Archive for the ‘BIS’ Category

Export and Recordkeeping Violations Nets $700,000 Fine for Axis Communications

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 by Danielle McClellan

By: Ashleigh Foor

On June 9, 2017 a total of 15 charges were brought against Chelmsford, MA company, Axis Communications, Inc, resulting in a $700,000 fine and a thorough audit of its entire export controls compliance program.

Thirteen of the charges were from exporting thermal imaging cameras without the required licenses on, around, or between the dates of March 16, 2011 and July 15, 2013. Axis exported thermal imaging cameras controlled by the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) from the United States to Mexico. Valued at $391,819, these exports required export license. Thermal imaging cameras, classified under Export Control Classification Number 6A003.b.4, are controlled for national security and regional stability reasons.

Axis also received two charges for failing to comply with EAR recordkeeping requirements. In mid-June of 2013, when these thermal imaging cameras were being shipped from the United States to Mexico, Axis allegedly did not keep the required documents and invoices connected to these exports. The EAR requires companies to retain these transaction documents. Axis’ failure to do so, in addition to its thirteen charges of exporting without a required license, resulted in a civil penalty of $700,000 and an order to undergo an external audit of the company’s export controls compliance program. Axis was required to hire an unaffiliated third-party consultant with an expertise in U.S. export control laws to conduct the audit. The order, given June 9, 2017, stated the company would be put on an export denial list unless fine is paid as arranged and audit is completed with results submitted.

Changes for the Implementation of the International Trade Data System

Thursday, May 11th, 2017 by Danielle McClellan

After consideration of the comments received, the Census Bureau revised and added certain provisions to address the concerns of commenters and to clarify the requirements related to the implementation of the International Trade Data System (ITDS). These changes will be effective July 18, 2017. The changes made in this Final Rule are as follows:

  • Amend the proposed rule to remove the definition and filing requirement for the used electronics indicator.
  • Section 30.1(c) is amended to revise the definition of ‘‘Carrier’’ to include a Non Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) as an example of a carrier because the Automated Export System Trade Interface Requirements allows the Standard Carrier Alpha Code of a NVOCC to be reported.
  • Section 30.1(c), is amended to add the definition of ‘‘U.S. Postal Service customs declaration form’’ to identify the shipment document used for exports by mail.
  • Section 30.1(c), is amended to revise the definition of ‘‘Commercial loading document’’ to include the U.S. Postal Service customs declaration form as an example of a commercial loading document.
  • The note to § 30.2(a)(1)(iv) is amended to add Country Group E:2 to ensure consistency with the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).
  • Section 30.2(c) is amended to clarify the application and certification process by dividing the section based on the filing method, AESDirect or methods other than AESDirect. As a result, the title was amended to read as ‘‘Application and Certification Process’’ as opposed to ‘‘Certification and Filing Requirements.’’
  • Section 30.3(e)(2) is amended to add language requiring the authorized agent to provide the filer name in addition to the Internal Transaction Number (ITN) and date of export as proposed in the NPRM, when requested by the U.S. Principal Party in Interest in a routed transaction.
  • Section 30.4(b)(2)(v) is amended to read ‘‘mail’’ rather than ‘‘mail cargo’’ and the phrase ‘‘filing citation or exemption legend’’ will be revised to read ‘‘proof of filing citation, postdeparture filing citation, AES downtime filing citation, exemption or exclusion legend.’’
  • Section 30.8(a) is amended to more accurately reflect U.S. Postal Service operations.
  • Section 30.16(d) is amended to add Country Group E:2 to ensure consistency with the EAR.
  • Section 30.28 is amended to add language removed from 30.28(c) to the opening paragraph.
  • Section 30.29(a)(2) is amended by clarifying that a license value is only required to be reported for shipments licensed by a U.S. Government agency.
  • Section 30.29(b)(2) is amended to replace the term ‘‘commercial document’’ with the defined term ‘‘commercial loading documents’’.
  • Section 30.37(y) is amended to add Country Group E:2 to ensure consistency with the EAR.
  • Delete Appendices B, C, E and F because the Appendices were initially created to assist the trade in transitioning from the Foreign Trade Statistics Regulations (FTSR) to the FTR and are no longer necessary. As a result of deleting Appendices B, C, E, and F, Appendix D is redesignated as Appendix B. Program Requirements In addition to the above changes the Census Bureau is amending relevant sections of the FTR in order to comply with the requirements of the Foreign Relations Act, Public Law 107–228. The following sections of the FTR are amended to revise or clarify export reporting requirements and are unchanged from the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking of March 9, 2016, titled Foreign Trade Regulations: Clarification on Filing Requirements (RIN 0607– AA55):
  • In § 30.1(c), revise the definition of ‘‘AES applicant’’ to remove the text ‘‘applies to the Census Bureau for authorization to’’ and ‘‘or its related applications’’ because the registration will no longer go through the Census Bureau. Rather, the registration will be submitted to CBP through its Web site or through ACE and will be processed by CBP. In addition, related applications will be eliminated.
  • In § 30.1(c), revise the definition of ‘‘AESDirect’’ to clarify the appropriate parties that can transmit Electronic Export Information (EEI) through the AES, clarify that all regulatory requirements pertaining to the AES also apply to AESDirect, and eliminate the reference to the URL.
  • In § 30.1(c), revise the definition of ‘‘AES downtime filing citation’’ to remove filing requirements from the definition.
  • In § 30.1(c), remove the definition of ‘‘AES participant application (APA)’’ because the APA is no longer used for filers to obtain access to the AES.
  • In § 30.1(c), revise the definition of ‘‘Annotation’’ to remove the word ‘‘placed’’ to eliminate the implication of a manual process and add ‘‘or electronic equivalent’’ to allow for an electronic process.
  • In § 30.1(c), add the definition of ‘‘Automated Commercial Environment (ACE)’’ to identify the system through which the trade community reports data.
  • In § 30.1(c), revise the definition of ‘‘Automated Export System (AES)’’ to clarify that AES is accessed through the Automated Commercial Environment.
  • In § 30.1(c), revise the definition of ‘‘Bill of lading (BL)’’ to distinguish between the responsibilities of the carrier and the authorized agent.
  • In § 30.1(c), revise the definition of ‘‘Container’’ to make the language consistent with Article 1 of the Customs Convention on Containers.
  • In §30.1(c), remove the definition of ‘‘Domestic exports’’ because this term is not used in the FTR and add the definition of ‘‘Domestic goods.’’
  • In § 30.1(c), revise the definition of ‘‘Electronic Export Information (EEI)’’ to reference the Shipper’s Export Declaration itself as opposed to the information collected on the SED.
  • In § 30.1(c), revise the definition ‘‘Fatal error message’’ by removing the following sentence to remove the regulatory requirements from the definition: ‘‘The filer is required to immediately correct the problem, correct the data, and retransmit the EEI.’’
  • In § 30.1(c), revise the term ‘‘Filers’’ to ‘‘Filer’’ and revise the definition to reduce redundancy.
  • In § 30.1(c), remove the definition of ‘‘Foreign exports’’ because this term is not used in the FTR and add the definition of ‘‘Foreign goods.’’
  • In § 30.1(c), remove the definition for ‘‘Non Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC)’’ because the term is not referenced in the FTR.
  • In § 30.1(c), revise the definition of ‘‘Proof of filing citation’’ by removing the word ‘‘placed’’ to eliminate the implication of a manual process and allow for an electronic process.
  • In § 30.1(c), remove the definition of ‘‘Reexport’’ because the term is not used for statistical purposes in the FTR.
  • In § 30.1(c), revise the definition of ‘‘Service center’’ to clarify the role of a service center as it pertains to the FTR.
  • In § 30.1(c), revise the term ‘‘Shipment reference number’’ to read as ‘‘Shipment Reference Number (SRN).’’
  • In § 30.1(c), revise the definition of ‘‘Split shipment’’ to incorporate the revised timeframes addressed in FTR Letter #6, Notice of Regulatory Change for Split Shipments.
  • In § 30.1(c), revise the term ‘‘Transportation reference number’’ to read as ‘‘Transportation Reference Number (TRN).’’
  • Revise § 30.2(a)(1)(iv)(A) to ensure consistency with the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security regulations.
  • Revise § 30.2(a)(1)(iv)(C) to add language which notes that the filer must reference the Department of State regulations for exceptions to the filing requirements for goods subject to the ITAR.
  • Revise § 30.2(b)(3) to remove the reference to ‘‘30.4(b)(3)’’ and add ‘‘30.4(b)(4)’’ in its place.
  • Revise § 30.3(e)(2) to add paragraph (xv) ‘‘Ultimate consignee type’’ to clarify that the authorized agent is responsible for reporting the ultimate consignee type in a routed export transaction.
  • Revise § 30.4(b)(2)(v) to reference only mail shipments by removing the words ‘‘and cargo shipped by other modes, except pipelines’’ because all other modes are covered in paragraph (vi). In addition, revise language to replace ‘‘exporting carrier’’ with ‘‘U.S. Postal Service’’ and remove the reference to § 30.46 because pipeline language has been added to § 30.4(c)(2).
  • Revise § 30.4(b)(3) to indicate that the USPPI or authorized agent must provide the proof of filing citation, post departure filing citation, AES downtime citation, exemption or exclusion legend to the carrier.
  • Revise § 30.4(c) by removing the introductory text.
  • Revise § 30.4 by adding paragraphs (c)(1) to address current post departure filing procedures and (c)(2) to address pipeline filing procedures.
  • Revise the title of § 30.5 to be ‘‘Electronic Export Information filing processes and standards’’ to accurately reflect the information that remains in this section because the AES application and certification process are removed.
  • Revise § 30.5 to remove the introductory text and remove and reserve paragraphs (a) and (b) because the certification process is now addressed in § 30.2(c).
  • Remove § 30.5(d)(3) to remove outdated requirements.
  • Revise § 30.5(f) to amend outdated information.
  • In § 30.6, revise the introductory text to add language indicating that additional elements collected in ITDS are mandated by the regulations of other federal government agencies.
  • Revise § 30.6(a)(1) to include the definition of the USPPI for consistency with the format for other data elements.
  • Revise § 30.6(a)(1)(iii) to clarify the use of an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and include the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number as an acceptable USPPI ID number.
  • Revise § 30.6(a)(1)(iv) to clarify whose contact information should be provided in the AES for the USPPI.
  • Revise § 30.6(a)(5)(i) to clarify the country of ultimate destination to be reported with respect to shipments under BIS and State Department export licenses.
  • Revise § 30.6(a)(5)(ii) and add paragraphs (A) through (C) to clarify the country of ultimate destination to be reported with respect to shipments not moving under an export license.
  • Revise § 30.6(a)(11) by removing paragraphs (i) and (ii) because domestic goods and foreign goods are now included in § 30.1(c) as definitions.
  • Revise § 30.6(a)(19) to conform with the revised term ‘‘Shipment Reference Number (SRN).’’
  • Revise the title of § 30.6(b)(14) to conform with the revised term ‘‘Transportation Reference Number (TRN).’’
  • Revise § 30.6(c) to add paragraph (3) to include the original ITN field. Adding the original ITN field will assist the export trade community and enforcement agencies in identifying that a filer completed the mandatory filing requirements for the original shipment and any additional shipment(s).
  • Remove § 30.10(a)(1) and (2) because the electronic certification notice is no longer provided.
  • In § 30.28, revise the introductory text to incorporate the revised timeframes addressed in FTR Letter #6, Notice of Regulatory Change for Split Shipments.
  • Revise § 30.28(a) to allow for an electronic process and incorporate the revised timeframes.
  • Revise § 30.28 by removing paragraph (c) because this information is included in the introductory text.
  • Revise § 30.29(a)(1) to remove the phrase ‘‘non-USML goods’’ and add the phrase ‘‘goods not licensed by a U.S. Government agency and not subject to the ITAR’’ in its place.
  • Revise § 30.29(a)(2) to remove the phrase ‘‘USML goods’’ and add the phrase ‘‘goods licensed by a U.S. Government agency or subject to the ITAR’’ in its place.
  • Revise § 30.29(b)(2) to remove the phrase ‘‘non-USML’’ and add the phrase ‘‘goods not licensed by a U.S. Government agency in its place.
  • Revise §30.29(b)(2) to remove the phase ‘‘USML shipments’’ and add the phrase ‘‘goods licensed by a U.S. Government agency in its place.
  • Revise § 30.36(b)(4) to ensure consistency with the Export Administration Regulations.
  • Revise the titles to Subpart E and § 30.45, revise paragraphs 30.45(a), (a)(1) and (b), remove and reserve paragraph 30.45(a)(2) and (a)(3), and remove 30.45(c) through 30.45(f) to ensure consistency with the CBP regulations.
  • Revise § 30.46 through 30.49 by removing and reserving these sections.
  • Revise the introductory text in § 30.50 to replace ‘‘Automated Broker Interface (ABI)’’ with ‘‘Automated Commercial Environment (ACE)’’.
  • Revise the introductory text in § 30.53 to provide more detail for classifying goods temporarily imported for repair and remove paragraphs 30.53(a) and 30.53(b).
  • Revise § 30.74 paragraph (c)(5) to indicate the new division name and revise the address.
  • Redesignate Appendix D as Appendix B. Revise the title to read ‘‘Appendix B to Part 30—AES Filing Citation, Exemption and Exclusion Legends’’ and remove ‘‘I. USML Proof of Filing Citation’’, ‘‘XII. Proof of filing citations by pipeline’’, and renumber remaining entries.
  • Revise new Appendix B numbers III and IV to clarify the dates listed in the examples are the dates of export.
  • Remove Appendices C through F because they are no longer needed to help transition the trade community from the Foreign Trade Statistics Regulations to the Foreign Trade Regulations.

Federal Register: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-04-19/pdf/2017-07646.pdf

Pay the Government on Time…or Pay Even Sooner

Thursday, May 11th, 2017 by Danielle McClellan

By: Danielle McClellan

In September 2015, Streit USA Armoring, LLC entered into a Settlement Agreement with the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) that imposed a civil penalty of $1.6 million ($850 million in installment payments and $750,000 suspended). The company violated the regulations after it reexported armored vehicles to Iraq, Nigeria, and the Philippines. Full article available at http://learnexportcompliance.bluekeyblogs.com/2015/10/01/bis-nails-mid-and-high-level-company-officials-but-not-export-administrator-in-addition-to-company/.

During settlement negotiations Streit USA specifically sought for the ability to pay the $850,000 in installment payment of $170,000. Under this plan, the company was required to make all payments on time; it was found that their November 2016 payment was not made in a timely fashion so the Final Order has been amended to move the due date forward for the final two remaining payments. Streit USA will now owe its final payment son May 2017 and September 2017 compared to the original June 2017 and January 2018.

Amended Order: https://efoia.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/export-violations/export-violations-2015/1111-e2498/file

Chinese National Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Export “Bananas”

Thursday, May 11th, 2017 by Danielle McClellan

By: Danielle McClellan

For the past 6 years, 53 year old Fuyi Sun has attempted to purchase carbon fiber for the Chinese military (according to court records). A few years ago Sun contacted what he thought was a US company that distributed carbon fiber, but was, in fact, an undercover entity created by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and staffed by undercover agents. The company, “UC Company,” was asked by Sun to supply M60 Carbon Fiber which is a high-grade carbon fiber that is used in sophisticated aerospace and defense applications, specifically for drones and other government defense applications. M60 Carbon Fiber requires a license for export to China for nuclear non-proliferation and anti-terrorism reasons.

During the course of the relationship between UC Company and Sun, he often suggested various security measures they should take to make sure they would both remain protected from the “U.S. Intelligence.” He instructed the undercover agents to use the word “banana” instead of “carbon fiber” in all communications…he inquired about purchasing 450 kilograms of banana in one email. He also instructed agents to remove identifying barcodes for the carbon fiber, prior to transshipment,  and instructed them to identify it as “acrylic fiber” in customs documentation.

On April 11, 2016, Sun traveled from China to New York to purchase the M60 Carbon Fiber from UC Company. On April 11th and 12th Sun met with undercover agents and suggested to them that the Chinese military was the ultimate end-user for the carbon fiber, he also explained that he personally worked in the Chinese missile program. He further asserted that he had a close relationship with the Chinese military, and would be supplying the M60 Carbon Fiber to the Chinese military or to institutions closely associated with it. He agreed to purchase two cases of the carbon fiber on the 12th from UC Company and provided them with $23,000 in cash for the carbon fiber and then provided an additional $2,000 as compensation for the risk that he believed they were taking to illegally export the carbon fiber to China without a license. Sun was arrested the next day.

Sun pled guilty to attempting to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The maximum sentence in this case will be prescribed by Congress. Sun will be sentenced on July 26, 2017.

Details: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/chinese-national-pleads-guilty-attempting-illegally-export-high-grade-carbon-fiber-china

Exporting to Hong Kong? Don’t Forget Your Written Proof for Hong Kong!

Thursday, May 11th, 2017 by Danielle McClellan

By: John Black

Effective April 19, 2017, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has new documentation requirements for export and reexports under licenses and license exceptions to and from Hong Kong.

BIS will  require persons planning on exporting and reexporting to Hong Kong any items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and controlled on the Commerce Control List (CCL) for national security (NS), missile technology (MT), nuclear nonproliferation (NP column 1), or chemical and biological weapons (CB) reasons to obtain, prior to the export or reexport, a copy of a Hong Kong import license or a written statement from the Hong Kong Government that such a license is not required. The purpose of this change is to require that the Hong Kong Government issue an import license as an acknowledgement that sensitive EAR-controlled items are entering Hong Kong and as an agreement to prevent unauthorized reexport or transfer of those items to prohibited destinations. Interestingly, the prohibited destination that most concerns the US is the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The EAR treats Hong Kong as a separate “country” from the PRC even though the PRC, the United Nations, and nearly everybody else in the world considers Hong Kong to be part of the PRC because Hong Kong is part of the PRC.

Leaving behind the interesting point that the EAR treats Hong Kong as if it is not part of the PRC, there are a lot of details in this new rule. In addition what was described above, this rule will also require persons planning on reexporting from Hong Kong any item subject to the EAR and controlled for NS, MT, NP column 1, or CB reasons to obtain a Hong Kong export license or a statement from Hong Kong government that such a license is not required.

View full details of the rule at http://www.learnexportcompliance.com/News/The-Export-Control-Update-February-2017.aspx#EAR

BIS FAQs Related to Rule: https://bis.doc.gov/index.php/policy-guidance/foreign-import-export-license-requirements/hong-kong

Federal Register: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-01-19/pdf/2017-00446.pdf

BIS Extends Temporary General License for ZTE Corporations & ZTE Kangxun

Thursday, March 30th, 2017 by Danielle McClellan

On February 21, 2017 the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) extended a temporary general license that restored, for a specified time period, the licensing requirements and policies under the EAR for exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country) to ZTE Corporation and ZTE Kangxun that were added to the Entity List on March 8, 2016. The rule extends the general license to March 29, 2017.

Federal Register: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/search/pagedetails.action?granuleId=2017-03664&packageId=FR-2017-02-24&acCode=FR&collectionCode=FR

Florida Company Fined $27 Million for 150 Intentional EAR Violations

Thursday, March 30th, 2017 by Danielle McClellan

By: Danielle McClellan

Access USA Shipping, LLC (Access) of Sarasota, Florida was charged with 150 violations beginning in April 2011 and spanning to February 2013. The company went out of its way to conceal the fact that foreign customers were purchasing products through them without their US merchants knowing who the end users of their items were. Access mis-described, undervalued, and destroyed and/or altered export control documents to conceal the illegal exports. They also made sure that their foreign customers had a direct employee to order through to avoid any export scrutiny. They went as far as allowing foreign customers to send “wish lists” to Access employees who would then purchase the products from their US merchants with US credit cards and PayPal accounts in the name of Eric Baird, Access’s founder and then-owner and CEO or cards opened in the name of the employee making the order. The foreign customer would then reimburse Access or the employee; there were even situations when the shipments were delivered to the homes of Access employees to ensure that the US merchants would not become suspicious of the order and the end user.

Access also exported (or attempted to) items classified as ECCN 0A987 which are controlled for Crime Control reasons to Argentina, Austria, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Libya, South Africa, and Sweden without a BIS export license. It was also found that the company exported (or attempted to) items classified as ECCN 5A990 and controlled for anti-terrorism reasons as well as EAR99 items to Transsphere Oy, a company on the Entity List.

The company is ordered to pay $10 million right away and the other $17 million will be suspended for two years and waived if the company does not commit any violations during the two year probationary period.

Charging Letter: https://efoia.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/export-violations/export-violations-2015/1102-e2490/file

ZTE Pleads Guilty to Criminal Charges and Settles Civil Charges with BIS and OFAC

Thursday, March 30th, 2017 by Danielle McClellan

(Source: Thomsen & Burke, LLP)

Authors: Roszel C. Thomsen, Esq., Roz@t-b.com; Antoinette D. Paytas, Esq., Toni@t-b.com; and Maher M. Shomali, Esq., maher@t-b.com, Wesley A. Demory, Esq. All of Thomsen & Burke, LLP.

Earlier today, ZTE Corporation and the Departments of Justice, Commerce and Treasury announced a global settlement of charges that ZTE violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Regulations.

In total, ZTE has agreed to pay the U.S. Government $892,360,064 and agreed to a significant conduct remedy, in the various plea and settlement agreements described below.
CRIMINAL VIOLATIONS OF IEEPA

ZTE agreed (contingent on the court’s approval) to plead guilty to three criminal charges, including:

  1. Conspiracy to unlawfully export, re-export and transship U.S.-origin servers, switches, routers and other components of a cellular network infrastructure to Iran;
  2. Obstruction of justice by hiding data regarding its sales to Iran, causing its defense counsel to unwittingly provide false information to the Department of Justice, and deleting all communications related to its cover-up; and
  3. Making a materially false statement that it was complying with the laws and regulations of the United States.

The criminal penalties include a fine in the amount of $286,992,532, which represents the largest criminal fine in the history of IEEPA prosecutions, and a criminal forfeiture in the amount of $143,496,266, as well as a conduct remedy discussed below. Because a conduct remedy in a case involving the violation of IEEPA, EAR and OFAC regulations is unusual, a summary of the conduct remedy and its implications is included, below the discussion of ZTE’s settlement agreements with the Departments of Commerce and Treasury.
SETTLEMENT OF CHARGES WITH COMMERCE DEPARTMENT

ZTE also agreed to settle charges with the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) of 380 violations of the EAR, including (1) Conspiracy (2) Acting with Knowledge of a violation in Connection with Unlicensed Shipments of Telecommunications Items to North Korea via China and (3) Evasion. As part of the settlement:

  1. ZTE agreed to pay a penalty of $661 million to BIS, with $300 million suspended during a seven-year probationary period to deter future violations. This is the largest civil penalty ever imposed by BIS.
  2. ZTE agreed to active audit and compliance requirements designed to prevent and detect future violations.
  3. ZTE agreed to a seven-year suspended denial of export privileges, which could be activated by BIS if any aspect of this deal is not met.
  4. BIS will recommend that ZTE be removed from the Entity List.

SETTLEMENT OF CHARGES WITH TREASURY DEPARTMENT

OFAC administers a comprehensive embargo on Iran as set forth in the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (“ITSR”; 31 CFR part 560), including prohibitions on the indirect supply of goods from the United States to Iran, the re-exportation of U.S.-origin goods with knowledge that those items are intended for Iran, and any activity designed to evade or cause a violation of the ITSR. OFAC identified at least 251 ZTE transactions that violated these prohibitions.

ZTE ultimately settled with OFAC for $100,871,266, which was 95% of the maximum statutory civil penalty. As a condition to settlement, ZTE agrees that it has terminated all conduct leading to the apparent violations and will maintain internal policies and procedures that are designed to minimize the risk of future occurrences. Should ZTE willfully violate this condition, the settlement can become null and void, subjecting ZTE to additional OFAC enforcement activity.

Key takeaways for U.S. companies include the need to identify red flags when a customer refuses to disclose the ultimate destination of goods and when a customer involves an unknown intermediary without an adequate explanation.
CONDUCT REMEDY

The conduct remedy imposed on ZTE includes some of the elements addressed in the recently updated BIS Export Compliance Guidelines – The Elements of an Effective Compliance Program and elements that are above and beyond the guidelines. In addition, ZTE’s press release regarding the Settlement includes additional compliance elements that the company implemented in its effort to implement an improved export compliance program.   The standard elements of a compliance program that are addressed in the conduct remedy are:

  1. Issuance of a statement of corporate policy of export control compliance from the chief executive officers of ZTE Corporation and ZTE Kangxun to ensure compliance with the EAR which will be distributed no less than annually to all relevant employees of ZTE Corporation and ZTE Kangxun and their subsidiaries and affiliates.
  2. Implementation of a training program on applicable export control requirements to be provided to (a) its leadership, management, and employees and (b) the leadership, management and employees of its affiliates, subsidiaries, and other entities worldwide over which it has ownership or control.
  3. Record retention as required by the EAR.

The elements that are above and beyond the BIS guidelines are:

  • Submission of six annual audit reports regarding export compliance.
  • Hiring an initial independent compliance monitor that is approved by the U.S. government for a three-year term. The duties of the monitor include preparing the initial three annual audit reports.
  • Hiring an independent compliance auditor, also approved by the U.S. government, for an additional three years to prepare the remaining three annual audit reports.
  • The audit reports must include a certification to BIS, executed under penalty of perjury, from the chief executive officer and chief legal officer of ZTE that to the best of their knowledge, after reasonable inquiry, ZTE and its subsidiaries and affiliates are in compliance with the terms of the Agreement including the compliance program obligations.
  • An affirmative duty to report potentially unlawful transactions to the U.S. government during the probationary period.
  • A requirement to meet at least annually with BIS to discuss any suggestions, comments or proposals for improvement ZTE may wish to discuss with BIS.
  • A requirement to provide copies of training materials, the training schedule and training locations to BIS on a quarterly basis until January 1, 2020.

In its press release, ZTE noted that it has:

  • Appointed a new Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and made major changes to the senior management team, all of whom have a mandate of leading a new ZTE with a best-in-class export compliance program.
  • Created a Chief Executive Officer-led Compliance Committee with the authority and remit to significantly change the company’s policies and procedures, and provide greater oversight of support for the compliance initiatives.
  • Hired a new Chief Export Compliance Officer with responsibility for overseeing the continued development and improvement of the global export compliance program.
  • Created a separate compliance department with increased headcount to build the compliance program with full independence.
  • Issued a new Export Control Compliance Manual created in conjunction with the review of BIS to provide more detailed guidance to the employees. ZTE also now requires an annual Compliance Commitment Agreement from all employees.
  • Implemented a software automation tool which screens shipments from ZTE Corporation and certain subsidiaries for export control obligations. The system is used to determine which items are subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), provides embargo and restricted party screening on the transactions, and places shipments on hold that require detailed classification analysis, application of license exceptions, or application of licenses when necessary.

CONCLUSION

The penalties assessed by Justice, Commerce and Treasury are significant.  Cumulatively, they comprise the largest global settlement involving violations of IEEPA, the EAR and OFAC regulations in history.

Nevertheless, these announcements most likely are not the end of the ZTE saga.  In its plea agreement with the Justice Department, ZTE specifically agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department regarding any criminal investigation it may undertake with respect to the activities of third parties.  In its settlement agreement with the Commerce Department, that agency merely agreed to recommend removal of ZTE from the Entity List.  Removal of ZTE from the Entity List will require the agreement of other agencies (including State and Defense, which are not parties to the global settlement) and publication of a new rule in the Federal Register.

Source Documents:

Company Fined $301K for Exporting Thermal Imaging Cameras to Hong Kong, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Mexico

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017 by Danielle McClellan

By: Danielle McClellan

Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation (Milwaukee Electric) of Brookfield, WI has settled with the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) on 25 charges of Engaging in Prohibited Conduct (764.2(a)). The company has agreed to pay a fine of $301,000 and will not be debarred.

Between April 2012 and May 2014 Milwaukee Electric exported thermal imaging cameras classified as 6A003.b.4 (controlled for NS and RS) to Hong Kong, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Mexico without obtaining the required Department of Commerce export licenses. The total value of all shipments was approximately $129,284…nearly half of the fine that the company will pay.

Settlement Agreement: https://efoia.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/export-violations/1099-e2489/file

EAR Expands License Application Support Document Requirements for Hong Kong

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017 by Danielle McClellan

By: John Black

Effective April 19, 2017, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) will  require persons planning on exporting and reexporting to Hong Kong any items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and controlled on the Commerce Control List (CCL) for national security (NS), missile technology (MT), nuclear nonproliferation (NP column 1), or chemical and biological weapons (CB) reasons to obtain, prior to the export or reexport, a copy of a Hong Kong import license or a written statement from the Hong Kong Government that such a license is not required.   The purpose of this change is to require that the Hong Kong Government issue an import license as an acknowledgement that sensitive EAR-controlled items are entering Hong Kong and as an agreement to prevent unauthorized reexport or transfer of those items to prohibited destinations.  Interestingly, the prohibited destination that most concerns the US is the People’s Republic of China (PRC).  The EAR treats Hong Kong as a separate “country” from the PRC even though the PRC, the United Nations, and nearly everybody else in the world considers Hong Kong to be part of the PRC because Hong Kong is part of the PRC.

Leaving behind the interesting point that the EAR treats Hong Kong as if it is not part of the PRC, there are a lot of details in this new rule.  In addition what was described above, this rule will also require persons planning on reexporting from Hong Kong any item subject to the EAR and controlled for NS, MT, NP column 1, or CB reasons to obtain a Hong Kong export license or a statement from Hong Kong government that such a license is not required. This final rule will be effective April 19, 2017.

The following amendments have been made:

  • In § 740.2, add paragraphs (a)(19) and (20) to read as follows:

(a) *  *  *

(19) The exporter or reexporter to Hong Kong of any item subject to the EAR and controlled on the CCL for NS, MT, NP Column 1, or CB reasons has not received one of the following with respect to the item:

(i) A copy of an import license issued to the Hong Kong importer by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, pursuant to the Hong Kong Import and Export (Strategic Commodities) Regulations, that covers all items to be exported or reexported pursuant to that license exception for which a Hong Kong import license is required and that is valid on the date of the export or reexport that is subject to the EAR; or

(ii) A copy of a written statement issued by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region that no import license is required to import into Hong Kong the item(s) to be exported or reexported. The statement may have been issued directly to the Hong Kong importer or it may be a written statement available to the general public. The statement may be used for more than one export or reexport to Hong Kong so long as it remains an accurate statement of Hong Kong law.

(20) The reexporter from Hong Kong of any item subject to the EAR controlled on the CCL for NS, MT, NP column 1, or CB reasons has not received one of the following with respect to the item:

(i) An export license issued by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, pursuant to the Hong Kong Import and Export (Strategic Commodities) Regulations, that covers all items to be reexported pursuant to that license exception for which a Hong Kong export license is required and that is valid on the date of the reexport that is subject to the EAR; or

(ii) A copy of a written statement issued by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region that no Hong Kong export license is required for the item(s) to be rexported.

The statement may have been issued directly to the Hong Kong reexporter or it may be a written statement available to the general public. The statement may be used for more than one reexport from Hong Kong so long as it remains an accurate statement of Hong Kong law.

  • 748.9(b) is amended by revising the section heading, revising paragraph (b) and all notes to paragraph (b), and adding two sentences to the end paragraph of (e)(1), to read as follows:

§ 748.9    Support documents for evaluation of foreign parties in license applications and/or for promoting compliance with license requirements.

(b) Requirements to obtain support documents for license applications. Unless an exception in paragraph (c) of this section applies, a support document is required for certain license applications for:

(1) The People’s Republic of China (PRC) other than the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (see §§ 748.10 and 748.11(a)(2));

(2) ‘‘600 Series Major Defense Equipment’’ (see § 748.11);

(3) Firearms and related commodities to member countries of the Organization of American States (see § 748.12); and

(4) The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (see § 748.13).

Note 1 to Paragraph (b): On a case-by-case basis, BIS may require license applicants to obtain a support document for any license application.

Note 2 to Paragraph (b): For End-Use Certificate requirements under the Chemical Weapons Convention see § 745.2 of the EAR.

*       *       *       *       *

(e) *  *  *

(1) *  *  * The documents issued by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative region that are required pursuant to § 748.13 are not used to evaluate license applications. They must be obtained before shipment and need not be obtained before submitting a license application.

  • Redesignate § 748.13 as § 748.14 and add new § 748.13 to read as follows:

§ 748.13    Hong Kong import and export licenses.

(a) Requirement to obtain the document—(1) Exports and reexports to Hong Kong. An exporter or reexporter must obtain the documents described in paragraph (a)(1)(i) or (a)(1)(ii) of this section before using a license issued by BIS to export or reexport to Hong Kong any item subject to the EAR and controlled on the CCL for NS, MT, NP column 1, or CB reasons. Collectively, the documents issued by Hong Kong must cover all of the items to be exported or reexported pursuant to a license.

(i) A copy of an import license issued to the Hong Kong importer by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, pursuant to the Hong Kong Import and Export (Strategic Commodities) Regulations, that covers the items to be exported or reexported pursuant to that BIS license for which a Hong Kong import license is required and that is valid on the date of the export or reexport that is subject to the EAR; or

(ii) A copy of a written statement issued by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region that no import license is required to import into Hong Kong the item(s) to be exported or reexported to Hong Kong. The statement may have been issued directly to the Hong Kong importer or it may be a written statement available to the general public. The statement may be used for more than one export or reexport to Hong Kong so long as it remains an accurate statement of Hong Kong law.

(2) Reexports from Hong Kong. No license issued by BIS may be used to reexport from Hong Kong any item subject to the EAR controlled on the CCL for NS, MT, NP column 1, and/or CB reasons unless the reexporter has received either:

(i) An export license issued by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, pursuant to the Hong Kong Import and Export (Strategic Commodities) Regulations, that covers all items to be rexported pursuant to that BIS license for which a Hong Kong export license is required and that is valid on the date of the reexport that is subject to the EAR; or

(ii) A copy of a written statement issued by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region that no export license is required from Hong Kong for the item(s) to be reexported. The statement may have been issued directly to the Hong Kong reexporter or it may be a written statement available to the general public. The statement may be used for more than one reexport from Hong Kong so long as it remains an accurate statement of Hong Kong law.

(b) Recordkeeping. The documents required to be obtained by paragraph (a) of this section must be retained and made available to the U.S. Government upon request in accordance with part 762 of the EAR.

  • In § 762.2 remove the word ‘‘and’’ from the end of paragraph (b)(52); remove the period from the end of paragraph (b)(53) and add in its place a semicolon followed by the word ‘‘and’’; add paragraph (b)(54) to read as follows:

§ 762.2    Records to be retained.

*       *       *       *       *

(b) *  *  * (54) § 748.13, Certain Hong Kong import and export licenses.

 

Federal Register: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-01-19/pdf/2017-00446.pdf