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Bureau-of-Industry-and-Security-seal-300x300On October 21, 2021, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced an interim final rule (Interim Rule), which will amend the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to add controls for the export, reexport and transfer of certain cybersecurity exploitation, intrusion and monitoring tools. The Interim Rule also creates a new License Exception “Authorized Cybersecurity Exports (ACE)” that authorizes certain exports, reexports and transfers of cybersecurity items, as described in more detail below. The Interim Rule will be made effective 90 days after publication, on January 19, 2022.

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On September 14, 2021, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s (KSA’ s) Cabinet of Ministers launched a new Permanent Ministerial Committee for Examining Foreign Investments (CEFI) that would review foreign investments for potential national security threats. This development comes at an important time as the Kingdom opens its doors for foreign investments in pursuit of the Vision 2030 plan. The Ministry of Investment recently reported that foreign investment licenses in the KSA rose 108% in the first half of 2021 in comparison the preceding year. The committee is expected to function in a manner similar to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), and the proposed UK National Security and Investment Bill, although its future role and implementation remain to be determined.

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The CFIUS process itself requires close strategic consideration in getting to deal certainty. Navigating the review process can be a daunting task, especially as CFIUS appears to be moving quickly and proactively to stop risky deals from closing. Join our colleagues Nancy Fischer and Patrick Hovakimian in The Deal’s September 23 webinar, “Structuring M&A and Private Equity Deals: The CFIUS Challenge in Getting Deals Done” for a discussion of the advance planning and deal structuring needed to anticipate and navigate CFIUS. Nancy and Patrick will be joined by panelists Alex Darden (EQT Partners), Kevin Hutchins (Juniper Networks), Sirisha Kadamalakalva (DataRobot) and David Lam (Atlantic Bridge Ventures).

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On August 9, 2021, the one-year anniversary of the claimed reelection of Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenka, President Biden issued an “Executive Order on Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Belarus” (August 9, 2021 Executive Order). The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) implemented the executive order by sanctioning 27 individuals and 17 entities related to the Lukashenka regime.

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On July 30, 2021, the Biden Administration published a Proposed Amendment to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) (Proposed Rule) that, among other things, would impose significantly increased U.S. content requirements for U.S. Government procurements when the Buy American Act of 1933 (BAA) applies. These increases follow a trend of tightening domestic content rules that started during the Trump Administration.

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The Biden Administration has signaled an expanded commitment to longstanding U.S. anti-corruption policies, and recent enforcement actions and policy announcements provide insights into what foreign officials, companies and investors can expect. Early signs indicate an intent both to bolster core anti-corruption enforcement through the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and anti-money laundering tools (see here), and to explore administrative tools such as targeted sanctions.

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TAKEAWAYS

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As part of its continuing efforts to protect US communications networks from communications equipment and services that pose a national security risk, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on June 17, 2021, released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry (NPRM/NOI) seeking comments on its proposal to prohibit the authorization (and revoke existing authorizations) of any communications equipment on the list of equipment and services that the Commission maintains pursuant to the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019 (referred to as the Covered List).  The NPRM/NOI also proposes to require entities participating in competitive bidding for FCC licenses to certify that its bids do not rely on financial support from any entity the FCC has designated as a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or the communications supply chain. Continue reading →

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On April 26, 2021, the UK announced a new global anti-corruption sanctions regime and has imposed sanctions on 22 people whom the UK Government has reasonable grounds to suspect have been involved in serious corruption. Under the new Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/488), those designated will be subject to an asset freeze and travel ban.

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U.S., UK and EU authorities continue to expand sanctions targeting the Tatmadaw, Myanmar’s armed forces, following the February 1, 2021 military coup in Myanmar (also known as Burma). Over the past month, the United States and its European allies have imposed blocking and other sanctions on (a) the two major Tatmadaw-controlled conglomerates in Myanmar that provide financing for the armed forces; (b) additional gem, pearl and timber industry companies that provide sources of funding to the coup regime; and (c) further coup regime and Tatmadaw officials.

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