On September 9, 2019, the U.S. General Services Administration (“GSA”) announced it would be issuing a mass modification (expected sometime this month)[1] requiring all new and existing GSA Multiple Award Schedule (“MAS”) contracts include two new clauses. The new clauses come in response to Section 889 of the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”), and recently implemented FAR provisions, which impose prohibitions relating to the procurement of certain Chinese telecommunications equipment and services (which we have previously discussed here and here). The two clauses to be added to all MAS contracts are:

  • FAR 52.204-25, Prohibition on Contracting for Certain Telecommunications and Video Surveillance Services or Equipment (Aug 2019)
  • GSAR 552.204-70, Representation Regarding Certain Telecommunications and Video Surveillance Services or Equipment (Aug 2019)


Continue Reading GSA Implements Restrictions on Certain Chinese-Made Telecommunications Services and Equipment

We recently wrote about the FAR Council’s release of an interim rule implementing restrictions on procurements involving certain Chinese telecommunications hardware manufacturers and service providers, such as Huawei and ZTE. The interim rule creates a new FAR Subpart 4.21, as well as two new contract clauses, FAR 52.204-24 and 52.204-25, which were effective August 13, 2019. These restrictions apply not only to prime contractors, but also to all subcontractors and throughout the supply chain. Concurrent with the release of the FAR interim rule, the Department of Defense (“DoD”) issued a memorandum, laying out DoD procedures to implement the prohibitions contained therein. These procedures apply to contracts, task orders, and delivery orders, including basic ordering agreements (BOAs), orders against BOAs, blanket purchase agreements (BPAs), and calls against BPAs.
Continue Reading Effective Last Month! – DoD’s Implementation of New FAR Prohibitions on Chinese Telecommunications Equipment and Services in Government Contracts

In accordance with Section 889(a)(1)(A) of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (Pub. L. No. 115-232) (the “2019 NDAA”), which required imposition of broad restrictions on procurements involving certain Chinese telecommunications hardware manufacturers such as Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp within one year, the FAR Council has released an interim rule implementing these restrictions. On August 13, the FAR Council released Federal Acquisition Circular 2019-05 (84 Fed. Reg. 40,216), creating a new FAR Subpart 4.21, as well as two new contract clauses, FAR 52.204-24 and 52.204-25, all of which are effective August 13, 2019. These restrictions apply not only to prime contractors, but also to all subcontractors and throughout the supply chain. Government contractors need to know that these new requirements are effective immediately and that opportunities for waivers are very limited.
Continue Reading Effective Immediately! – FAR Amended to Include Prohibition on Chinese Telecommunications Equipment and Services in Government Contracts

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Controls (“OFAC”) both issued guidance regarding their expectations for corporate compliance programs. Both documents are geared towards establishing more rigid frameworks for assessing compliance programs. A common theme among both pieces of guidance appears to be the identification and allocation of responsibility to individuals, especially management. Additionally, the fact that the agencies released their guidance within days of each other could be read as a clear signal from federal authorities that they are serious about increasing their focus on individual accountability for corporate wrongdoing.
Continue Reading Feds Focus on Individuals in Evaluating Corporate Compliance Programs

On May 15, 2019, President Trump issued an Executive Order (“EO”) targeting activities of certain foreign telecommunications companies based in hostile countries. Entitled “Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain,” the EO declares a national emergency based on a Presidential finding that “foreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services … in order to commit malicious cyber-enabled actions” rising to the level of “an unusual and extraordinary threat to national security.”[1] As a result, the EO allows the Federal Government, led by the Secretary of Commerce, to bar U.S. companies from doing business with foreign entities it determines are contributing to the threat. For more on this issue, see our Global Trade Law blog posting here
Continue Reading New Executive Order To Further Restrict Business with Huawei and Other Foreign Adversaries Engaged in Cyber Espionage

On January 15, 2015, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations to implement changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba announced by President Obama on December 17, 2014.
Continue Reading OFAC Issues Cuban Asset Control Regulations Focused on the U.S. Financial Sector

The situation with respect to U.S. sanctions related to Russia and Ukraine is evolving rapidly.  As we previously reported, on March 6, 2014, President Obama issued Executive Order 13660, which authorized the blocking of property of individuals and entities involved in the political destabilization of Ukraine. Under this Order, the U.S. Government was specifically authorized to take the following steps:
Continue Reading Crimea River: U.S. Rushes to Impose Sanctions

By: Scott Maberry and Reid Whitten

On November 21, 2011, President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13590 expanding sanctions against non-U.S. companies doing business in Iran. Under the new rules, whole sectors of business between Iran and third countries are now subject to U.S. sanctions. Overnight, non-U.S. companies working in Iran—in sectors not previously subject to sanctions—found their contracts subject to punishment under U.S. law. Many of these companies had invested significant resources in making sure their transactions in Iran did not fall afoul of U.S. sanctions, some having met directly with U.S. Government agencies, including the U.S. State Department, to understand the rules. These companies must now again adjust the aim of their compliance efforts to hit moving targets.

Fortunately for these companies, it appears likely that in the near-term, contracts already in place and compliant with the rules at the time of the November 21 order will not be the target of enforcement actions.
 


Continue Reading Aiming for a Moving Target: Bad and Good News on Changing Iran Sanctions

By: Thad McBride and Mark L. Jensen

Introduction: On October 24, 2011, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit released an opinion in United States v. Banki, No. 10-3381 (2d Cir. Oct. 24, 2011) that reversed convictions of Defendant Mahmoud Reza Banki on charges of conspiring to violate the Iranian Transaction Regulations (“ITR”) and aiding and abetting violations of the ITR.[1]  In doing so, the Court contradicted the position of the U.S. Government in a manner that may have important consequences for how the Government pursues sanctions enforcement matters going forward.


Continue Reading Clarity Required: Iran Sanctions Convictions Reversed in U.S. v. Banki

By Thaddeus McBride & Reid Whitten

Under a recent court decision, UK government agencies may be able to shield the names of British companies transacting in Iran, and thereby aid these companies in averting potential consequences of U.S. law.
 


Continue Reading Mind Your Own Businesses: UK Court Decision May Signal Pushback On Extraterritorial Enforcement of US Trade Laws

By Thaddeus McBride, Mark Jensen, & Corey Phelps

In late September, Flowserve Corporation (“Flowserve”) and a number of its subsidiaries agreed to settle alleged export violations with the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry of Security (“BIS”) for $2.5 million, and to remit $502,408 to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) to settle alleged U.S. sanctions violations. Flowserve, including its subsidiaries, is an oil, gas, and chemical services company with operations around the world. The settlement underscores the value of compliance measures specifically tailored to a company’s operations, and provides yet another example of the U.S. government vigorously enforcing U.S. law overseas.
 


Continue Reading OFAC, BIS Double Up Flow Serve: What the Flowserve Settlement Says About Corporate Compliance Programs