Over the past nine months, companies and governments have competed for goods and materials amidst scarcity and disrupted supply chains. At the same time, governments, central banks, international organizations and NGOs have poured money into economies, hoping to provide relief, meet demand to procure essential goods, and find solutions to an unprecedented situation. This unprecedented environment has created legal risk for market participants, and the potential for a wave of enforcement in the future.
The COVID-19 pandemic has generated a renewed focus on biotechnology and life sciences companies. Non-U.S. investors need to be aware of the potential that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) may have jurisdiction to review, and possibly disallow certain investments in U.S. companies. In particular, new rules enacted this year expand CFIUS jurisdiction to include non-controlling investments in certain U.S. businesses dealing in “critical technologies,” which includes certain products and technologies in the biotechnology sector. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the expansion of biotech-type businesses that might be considered sensitive from a national security perspective even if they do not rise to the level of “critical technologies,” which could trigger mandatory CFIUS filings. CFIUS risk assessments will be an important part of any transaction involving foreign investors in the biotech sector.
On April 19, 2020, the Treasury Department in conjunction with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released a temporary interim final rule (“Rule”) to provide importers that meet the qualifying criteria with the option of a 90-day deferment period on the payment of duties, taxes, and fees for goods coming into the U.S. in March and April. Similar to other COVID-19-related rules, the Rule became effective immediately. Continue reading →