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.
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.
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.
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 →
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.
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.
On April 15, 2021, the U.S. Government announced broad new sanctions authorities that can be used to target Russia and implemented limitations on dealings in Russian sovereign debt. These measures were imposed pursuant to a newly issued Executive Order in response to Russia’s alleged election inference, the SolarWinds cyberattack, and Russia’s ongoing occupation of the Crimea region of Ukraine.
On 22 March 2021, the EU added 11 Burmese officials responsible for last month’s military coup in Myanmar to its sanctions list. The designations are made in response to “the illegitimate over-throwing of the democratically-elected government and the brutal repression by the junta against peaceful protesters” under Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/478 and Council Decision 2021/483. (See the EU Press Release.) The U.S. government issued a statement highlighting the EU action and those of other countries and announced further sanctions designations of its own.
U.S. officials have continued to use a range of policy tools to apply pressure on the military leadership of Myanmar (also known as Burma) in response to the military coup in the country and escalating violence against peaceful protestors. These moves have continued to follow a step-by-step approach, with important export control and sanctions additions thus far in March 2021.