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Publications & Events (2017)

Publications, Presentations & Quotes

U.S. Reinforces Sanctions on Russia

June 21, 2017

In an effort to counter attempts to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Russia and to assist the private sector in complying with U.S. sanctions, OFAC identified a number of individuals and entities involved in the conflict in Ukraine and added them either to the SDN List or Sectoral Sanctions Identification (SSI) List.  The Treasury Department stated that its actions are “consistent with the U.S. commitment to seek a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine,” and reiterated that the sanctions on Russia will “remain in place until Russia fully honors its obligations under the Minsk Agreements.” In the agreements, Russia consented to a cease-fire and withdrawal of heavy weapons from Eastern Ukraine.  BIS is also adding Ukraine-/Russia-related entities to the Entity List.   The U.S.’ recent actions align with those of international partners such as the EU (which recently extended sanctions on Russia).

Trump Issues New Cuba Policy Restricting Travel, Transactions Involving Cuba

June 16, 2017

Today, the White House unveiled that it is changing U.S. policy toward Cuba by reinstituting certain restrictions on travel and other business involving Cuba, previously eased under the Obama administration. The Trump administration stated that the previous policy enriched and rewarded the Cuban military regime.  Read More→

Trade-Related News in a Flash 6.16.17

June 16, 2017

Subject: Trump Issues New Cuba Policy Restricting Travel, Transactions Involving Cuba; General Updates; ACE and Automated Systems; New AD/CVD Orders; Enforcements; and Events & Opportunities. View Mailer→

U.S. Senate Passes Iran, Russia Sanctions Bill

June 16, 2017

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran and Russia.  With respect to Iran, the bill authorizes additional sanctions related to the country’s ballistic missile program and human rights violations, as well as sanctions related to the sale or transfer of certain military equipment to Iran. Read More→

MA, NY Company Agree to Pay Large Sums, Complete External Audits to Settle Alleged Export Violations

June 15, 2017

According to BIS, two companies agreed to pay $700,000 and $28,000, respectively, to settle export-related charges.  Axis Communications (of Massachusetts) allegedly exported thermal imaging cameras to Mexico without the required licenses and failed to comply with the EAR’s recordkeeping requirements.  Additionally, Cryomech, Inc. (of New York) allegedly exported LNP-20 Liquid Nitrogen Plant (an EAR99 item) to the Russian Federal Nuclear Center-VNIIEF, without the required license.  Axis and Cryomech were also ordered, respectively, to hire an unaffiliated third-party consultant (with expertise in U.S. export controls laws) to audit their export controls compliance programs.

News & Events from Joiner Law Firm - New updates re: OFAC Penalties, AD/CVD, NAFTA, DOJ and More!

June 15, 2017

This newsletter features four articles entitled, "U.S. Appeals Court Sets Aside $4.07 Million OFAC Penalty," "CBP Posts Intent to Distribute AD, CV Duties to Affected Domestic Producers," "Trump Administration Seeks Public Input to Help Shape NAFTA Negotiations," and "DOJ Issues New Memo on Charging and Sentencing Policy." Read More→

U.S., PRC Finalize Plans for Exports of U.S. Beef to China

June 13, 2017

Yesterday, the Trump administration announced that it has reached agreement with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on the final details of a protocol that will allow U.S. exports of beef and beef products to enter the Chinese market for the first time since 2003.  The actions undertaken are part of the U.S.-China 100-day plan announced last month.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service has posted requirements for companies seeking to send beef and beef products to China, and the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) updated its Export Library specifying China’s requirements for certifying U.S. beef entering its markets.

Trade-Related News in a Flash 6.9.17

June 9, 2017

Subject: CBP: Post-Release Transactions Required in ACE by July 8th; General Updates; ACE and Automated Systems; AD/CVD; and Enforcements. View Mailer→

CBP: Post-Release Transactions Required in ACE by July 8th

June 9, 2017

Yesterday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that beginning July 8, 2017, a series of new post-release capabilities in ACE will be deployed; specifically, Reconciliation, Drawback (ABI filings), Duty Deferral, Statements and Associated Collections, and Liquidation, at which time all such transactions must be filed or processed in ACE and will no longer be accepted in the Automated Commercial System (ACS).  The effective date for the transition had previously been delayed indefinitely. July 8th is the new effective date.

U.S. Welcomes Arrival of First Liquefied Natural Gas Shipment to Central Europe

June 8, 2017

Today, the U.S. Department of State announced that the first U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipment to Central Europe, arrived in Poland on June 7th. The Department stated that LNG exports not only support American jobs, but lower energy prices for U.S. partners abroad and contribute to Europe’s goals for energy security. The Department called the shipment’s arrival a “significant step” for Poland as it diversifies its energy sources.

JLF Attorney Examines Report on N. Korea’s Sanctions Evasion in New Export Controls Journal

June 6, 2017

In an article published in WorldECR, Joiner Law Firm attorney, Kristin Kruse Lotz, examines a recent UN report revealing the extent to which North Korea is “flouting sanctions through trade in prohibited goods, with evasion techniques that are increasing in scale, scope, and sophistication.” View Reprint→

Trade-Related News in a Flash 6.2.17

June 2, 2017

Subject: ITC Investigates Effect of Providing Duty-Free Treatment for Dutiable NAFTA Imports; General Updates; ACE and Automated Systems; AD/CVD; Enforcements; and Events & Opportunities. View Mailer→

In Rare Move, D.C. Circuit Sets Aside $4.07 Million OFAC Penalty

June 1, 2017

In a rare turn of events, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit recently set aside the $4.073 million penalty that OFAC had imposed on Epsilon Electronics Inc. (a wholesaler of car accessories) for violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran. The Court held, among other things, that OFAC failed to justify its liability determinations for 5 of 39 shipments sent by Epsilon, calling these determinations “arbitrary and capricious” for failing to address evidence indicating that Epsilon may not have known (or had reason to know) that such shipments were destined for Iran. Read More→

JLF Attorneys, Law Clerks Attend UHD Thursday Night Concert at Discovery Green

May 31, 2017

Last week, Joiner Law Firm attorneys and summer law clerks attended the Thursday night outdoor concert series at Discovery Green (presented by the University of Houston Downtown) and got a chance to enjoy two local legends, Grady Gaines and the Texas Upsetters and the ThunderSOUL Orchestra.

CBP Posts Intent to Distribute AD, CV Duties to Affected Domestic Producers

May 31, 2017

Today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a notice of intent to distribute assessed antidumping or countervailing duties (known as the continued dumping and subsidy offset) to “affected domestic producers,” for FY 2017.  The law which provided original statutory authority for these distributions was repealed several years ago, and as a result, only duties collected on entries filed before Oct. 1, 2007 will be distributed.  Even with the repeal, the distribution process will continue for an undetermined period, specifically, until all entries made prior to Oct. 1, 2007 are liquidated and the duties collected.  Certifications to claim distributions (for orders or findings specified in the notice) are due by July 31, 2017.

Trade-Related News in a Flash 5.26.17

May 26, 2017

Subject: Trump Administration Seeks Comments to Help Shape NAFTA Negotiations; General Updates; ACE and Automated Systems; AD/CVD; Enforcements; and Events & Opportunities. View Mailer→

Trump Administration Seeks Comments to Help Shape NAFTA Negotiations

May 24, 2017

Yesterday, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it is seeking public comments on matters relevant to modernizing NAFTA.  The comments will assist the administration in developing U.S. negotiating objectives and positions with respect to several areas, including (but not limited to) rules of origin, digital trade, intellectual property rights, customs and trade facilitation, trade remedies, government procurement, trade barriers, and tariffs.  Last week, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer officially notified Congress of the administration’s intent to renegotiate NAFTA.  Official Notice→

DOJ: Defense Contractor Employee Pleads Guilty to Selling Satellite Secrets to Undercover Agent Posing as Russian Spy

May 23, 2017

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Gregory Allen Justice, an engineer who worked for a defense contractor, pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to commit economic espionage and one count of attempting to violate the Arms Export Control Act by selling sensitive satellite information to a person he believed to be an agent of a Russian intelligence service. In addition to being proprietary, the documents contained technical data covered by the U.S. Munitions List and therefore were subject to controls restricting export from the U.S. under the ITAR.

Trade-Related News in a Flash 5.19.17

May 19, 2017

Subject: Trump Administration Notifies Congress of Intent to Renegotiate NAFTA; General Updates; ACE and Automated Systems; AD/CVD; Enforcements; and Events & Opportunities. View Mailer→

Jamie Joiner Discusses Recent Developments in U.S. Sanctions & Export Controls at HCBFFA Luncheon

May 18, 2017

On May 17th, Jamie Joiner spoke at the Houston Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarder Association’s (HCBFFA) monthly luncheon and provided an update on U.S. sanctions and export controls under the Trump administration. The event had a great turn-out and Jamie even got a chance to draw two prize winners in the monthly raffle. This month’s winners received two tickets to see the Doobie Brothers.

News & Events from Joiner Law Firm - This issue includes info on the Russian sanctions, Belarus sanctions, and Aluminum and Steel Imports!

May 18, 2017

This newsletter features three articles entitled, "Treasury: No Waivers for Bypassing Russian Sanctions," "U.S. Continues Limited Sanctions Relief for Belarus," and "Trump Calls for Investigation into Steel, Aluminum Imports." Read More→

U.S. Sanctions More Syrian Individuals, Entities

May 16, 2017

Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned five individuals and five entities in response to continued acts of violence by the Syrian government. According to the Treasury Department, these designated individuals and entities have provided support or services to the Government of Syria, or are owned, controlled by, or acting for sanctioned persons.

Trump Administration Reports Progress on '100-Day Plan' with China

May 10, 2017

The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced that China and the U.S. have made progress on their agreed-upon plan to tackle certain issues related to trade within 100 days of President Trump's meeting with Chinese President Xi last month.  Specifically, the Treasury Department stated that the U.S. and China have reached a consensus in key areas including agricultural trade, financial services, investment, and energy. View Details→

Trade-Related News in a Flash 5.12.17

May 12, 2017

Subject: Trump Administration Reports Progress on '100-Day Plan' with China; General Updates; ACE and Automated Systems; and Events & Opportunities. View Mailer→

Treasury: New Website Now Available to Track Federal Spending

May 9, 2017

Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury unveiled a new website (Beta.USAspending.gov) that will allow the general public to track how federal tax dollars are spent. The website is designed to follow federal agency spending and to link that data to awards distributed by the government. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin confirmed that with the new website taxpayers will be able to track “nearly $4 trillion in government spending from Washington, D.C. directly into their communities and cities.”

Trade-Related News in a Flash 5.5.17

May 5, 2017

Subject: U.S. Continues Limited Sanctions Relief for Belarus; General Updates; ACE and Automated Systems; AD/CVD; and Enforcement. View Mailer→

Commerce Extends Deadline to Submit Comments on China’s Nonmarket Economy Status

May 4, 2017

The U.S. Department of Commerce extended the deadline for submitting comments on whether the People's Republic of China (PRC) should continue to be treated as a nonmarket economy (NME) country under the antidumping and countervailing duty laws.  The request for comments was made as part of the less-than-fair-value investigation of certain aluminum foil from China.  (For more information on China’s push for market economy status, please see our previous article here.)

JLF & Friends Volunteer Time, Effort to Build Habitat for Humanity Home

May 1, 2017

This past Saturday, Joiner Law Firm CFO/CAO, Wendy Airlie, and Joiner Law Firm attorney, Michael Esposito, along with friends, participated in the Houston Bar Association’s initiative to build the 20th Habitat for Humanity House. Learn More→

U.S. Continues Limited Sanctions Relief for Belarus

April 28, 2017

Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets (OFAC) extended for another six months the authorization that generally permits U.S. persons to engage in transactions with certain sanctioned Belarusian entities (including petrochemical conglomerate Belneftekhim). The new general license authorizing these transactions is effective until October 30, 2017. The previous general license was set to expire on April 30th.

Trade-Related News in a Flash 4.28.17

April 28, 2017

Subject: Treasury: No Waivers Will Be Issued for U.S. Companies, including Exxon, to Bypass Russian Sanctions; General Updates; ACE and Automated Systems; New AD/CVD Orders; Enforcement Actions; and Events & Opportunities. View Mailer→

U.S. Sanctions 271 Employees of Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center

April 24, 2017

In response to the chemical weapons attack of April 4, 2017 in Syria, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned 271 employees of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) – the agency that the U.S. says is responsible for the development and production of the type of non-conventional weapons used in the attack. This is one of the largest sanctions actions in U.S. history and reflects the U.S.’ intention to hold the Assad regime accountable and to thwart the spread of such chemical weapons. The sanctions essentially freeze the assets of the named individuals and prohibit U.S. persons from generally doing business with them.

JLF Salutes Astronaut Peggy Whitson

April 24, 2017

Joiner Law Firm joins the world in congratulating NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson for breaking the U.S. record for the most cumulative days in space. NASA stated that she “is the first woman to command the space station twice, and holds the record for most spacewalks conducted by a female astronaut.” President Trump made an earth-to-space call to congratulate Ms. Whitson earlier today. Read More→

Treasury: No Waivers Will Be Issued for U.S. Companies, including Exxon, to Bypass Russian Sanctions

April 21, 2017

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin announced on Friday that the Treasury Department will not issue any waivers to U.S. companies, including multinational oil and gas corporation, Exxon Mobil, “authorizing drilling prohibited by current Russian sanctions.” The Trump Administration has repeatedly stated that the U.S. sanctions on Russia, including those targeting Russia’s energy sector, will remain intact until Russia reverses the actions that triggered the sanctions – namely, its occupation and purported annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine.  According to various news sources, Exxon Mobil applied for a waiver from the sanctions in order to resume work on a joint venture with Rosneft – a company majority owned by the Russian government.

Trade-Related News in a Flash 4.21.17

April 21, 2017

Subject: Trump Says Iran Not Living Up to "Spirit" of Nuclear Deal; Orders Interagency Review; General Updates; ACE and Automated Systems; New AD/CVD Orders; Enforcement Actions; and Events & Opportunities (U.S. Government). View Mailer→

News & Events from Joiner Law Firm - New Changes from Trump Administration re: China, Iran, NAFTA, Trade Enforcement, and More!

April 20, 2017

This newsletter features six articles entitled, "China’s Push for Market Economy Status Under Review by Commerce Department," "Pres. Trump Orders Interagency Review of Iran Nuclear Deal," "Trump Administration Prioritizes Trade Enforcement Amid Proposed Budget Cuts," "BIS Modifies Listing for Russia’s FSB on Entity List," "NAFTA — Uncertainty and Anticipation," and "Behold the Power of Data." Read More→

Trump Orders Interagency Review of Iran Nuclear Deal

April 19, 2017

On April 18, 2017, the U.S. Department of State certified to House Speaker Paul Ryan that Iran is compliant with its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) (aka, the Iran nuclear deal). However, in the letter, Secretary Rex Tillerson raised concerns about Iran’s role as a state sponsor of terrorism and alerted Congress that President Trump has directed a National Security Council-led interagency review of the deal in order to evaluate whether continuing to lift sanctions is vital to U.S. national security interests.

Treasury Declines to Label China a Currency Manipulator

April 17, 2017

In a new report on the foreign exchange policies of the U.S.’ major trading partners, the Treasury Department found that no major trading partner, including China, met the criteria for currency manipulation in the second half of 2016. However, Treasury did establish a “Monitoring List” of major trading partners that merit “close attention” to their currency practices, which includes China, Germany, Japan, Korea, Switzerland and Taiwan. The report reflects an about-face in President Trump’s position on China. View Report→

OMB Issues Plan to Reorganize Federal Gov’t, Reduce Federal Civilian Workforce

April 17, 2017

Pursuant to an Executive Order signed by Pres. Trump on March 13, 2017, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently issued a reform plan directing federal agencies to: (1) take immediate action to reduce their workforces, (2) develop, by the end of June 2017, a plan to maximize the performance of government workers, and (3) submit, within 180 days, an Agency Reform Plan to modernize and streamline their operations. Read More→

Trump: China will get ‘better trade deal’ if it solves ‘North Korean problem’

April 14, 2017

Less than a week after his meeting with Chinese President Xi, President Trump tweeted the following: “I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!” Pres. Trump subsequently tweeted that he has “great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea.” Trump met with China’s president during the first week of April to make progress on several important issues, including trade.  Read More→

Trade-Related News in a Flash 4.14.17

April 14, 2017

Subject: Trump Encourages China to Deal with N. Korea for Better Trade Deal; General Updates; ACE and Automated Systems; Enforcement; and Events & Opportunities (U.S. Government). View Mailer→

Trade-Related News in a Flash 4.7.17

April 7, 2017

Subject: Tillerson: Russian Sanctions Will Remain in Place; General Updates; and New AD/CVD Orders. View Mailer→

Kristin Kruse Lotz Teaches for Houston Bar Association’s Teach Texas

April 6, 2017

On March 6th and 10th, attorney Kristin Kruse Lotz spoke to seventh grade Texas history students at Cinco Ranch Junior High as part of the Houston Bar Association’s Teach Texas program. View More→

Trade-Related News in a Flash 3.31.17

March 31, 2017

Subject: Fed. Circuit Reverses CIT to Find Certain Aluminum Trim Kit Packages Are Subject to AD/CVD Orders; General Updates; ACE and Automated Systems; New AD/CVD Orders; Key Court Cases; Enforcement Actions; and Events & Opportunities (U.S. Government). View Mailer→

Trade-Related News in a Flash 3.24.17

March 24, 2017

Subject: Department of State Publishes Comments Received from Industry in Response to USML Category XII Notice of Inquiry; General Updates; ACE and Automated Systems; New AD/CVD Orders; Key Court Cases; Enforcement Actions; and Events & Opportunities (U.S. Government). View Mailer→

News & Events from Joiner Law Firm - North Korea's Use of Front Companies

March 23, 2017

This newsletter features four articles entitled, "U.N. Issues Report on North Korea’s Evasion of Sanctions Through Elaborate Network of Front Companies and Shipments To Africa," "New DOJ Guidance on Corporate Compliance Programs," "CBP To Permit Use of Protests to Submit Certain Post-Importation Preference Claims," and "Timeline of the New Online Defense Export Control and Compliance System (DECCS)." Read More→

U.N. Issues Report on North Korea’s Evasion of Sanctions Through Elaborate Network of Front Companies and Shipments To Africa

March 23, 2017

According to a United Nations report issued on February 27, 2017, North Korea is currently “flouting sanctions through trade in prohibited goods, with evasion techniques that are increasing in scale, scope, and sophistication.” The evasion techniques include an elaborate network of overseas companies run by North Korean intelligence agents and weapon shipments to North Korea-friendly countries in Africa, where sanctions enforcement is lax. Read More→

New DOJ Guidance on Corporate Compliance Programs

March 23, 2017

In February, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Fraud Section quietly published a guidance document on its website titled “Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs.” The guidance highlights a list of questions it considers when evaluating the effectiveness of corporate compliance programs. Read More→

CBP To Permit Use of Protests to Submit Certain Post-Importation Preference Claims

March 23, 2017

Pursuant to a recent decision by the Court of International Trade in Zojirushi America Corp. v. U.S., U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has published updated guidance permitting importers to use the statutory protest mechanism set forth in 19 U.S.C. § 1514 to submit initial post-import preference claims. Read More→

Timeline of the New Online Defense Export Control and Compliance System (DECCS)

March 23, 2017

As international trade procedures move into full online integration, the U.S. Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) is just one of the many federal agencies partnering with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to work towards efficient interagency processing and the elimination of otherwise duplicative paperwork. Read More→

JLF Attorneys Offer Insight on the Compliance Responsibilities of Exporters, Freight Forwarders in WorldECR Journal

March 23, 2017

In an article published in the most recent issue of WorldECR, the journal of export controls and sanctions, Joiner Law Firm attorneys, Jamie Joiner and Ashley Moore, encourage exporters and freight-forwarders to work together to ensure that their transactions comply with applicable regulations, which will in turn help mitigate the risk of an export violation. Download Article→

Kristin Kruse Lotz, 2017 Texas "Rising Star" by Thomson Reuters

March 10, 2017

Joiner Law Firm PLLC  is proud to announce that attorney Kristin Kruse Lotz has been recognized as a 2017 Texas Rising Star (Thomson Reuters).  The list will be featured in the April 2017 editions of both Texas Monthly and the Texas Super Lawyers Magazine.  Nominated by members of the prestigious Texas Super Lawyers list, the 2017 Texas Rising Stars (Thomson Reuters) honor is reserved for the top Texas attorneys who are 40 years old or younger, or have been in practice fewer than 10 years. Only 2.5 percent of eligible Texas attorneys receive this honor each year.  This is the fifth year in a row that Kristin has received this recognition. 

Joiner Law Firm celebrates International Women's Day! #BeBoldForChange

March 8, 2017

Today, on International Women’s Day, we look to the women in our own lives who drive and inspire us—our mothers, grandmothers, and even our daughters. We owe our very lives to the courageous women who came before us, some facing adversity as immigrants working for a better life, and we strive to instill this strength and passion within our daughters. Here’s to great women—may we know them, may we be them, and may we raise them! Learn More→

Trade-Related News in a Flash 3.3.17

March 3, 2017

Subject: DOJ Issues New Guidance on Corporate Compliance Programs; General Regulatory Information; ACE and Automated Systems; New AD/CVD Orders; Key Court Cases; Enforcement Actions. View Mailer→

Alleged Antiboycott Violation

March 3, 2017

On February 17, 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Antiboycott Compliance (OAC) reached a settlement agreement with Pelco, Inc. (Pelco) for $162,000 over allegations of 66 violations of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The alleged violations involved the sale and/or transfer of goods or services from the U.S. to the UAE and Kuwait from May 2011 – Jan. 2016. For 32 of the alleged violations, OAC stated that Pelco knowingly refused to do business with another person pursuant to an agreement with, a requirement of, or a request from or on behalf of a boycotting country. The other alleged violations were cases where Pelco failed to report receipt of antiboycott requests to OAC.

DOJ Issues New Guidance on Corporate Compliance Programs

March 3, 2017

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Fraud Section recently published a list of topics and questions it considers when evaluating the effectiveness of corporate compliance programs in a document titled “Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs.”  The existence and effectiveness of a corporation’s pre-existing compliance program is one of the factors DOJ considers when determining whether to bring charges and when negotiating plea or other agreements.  This new guidance provides a useful tool in a question format to aid companies in assessing their own compliance programs and for benchmarking where they may stand with respect to DOJ’s expectations.

CBP To Permit Use of Protests to Submit Certain Post-Importation Preference Claims

March 2, 2017

CBP recently published updated guidance on the filing of post-entry claims for preferential tariff treatment.  Previously, post-importation preference claims made under programs not listed in 19 U.S.C. § 1520(d) could only be made prior to final liquidation.  Pursuant to a recent decision by the Court of International Trade in Zojirushi America Corp. v. U.S., CBP will now permit importers to use the statutory protest mechanism to make post-importation preference claims under these preference programs.  Importers whose protests were previously rejected as non-protestable are requested to resubmit their protests to the appropriate field offices within 180 days.

Three U.S. Persons Charged with Exporting Prohibited Articles to Syria

March 2, 2017

Three U.S. persons were arrested and charged with exporting prohibited articles to Syria in violation of the Syrian trade embargo and the EAR according to an Indictment charging eleven individuals and one foreign company.  The three U.S. persons managed and operated AW-Tronics, a Miami, Florida export company which shipped and exported various aircraft parts and equipment to Syrian Arab Airlines, the Syrian government’s airline.  The individuals are alleged to have facilitated the improper transactions by submitting false and misleading electronic export information to federal agencies, and to have closely supervised and encouraged subordinate employees in the willful exportation of the parts and equipment to Syrian Arab Airlines.

President Trump Issues Executive Order on Deregulation

March 1, 2017

On February 24, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order on Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda intended to “alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on the American people.” In it, federal agencies have 60 days to identify regulations that inhibit job creation, are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective, and impose costs that exceed benefits. Read more→

Houston Bar Association Gender Fairness Committee’s Fourth Annual Speed Mentoring Event

February 27, 2017

On February 23, 2015, attorney Kristin Kruse Lotz served as a mentor at the Houston Bar Association Gender Fairness Committee’s Fourth Annual Speed Mentoring Event for 1st to 5th year Women Attorneys held at Vinson & Elkins LLP. The event featured 40 mentors who spoke with 30 mentees in three-minute “speed-mentoring” sessions providing practical advice on career progression, business development, and changes in the legal profession. The mentors included members of the judiciary, in house counsel, and seasoned attorneys. Ms. Lotz founded the event in 2014 when she co-chaired the HBA Gender Fairness Committee.

Trade-Related News in a Flash 2.24.17

February 24, 2017

Subject: Secretaries of State and Homeland Security Travel to Mexico City, Mexico to Discuss Trade and Other Topics; General Regulatory Information; ACE and Automated Systems; New AD/CVD Orders; Enforcement Actions; Events & Opportunities (U.S. Government). View Mailer→

President Donald Trump Meets with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

February 17, 2017

President Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau concluded their visit at the White House this week with a joint press conference, during which the two leaders committed to working together to pursue “shared interests” in domestic security and trade between the two countries notwithstanding different stances on issues such as immigration.  With respect to NAFTA, Mr. Trump commented that the U.S. would be “tweaking” its “outstanding trade relationship with Canada,” while the relationship with Mexico would require more work “to make it a fair deal for both parties.” 

Trade-Related News in a Flash 2.17.17

February 17, 2017

Subject: President Donald Trump Meets with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; General Regulatory Information; ACE and Automated Systems; New AD/CVD Orders; Key Court Cases; Events & Opportunities (U.S. Government). View Mailer→

Setting 2017 Trade Compliance Priorities in an Uncertain Environment (Part 2)

February 16, 2017

In the last edition of Practical Insights, I discussed three individual priorities for trade compliance professionals to consider implementing this year during these uncertain times. In this edition, I discuss organization-wide goals to help you enhance your organization’s trade compliance program in 2017. Read More→

News & Events from Joiner Law Firm - A 2017 Trade Compliance Checklist

February 16, 2017

This newsletter features six articles entitled, "U.S. Eases Sanctions Against Sudan," "Trump Administration Moves to Drastically Change Regulatory Environment," "U.S. Withdraws from the Trans-Pacific Partnership," "BIS Updates – New Compliance Guidelines, Changes to India and Hong Kong Licensing Policies," "OFAC Issues ‘Compliance Services Guidance’ Relating to U.S. Sanctions Laws," and "Setting 2017 Trade Compliance Priorities in an Uncertain Environment (Part 2)." Read More→

Trump Administration Moves to Drastically Change Regulatory Environment

February 16, 2017

Shortly after the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017, the Trump administration took a number of actions to drastically change the federal regulatory environment in the United States, including halting the issuance or implementation of regulations until an individual appointed or designated by President Trump has reviewed and approved such, and requiring that agencies and executive departments take certain actions to reduce the number of and control costs associated with federal regulations. Learn More→

U.S. Withdraws from the Trans-Pacific Partnership

February 16, 2017

On January 23, 2017, President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. The memorandum also orders the permanent withdrawal of the U.S. from any future TPP negotiations and directs the U.S. to begin pursuing bilateral trade negotiations “to promote American industry, protect American workers, and raise American wages.” Learn More→

BIS Updates – New Compliance Guidelines, Changes to India and Hong Kong Licensing Policies

February 16, 2017

BIS Amends Licensing Policy, Other Provisions regarding India – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) amended the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), effective January 19, 2017, by establishing a licensing policy of general approval for exports or reexports to or transfers within India of items that are subject to the EAR and controlled only for national security or regional stability reasons. Learn More→

OFAC Issues ‘Compliance Services Guidance’ Relating to U.S. Sanctions Laws

February 16, 2017

In response to numerous inquiries, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published a guidance document that describes certain legal and compliance-related services that U.S. persons, including U.S. attorneys and compliance personnel, may provide to U.S. or foreign persons, other than blocked or prohibited parties. Learn More→

BIS Updates Export Compliance Guidelines

February 10, 2017

The Bureau of Industry and Security’s (BIS) Office of Exporter Services recently revised its Export Compliance Guidelines and Audit Module and combined the content into one easy-to-use booklet. The revised resource is intended to provide useful guidance and assistance to companies as they create or enhance their Export Compliance Programs. Learn More→

Trade-Related News in a Flash 2.10.17

February 10, 2017

Subject: BIS Updates Export Compliance Guidelines; General Regulatory Information; ACE and Automated Systems; New AD/CVD Orders; Enforcement Actions; Events & Opportunities (U.S. Government). View Mailer→

OFAC Increases Maximum Amount of Civil Monetary Penalties It May Assess

February 10, 2017

In order to implement the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended, on February 10, 2017, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued regulations to adjust for inflation the maximum amount of civil monetary penalties that may be assessed under relevant OFAC regulations, including regulations issued pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA).

U.S. Eases Sanctions Against Sudan

February 9, 2017

In his final week in office, President Obama issued an Executive Order announcing that the U.S. would lift a nearly 20-year-old trade embargo against Sudan in response to Sudan’s positive steps towards, among other things, a reduction in offensive military activity and improvement in humanitarian access throughout Sudan. Learn More→

State Department Receives Re-Submitted Permit Application for TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline

February 9, 2017

The U.S. Department of State recently informed the public that, pursuant to the presidential memorandum issued last month by Pres. Trump, TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P. has re-submitted its application for a presidential permit that would authorize the construction and operation of pipeline facilities on the U.S./Canadian border for the Keystone XL project -- part of a proposed 875-mile pipeline designed to transport up to 830,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Canada to the U.S. While the application was denied in November 2015, Pres. Trump (in the memorandum) invited TransCanada to reapply.

OFAC Posts Cyber-Related FAQs re: Russia’s Federal Security Service

February 9, 2017

On February 8, 2017, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published four Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to the recent U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia’s Federal Security Service (a.k.a. the FSB) and the issuance of General License 1, which authorizes certain transactions with the FSB when acting in its administrative and law enforcement capacities. View FAQs→

Joiner Law Firm Welcomes New Senior Associate Kristin Kruse Lotz!

February 7, 2017

Kristin joins the firm as Senior Associate. Kristin was formerly an Associate at Winstead PC where she practiced complex commercial litigation representing clients in business torts, lender liability, commercial disputes, environmental disputes, and royalty litigation. She has substantial experience leading large-scale review projects for multinational companies.  Learn More→

Trump Administration Imposes New Sanctions on Iran after Missile Test

February 3, 2017

On February 2, 2017, officials in the Trump administration stated that it would put Iran “on notice” that Iran’s hostile actions (particularly, its recent ballistic missile launch) would not go “un-responded to.” On February 3, 2017, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) subsequently added to its SDN List 25 individuals and entities with ties to Iran’s ballistic missile program and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps - Qods Force, a designated terrorist organization. President Trump has indicated that “nothing is off the table” with respect to Iran and tweeted the following statement early this morning: “Iran is playing with fire - they don't appreciate how "kind" President Obama was to them. Not me!” 

OFAC Updates List of Medical Devices That Must Be Specifically Authorized for Export to Iran

February 3, 2017

On February 2, 2017, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) revised its List of Medical Devices Requiring Specific Authorization to update and clarify the scope of medical devices that are not authorized for exportation or reexportation to Iran pursuant to the general license for medical devices, which is found in § 560.530(a)(3)(i) of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR). View List→

Trade-Related News in a Flash 2.3.17

February 3, 2017

Subject: Trump Administration Imposes New Sanctions on Iran after Missile Test; General Regulatory Information; ACE and Automated Systems; New AD/CVD Orders; Enforcement Actions; Events & Opportunities (U.S. Government). View Mailer→

OFAC Issues General License for Certain Transactions with Russia’s Federal Security Service

February 2, 2017

On February 2, 2017, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published Cyber-related General License (GL) 1 to authorize certain transactions and activities with Russia’s Federal Security Service (a.k.a. FSB). Read More→

Joiner Law Firm Supports Camp for All and Attends ‘Superheroes for All’ Gala

February 2, 2017

On January 28, 2017, Joiner Law Firm joined forces at Camp for All’s “Superheroes for All” gala which raised $1,000,000 to provide a barrier-free camp experience to children and adults living with challenging illnesses or special needs. Read More→

BIS Delays Effective Date of Revision in Rule Removing Certain NP Column 2 Controls

February 1, 2017

To implement the Trump administration’s memo regarding the regulatory freeze, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) temporarily delayed the effective date of one revision implemented by the final rule (issued on Nov. 25, 2016) that removed nuclear nonproliferation (NP) column 2 license requirements from certain pressure tubes, pipes, fittings, pipe valves, pumps, and certain other items on the CCL. Read More→

Pres. Trump Issues EO to Reduce Regulations and Control Regulatory Costs

January 30, 2017

On January 30, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) requiring executive departments and agencies to identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed whenever they propose or promulgate a new regulation for fiscal year (FY) 2017, subject to conditions. Read More→

Trade-Related News in a Flash 1.27.17

January 27, 2017

Subject: Pres. Trump Signs Memo to Withdraw U.S. from TPP; General Regulatory Information; ACE and Automated Systems; Enforcement Actions; Events & Opportunities (U.S. Government). View Mailer→

Pres. Trump Signs Memo to Withdraw U.S. from TPP

January 24, 2017

On January 23, 2017, President Trump signed a memorandum directing the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to withdraw the United States as a signatory to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and to permanently withdraw the United States from TPP negotiations. The memo also directed the USTR to begin pursuing bilateral trade negotiations that “promote American industry, protect American workers, and raise American wages.” Read More→

U.S. Substantially Eases Sanctions on Sudan

January 23, 2017

As a result of an Executive Order and corresponding dual actions taken by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) on January 17, 2017, the long-standing U.S. comprehensive sanctions against Sudan which prohibited the export of most uncontrolled, EAR99 items to Sudan without a license, have effectively been lifted. Read More→

Trade-Related News in a Flash 1.20.17

January 20, 2017

Subject: BIS Amends Licensing Policy, Other Provisions regarding India; General Regulatory Information; ACE and Automated Systems; New AD/CVD Orders; Enforcement Actions; Events & Opportunities (U.S. Government). View Mailer→

Setting 2017 Trade Compliance Priorities in an Uncertain Environment (Part 1)

January 19, 2017

As we head into uncharted waters under a new U.S. presidential administration, many are trying to predict whether and how anti-regulation, anti-globalization and anti-free trade campaign rhetoric will come to fruition when President Trump takes office. Read More→

News & Events from Joiner Law Firm - Setting Trade Compliance Priorities under a New Administration

January 19, 2017

This newsletter features five articles entitled, "OFAC Updates Guidance on Possibility of Iran-Related Sanctions “Snapback”," "U.S. Imposes Sanctions in Response to Russia’s Apparent Interference in U.S. Election 2016; Takes Other Actions against Russia," "BIS Amends EAR to Implement 2016 Decisions, Understandings Reached by Australia Group," "BIS Revises Nuclear Non-proliferation Controls on Certain Items" and "Setting 2017 Trade Compliance Priorities in an Uncertain Environment (Part 1)." Read More→

U.S. Imposes Sanctions in Response to Russia’s Apparent Interference in U.S. Election 2016; Takes Other Actions against Russia

January 18, 2017

In response to Russia’s apparent interference in U.S. election 2016, President Obama amended Executive Order (EO) 13694 (“Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities”) on December 29, 2016 to allow for the imposition of sanctions on those determined to be responsible for tampering, altering, or causing the misappropriation of information with the purpose or effect of interfering with or undermining election processes or institutions. Read More→

OFAC Updates Guidance on Possibility of Iran-Related Sanctions “Snapback”

January 18, 2017

On December 15, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) amended its Iran-related Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to update its guidance on the re-imposition of sanctions in the event of a sanctions snapback under the Iran nuclear deal (officially, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)). Read More→

BIS Revises Nuclear Non-proliferation Controls on Certain Items

January 18, 2017

On December 27, 2016, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued a final rule amending the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to reflect certain understandings reached by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in 2015 and 2016.Read More→

BIS Amends EAR to Implement 2016 Decisions, Understandings Reached by Australia Group

January 18, 2017

On December 16, 2016, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued a final rule amending the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to implement the decisions and understandings reached by the Australia Group (“AG”) in February and June 2016. Read More→

OFAC Authorizes Prohibited Transactions with Sudan; BIS Modifies Sudan Licensing Policy

January 16, 2017

In connection with ongoing U.S.-Sudan bilateral engagement, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is amending the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations to authorize all prohibited transactions, including transactions involving property in which the Government of Sudan has an interest. Read More→

Trade-Related News in a Flash 1.13.17

January 13, 2017

Subject: OFAC Issues ‘Compliance Services Guidance’ Relating to U.S. Sanctions Laws; General Regulatory Information; ACE and Automated Systems; Enforcement Actions; Events & Opportunities (U.S. Government). View Mailer→

OFAC Issues ‘Compliance Services Guidance’ Relating to U.S. Sanctions Laws

January 12, 2017

On January 12, 2017, in response to numerous inquiries, OFAC published a guidance document that describes certain legal and compliance-related services that U.S. persons, including U.S. attorneys and compliance personnel, may provide to U.S. and foreign persons (with the exception of blocked or prohibited parties). Read More→

CBP Delays Deployment of Post-Release Capabilities in ACE

January 12, 2017

In consideration of stakeholder feedback, among other things, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it is postponing the deployment of post-release capabilities (including liquidation, drawback, duty deferral, reconciliations, collections, statements, and the Automated Surety Interface) in ACE, which was scheduled to take place on January 14, 2017. However, CBP still plans to post Notices of Liquidation electronically beginning January 14 as planned.

ECR Presses On with More Revisions to Controls on Certain Spacecraft Systems and Related Items

January 12, 2017

As part of the Export Control Reform (ECR) Initiative, on January 10, 2017, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued a final rule amending the EAR to address issues raised in and public comments on its interim final rule issued in May 2014, which added controls to the EAR for spacecraft and related items that the President had determined no longer warrant control on the U.S. Munitions List (USML). Read More→

Trade-Related News in a Flash 1.6.17

January 6, 2017

Subject: BIS Adds Five Russian Entities to Entity List; General Regulatory Information; ACE and Automated Systems; Enforcement Actions; Events & Opportunities (U.S. Government). View Mailer→

Upcoming Events

The following events related to international trade may be of interest to you:

Event List
  • JUL26 Port of Houston Appreciation Luncheon (Houston, TX)

    Join the Houston East End Chamber of Commerce for the Port of Houston Appreciation Luncheon, which will include a keynote speech from Roger Guenther (Executive Director, Port of Houston Authority) and a wealth of information involving strategies business owners can implement when conducting international business. Other event details can be found here. Register→

  • SEP20 JLF Attorneys to Present at Advanced Topics in Customs Compliance Conference (Houston, TX)

    At this year’s conference, Jamie Joiner will discuss several important trade-related topics, including key recent Customs cases, rulings, and regulatory changes that every import compliance manager should be aware of; the latest 2017 guidance from BIS and DOJ on the government’s expectations for U.S. export control and sanctions compliance programs; the use of ACE export data to monitor exporters’ compliance; and the importance of a post export audit process in compliance programs.  JLF attorney, Thomas Ludwig, will present on balancing deemed export compliance obligations with anti-discrimination laws.  Joiner Law Firm is a proud sponsor of this advanced-level trade compliance conference.  Register→


Past Events (2017)

Below are Joiner Law Firm related events of 2017:

MAY17 Jamie Joiner to Discuss Developments in Sanctions & Export Controls under Trump Administration (Houston, TX)

Join the Houston Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarder Association (HCBFFA) on May 17, 2017 to hear Jamie Joiner present on the export and sanctions compliance responsibilities of freight forwarders; practical compliance tips for freight forwarders in working with U.S. exporters/shippers; and recent changes and enforcement actions in the export controls and sanctions arena. Jamie's presentation will also include an outlook under the new administration. Link→


MAY10 Jamie Joiner to Discuss U.S.-China Energy Trade at HBA Event (Houston, TX)

To help put the Trump administration’s developing policy regarding China in perspective, Jamie Joiner and other panelists from academia and Chinese state owned entities will discuss topics related to US-China energy trade, current Chinese energy policy, and U.S. law impacting Chinese energy trade and investment. This event is organized by the Houston Bar Association’s International Law Section. View Flyer→


APR13 Jamie Joiner to Present at HDEC Export University Seminar (Houston, TX)

Jamie Joiner will be providing an update on recent changes to U.S. export controls and sanctions laws and regulations as well as an outlook on export enforcement under the new administration at the Houston District Export Council’s Export University seminar on the morning of April 13th. Link


APR2 Joiner Law Firm is Heading to New Orleans and the NCBFAA Annual Conference (New Orleans, LA)

If you are going to be in New Orleans for the upcoming NCBFFA Conference, be sure to stop by Booth 49 where Joiner Law Firm will be celebrating just how sweet compliance can be with a bar, a CANDY BAR that is! Come and enjoy all of the sweet treats we’ll have! You won’t want to miss it! Link


MAR21 Jamie Joiner to Discuss Import and Export Laws, NAFTA, and Trade Compliance at Houston West Chamber of Commerce

This morning breakfast seminar, led by U.S. Commercial Service-Houston and Houston West Chamber staff, provides an updated outlook of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The program will cover the information exporters must know to comply with U.S. Export control requirements on commercial goods, and understanding changes under the new administration. Link