The Bureau of Economic Analysis (“BEA”) of the U.S. Department of Commerce, which conducts a series of mandatory surveys on foreign investments in the U.S., has recently published Form BE-12, its five-year survey on foreign direct investment in the U.S. for fiscal years ending in 2022. The previous five-year survey was conducted back in 2017. This BE-12 survey is mandatory for any 10% or more foreign-owned U.S. entity, regardless of whether the BEA has contacted them or not.Continue Reading Foreign-owned companies operating in the United States must file a 5 year survey with the U.S. Department of Commerce by May 31, 2023 (for paper filings) and June 30, 2023 (for electronic filings).
Reid is the Managing Partner of Sheppard Mullin's London office, practicing in international trade regulations and investigations.
If your company is like many, your board of directors may be demanding that you put more effort into environmental, social, and governance issues, which have become known by the now-ubiquitous acronym “ESG.” Those demands don’t come from nowhere: consumers are demanding transparency and social responsibility. In addition, if your company does business internationally, regulators are now focused on international social justice issues (such as the use of forced labor) more than ever.
Continue Reading Does Your Trade Policy Support Your Company’s Values?
- Threatened 25% tariffs on French luxury goods are suspended.
- USTR is still looking at tariffs in retaliation for taxes on U.S. global tech companies.
- Biden’s new USTR will face immense pressure to negotiate the digital taxation issue in the first few weeks of her tenure.
In the last few weeks of former President Trump’s term in office, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) suspended its previous plans to impose tariffs on certain French luxury goods, as we discussed here and here.
Continue Reading USTR Suspends Tariffs on Certain French Luxury Goods: A Potential Shift in Trade Talks
Over the past few weeks, we have been speculating on the international trends and tides we expect to see in the next four years under a new U.S. presidential administration. So that you can enjoy our prognostications (before our program gets greenlighted as a Netflix special) we provide here:
- A recording of our webinar, entitled “The Four Years in International Business Webinar”
(for those playing along at home, see if you can spot the part where Scott’s power goes out while we’re discussing tariff reductions!)
- A bulleted summary of the key takeaways of our webinar.
On October 15, 2020, CFIUS will officially tie mandatory filings to U.S. export control regimes, including the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). While that change may draw a clearer line of what constitutes a mandatory filing, it also pulls your CFIUS review into the complex (and somewhat nerdy) world of export regulations.
Continue Reading Lend Me Your EARs: CFIUS Makes Export Controls a Trigger for Mandatory Filings
Hiring employees does not usually call to mind international trade compliance obligations. However, together U.S. export controls and anti-discrimination laws create a web that is overlooked or misunderstood by many types of employers of all sizes across many industries. Anti-discrimination laws prohibit unlawful citizenship status restrictions when hiring, and U.S. export controls prohibit disclosing controlled information to foreign nationals without authorization. Together, these law limit acceptable job descriptions and hiring practices.
Continue Reading Export Control HR Pitfalls To Avoid When Hiring
Opening Salvos: The Proposed Tariffs
On June 26, 2020, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published a notice that it is considering new tariffs on exports such as olives, coffee, beer, gin, and trucks coming into the United States from France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The list of potential targets also includes various types of bread, pastries, cakes, and other baked products. That new list of goods may face duties of up to 100%, potentially doubling the price of certain goods.  The announcement caused European stocks to fall, particularly for shares of beverage companies, luxury goods companies, and truck makers.
Continue Reading A Trade War on Two Fronts: U.S. Considers More Tariffs on European Goods
The most pressing question around the new FIRRMA regulations is “Will my transaction be covered?” To provide a bit of guidance on that point, we present an illustration from our upcoming Second Edition of The CFIUS Book due out in March of this year.
Continue Reading From CFIUS, With Love: The FIRRMA Regulations
On December 2, 2019, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced that in response to a digital services tax law passed in France, it would be retaliating with stringent tariffs on luxury products coming from France. The potential tariffs could target up to $2.4 billion worth of French imports into the United States, with duties as high as 100%.
Continue Reading Potential Impact of U.S.-France Trade Tension on U.S. Imports of French Products and Luxury Goods
- Technology Infrastructure and Data. CFIUS will focus its review on investments in critical Technology, critical Infrastructure, and sensitive personal Data (“TID Businesses”).
- Critical technologies is defined to include certain items subject to export controls along with emerging and foundational technologies under the Export Control Reform Act of 2018.
- CFIUS provides a very helpful list of critical infrastructure and functions to help assess whether any business is a TID Business. We reproduce most of this list at the end of this blog article. (Sneak preview: telecom, utilities, energy, and transportation dominate the list.)
- The proposed regulations provide much-needed guidance on what constitutes sensitive personal data and also seek to limit the reach of the definition so it does not cast too wide a net over transactions in which CFIUS really should have no national security concern.
- Exceptions for Certain Countries. Investors from certain countries may be excepted from CFIUS jurisdiction when making non-controlling investments.
- New Set of Rules for Real Estate. In a companion piece, CFIUS proposed for the first time a detailed set of rules related to investments in real estate. We will cover this in a separate blog article to be published in the near future.
- Expansion of Short-Form Declaration Use. The proposed rules provide parties the choice to use a short-form declaration for any transaction under CFIUS jurisdiction in lieu of a long-form notice.
- Comments Due by October 17, 2019. Members of the public may submit comments on the proposed regulations any time between now and October 17, 2019. Final regulations must be adopted by CFIUS and become effective no later than February 13, 2020.
- Emerging technology sectors will soon be subject to new export controls.
- Affected sectors include biotech, computing, artificial intelligence, positioning and navigation, data analytics, additive manufacturing, robotics, brain-machine interface, advanced materials, and surveillance.
- New export controls on these sectors will likely require companies to obtain a license to export products to China and other destinations, and impose restrictions on sharing information with foreign nationals.
- These sectors will also be added the list of industries subject to enhanced foreign investment scrutiny by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
- The U.S. government has invited comments on the criteria to be used to establish new controls. The deadline for comments is December 19, 2018.
Export controls and other regulations often lag a step or two behind the times. That trend has accelerated with the pace of technological advancement. As a result, for many years, technical know-how in many cutting-edge technical fields has not been subject to export controls. This has meant that many commercial technical innovations could be freely exported without significant restrictions. As long as they were not designed for a military application, and no encryption technology involved, many new ideas developed in the United States were simply unaccounted for in the U.S. Export Administration Regulations (EAR).
But the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is about to make up a lot of ground in a single, large leap.
Continue Reading The Little Regulation That Will Make a Big Change in How You Do Business: Department of Commerce to Establish New Export Controls on Emerging Technologies