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On January 24, 2022, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on behalf of the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF) issued a Notice Seeking Public Comments on Methods to Prevent the Importation of Goods Mined, Produced, or Manufactured with Forced Labor in the People’s Republic of China, especially in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, into the United States (RFC). The notice is available here. Comments are due by March 10, 2022.

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From February 21, 2022, the format of the UK Sanctions List and the UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) consolidated list will be different. Businesses must take steps to ensure their systems and processes are configured correctly for the new formatting. In particular, a number of data fields are being updated and seven new fields are being introduced to the OFSI consolidated list.

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EU-flag-1324832819-300x200On December 8, 2021 the EU Commission published its proposal for a new “Anti-Coercion Instrument.” The regulation is being proposed in response to targeted deliberate economic pressures applied to the EU and its Member States in recent years and seeks to deter countries from restricting or threatening to restrict trade or investment to force the EU (or individual Member States) to change their policies in areas such as climate change, taxation and food safety.

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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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