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Takeaways

  • The G7 has announced consensus on a price cap for Russian origin oil and petroleum products to be implemented across a wide coalition of countries.
  • The cap would be implemented by prohibiting services related to the maritime transportation of Russian-origin crude oil and petroleum products unless the products are purchased below the capped price, and thus impacts a broad array of industries.
  • The capped prices have yet to be determined and are proposed to be aligned with the implementation of restrictions in the EU’s sixth sanctions package, which will reportedly go into effect by December 5, 2022.

On September 2, 2022, the Group of 7 (G7) nations formally announced its consensus to implement a global price cap on Russian oil and petroleum products in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The Joint Statement does not provide a specific timeline for implementation of the price cap, but notes that it seeks to align implementation with related measures within the EU’s sixth sanctions package, which will come into effect on December 5, 2022. (See here for prior analysis of this package.) The initial capped price has not been announced, and will be decided by the full coalition in advance of implementation.

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On August 15, 2022, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published an interim final rule introducing new controls on four “emerging and foundational technologies” that were identified during the December 2021 plenary meeting of the multilateral Wassenaar Arrangement. These items are two substrates of ultra-wide bandgap semiconductors (gallium oxide and diamond), electronic computer aided design (ECAD) software specially designed for the development of integrated circuits with Gate-All-Around Field-Effect Transistor (GAAFET) structure, and pressure gain combustion (PGC) engine technology for the production and development of gas turbine engines.

The new controls were implemented effective on August 15, 2022, with the exception of the controls for ECAD software, which will be effective on October 14, 2022. BIS has requested public comments only on the new ECAD controls, which are due by September 14, 2022.

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EU update
On July 21, 2022, the EU published its “maintenance and alignment” package of sanctions. This latest package seeks to tighten existing sanctions, perfect their implementation, and strengthen their effectiveness. In summary, this latest package has the following effects:

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On July 13, 2022, as part of a new pilot program, the Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) issued two open general licenses (OGLs) permitting certain reexports and retransfers of unclassified defense articles subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) within or between Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The OGLs were published in the Federal Register on July 20, 2022, and will be effective August 1, 2022. The OGLs could significantly reduce licensing burdens for many entities in these close ally countries of the United States.

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EU introduces a sixth package of sanctions.

On June 3, 2022, the EU adopted a sixth package of sanctions against Russia which includes economic, individual, media and diplomatic measures. (See the full text of the regulation here.) Continue reading →

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Key Takeaways:

  • The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) went into effect on June 21, 2022, and requires the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to presume that all goods manufactured wholly or in part in the XUAR, or by the entities identified by the U.S. government on June 17, 2022, are made with forced labor and banned from import to the United States, unless the importer demonstrates otherwise (a “rebuttable presumption”).
  • Guidance and Reports published in the week leading up to June 21 identify key information for companies seeking to comply with the law, maintain U.S. imports, and understand the supply chain information that may be required by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
  • Where the presumption of forced labor applies, rebutting it will require an importer to overcome a high bar by providing “clear and convincing” evidence; however, this same high standard will not necessarily apply to demonstrating that imports have no connection with the XUAR.

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On June 12, 2022, a bipartisan group of Senate and House lawmakers announced agreement on a new draft of the National Critical Capabilities Defense Act of 2022 (NCCDA), which would establish an expansive outbound review mechanism for investments and other transactions in specified countries of concern, including China. The draft is based on a bill introduced in the Senate last year that ultimately was not included in the US Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which passed, while the House included a similar measure in its America COMPETES Act, which also passed, and the two bills are now in conference.

If enacted, the NCCDA would establish a new interagency panel to review and potentially prohibit outbound transactions on national security grounds. The Committee on National Critical Capabilities (CNCC) would function in a manner similar to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), which reviews inbound foreign investment. Both US persons and foreign entities that engage in or plan to engage in a “covered activity” would be required to submit a mandatory written notification 45 days before engaging in the activity.  It is not clear how the requirement would apply to a foreign entity that does not have a connection with the United States.

“Covered activities” include an extraordinarily wide range of transactions including any activity by a US person or a foreign entity or their affiliates that:

  • Builds, develops, produces, manufactures, fabricates, refurbishes, expands, shifts, services, manages, operates, utilizes, sells, or relocates a national critical capability to or in a country of concern;
  • Shares, discloses, contributes, transfers, or licenses to an entity of concern any design, technology, intellectual property, or knowhow, including through open-source technology platforms or research and development, that supports, contributes to, or enables a national critical capability by an entity of concern or in a country of concern; or
  • Invests in, provides capital to, or consults for, or gives any guidance, related to enhancing the capabilities or facilitating access to financial resources for a national critical capability for an entity of concern or a country of concern.”

Covered activities would also include transactions by certain entities that receive financial assistance pursuant to the Bipartisan Innovation Act (the presumed name of the legislation that emerges from conference), as well as activities by entities that benefit from government contracts over a certain amount (to-be-determined) with a US national security agency with respect to an entity of concern or a country of concern.

In addition to China, “countries of concern’ include Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela. The term “entity of concern” is broadly and vaguely defined to include entities “affiliated with” or “influenced by” a country of concern. Covered activities would not include de minimis value transactions, as well as “ordinary business transactions,” which generally include transactions involving the sale or license of a finished product.

“National critical capabilities” are defined as those identified necessary for supply chains identified pursuant to the supply chain review mandated by Executive Order 14017, including:

  • semiconductor manufacturing materials,
  • large capacity batteries,
  • critical minerals and materials,
  • pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients, and
  • “critical and emerging technologies,” such as artificial intelligence, bioeconomy, and quantum information science and technology.

Once a notification is submitted, the CNCC would undertake a review to determine if the activity is likely to result in “an unacceptable risk to one or more national critical capabilities.” If it determines such a risk exists, it will make a recommendation to the President to address the risk, including imposing mitigation measures, potentially including disinvestment. The Committee would also have the authority to initiate investigation of a covered activity if a notification is not submitted.

Although the lawmakers announcing the agreement characterized the bill as a “refined proposal,” it is still extremely broad. Key terms and concepts are vague and ill-defined or left to regulators to fill in the blanks, and industry groups including the US China Business Council and the US Chamber are raising their voices in opposition.

 

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We’ve covered in depth the array of sanctions-related activity brought by the international community against Russia in response to the conflict in Ukraine. As these measures mount, Russia has in return taken steps to alleviate some of the pressure such sanctions have brought to bear. In “Russia Introduces Tools for Russian Persons to Continue Use of Foreign IP Rights without Consent from Rightsholder,” Nancy A. FischerAaron R. HutmanLuke Wochensky and Oleg Khokhlov examine one recent such action.

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On May 8, 2022, the White House announced a number of new measures in response to Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine. The new measures include prohibitions on new categories of services to Russia by U.S. persons; export controls on certain industrial goods; and the addition of several shipping companies, bank executives, and television companies to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) List.

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EU introduces a fifth package of measures.

New asset freezes
On April 8, 2022, the EU published a fifth round of measures against Russia and Belarus. Spread across four regulations, the new measures include additional asset freezes against 217 individuals and 18 entities. Notable inclusions are Otkritie FC Bank, Novikombank, Sovcombank, VTB Bank, and JSC GTLK. The full list of new designations can be found in the Annex to Regulation (EU) 2022/581.

A wind down license is available for the termination of correspondent banking relationships with the newly frozen banks by October 9, 2022. A new ground for licensing has also been added so that member states may enable the sale by listed persons/entities of proprietary rights in EU companies, provided the proceeds of such sale and transfer remain frozen.

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