss the anti-bribery component, which prohibits the offer or payment of money or anything of value to a foreign official to obtain or retain business. It is important for companies to realize that the phrase anything of value is construed broadly and is not limited to money. In addition, there is no minimum value that would exempt a payment or gift from the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA.
Obligations of Brokers under the ITAR October 07, 2011, 6:52 PM
A broker is defined under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) as any person who acts as an agent for others in negotiating or arranging contracts, purchases, sales, or transfers of defense articles or defense services in return for a fee, commission, or other consideration. 22 CFR 129.2(a) Brokering activities include acting as a broker, as previously defined, and includes the financing, transportation, freight forwarding, or taking of any other action that facilitates the manufacture, export, or import of a defense article or defense service, irrespective of its origin. 22 CFR 129.2(b). If your company performs these activities, then ITAR applies and it must comply with the ITAR obligations for brokers.
ITAR Obligations for Shipments by and to the U.S. Government September 21, 2011, 6:53 PM
Shipments of defense articles by and to United States government facilities or personnel in foreign countries are generally not exempt from adhering to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) because such shipments constitute exports, for ITAR purposes. However, ITAR provides some exemptions for shipments involving the Government. 22 CFR 126.4 states that [a] license is not required for the temporary import, or temporary export, of any defense article, including technical data or the performance of a defense service, by or for any agency of the U.S. Government (1) for official use by such an agency, or (2) for carrying out any foreign assistance, cooperative project or sales program authorized by law and subject to control by the President by other means.
ITAR Compliance September 09, 2011, 6:54 PM
Many companies mistakenly assume their products are not subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). At first glance, the phase "defense-related products" can be deceiving. The reality is that items subject to ITAR may be difficult to identify. Despite this fact, a violation of ITAR can be an extremely costly mistake. Penalties for violations of the ITAR can reach into millions of dollars and can even include prison time. Therefore, ITAR compliance is becoming increasingly important to companies that manufacture, export, or broker in defense articles.
Heightened Sanctions for Syria August 24, 2011, 6:54 PM
On August 18, 2011, President Obama signed an executive order imposing additional sanctions on Syria. These sanctions block all assets of the Syrian Government subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. In addition, all U.S. persons are prohibited from exporting or reexporting services to Syria and operating or investing in Syria. All imports of Syrian-origin petroleum or petroleum products are banned, and U.S. persons are prohibited from having any dealings in or related to Syrian-origin petroleum or petroleum products. These sanctions will immediately supplement the strict sanctions already imposed on Syrian exports/imports. Along with these additional sanctions, the Treasury Departments Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also added several Syrian energy companies to the List of Specially Designated Nationals. U.S. persons must refrain from engaging in any transactions with such parties or risk the imposition of a hefty penalty.