The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) is in effect as of June 21, 2022. Congress passed the Act in December 2021 to increase enforcement of longstanding U.S. policy prohibiting the importation of goods, or components thereof, made with forced labor and to create a “rebuttable presumption” that merchandise from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) or by an entity on the UFLPA Entity List is made with forced labor and thereby prohibited from entry into the United States.
On 4 May 2022, the UK government announced a ban on UK persons or entities exporting certain professional services to Russia, prohibiting Russian businesses from benefitting from these services. The amendments to the UK sanctions regime have not yet been implemented, and a timetable for their introduction is not currently known. It remains to be seen whether and how this ban might impact intracompany services (such as accounting and management consulting) provided by a UK parent company to its Russian subsidiary, or will it instead be limited to arms-length non-affiliated service providers. In light of the tone of the announcement, however, the ban is expected to restrict the provision of such services, directly or indirectly, to persons connected with Russia or in Russia.
As Russia continues to escalate its military operations in Ukraine, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) unveiled details of new sanctions against Russia. This alert summarises the proposed restrictions.
On March 25, 2022, pursuant to allegations made by Auxin Solar Inc., the US Department of Commerce (Commerce) initiated a circumvention inquiry into whether imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells (CSPVs) from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand or Vietnam (collectively, the Target Countries) are circumventing antidumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) orders (Orders) on CSPVs from China that could profoundly affect the companies that import or rely on imported CSPVs in the United States.
The Polish Ministry of the Interior and Administration issued economic sanctions under the Act on special solutions to counteract aggression against Ukraine and to protect national security.
The Japanese government has issued a series of orders to freeze assets owned by the Russian government and related banks, companies, and individuals, in coordination with the international community’s sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
In a hearing yesterday, 6 April 2022, the High Court considered an application of the directors of VTB Capital PLC (VTB UK) for the appointment of Teneo Financial Advisory Limited as administrators.
On February 22, 2022, the Government of Canada announced that it was enacting new sanctions against Russia, one day after Russian President Vladimir Putin sent Russian troops into Donetsk and Luhansk (two separatist regions in Eastern Ukraine) and Russia’s Parliament (“Russian State Duma”) formally recognized the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk.
The globalization of business means that many companies operate in more than one jurisdiction. This requires multinational companies to be aware of trade laws in several jurisdictions, e.g., regarding export control laws and economic sanctions regimes. When a jurisdiction’s laws apply extraterritorially or regimes conflict, companies are left wrestling with whether to proceed with certain transactions. This is particularly true in relation to the economic sanctions regimes in the European Union and the United States. For companies subject to U.S. economic sanctions regimes, compliance is complicated by Regulation (EC) No 2271/96 (EU Blocking Regulation), which was updated in 2018 in light of the U.S. position on Iran. An illustration of this can be found in the recent judgement by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) (Grand Chamber) in Bank Melli Iran v Telekom Deutschland.
On December 17th, 2021, Australia and the United Kingdom signed a new free trade agreement marking the most comprehensive and ambitious free trade agreement that Australia has enacted to date (outside of its relationship with New Zealand).
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel’s office issued a memorandum reiterating the rights of immigrant workers under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Continuing its aggressive approach to expanding legal protections for workers and labor unions, the General Counsel’s office of the NLRB issued Memorandum OM 22-09, reiterating NLRB policy on workers’ rights to access the NLRB collective bargaining and remedial procedures regardless of immigration status, without fear of reprisals from their employers or the federal government.
Effective January 1, 2023, Washington employers with at least 15 employees must affirmatively disclose the wage scale or salary range and a general description of all benefits and other compensation being offered when posting job openings, regardless of whether such information is requested by the applicant.
While the United States awaits the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson, which may overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate the federal standard for abortion access, some states are considering setting their own standards that would ban or protect the medical procedure.
As volatility in the cryptocurrency market has increased, regulators in the United States and around the world have indicated a willingness to impose tougher compliance requirements related to crypto assets. As a result, there is an increasing likelihood that companies that hold or deal in crypto assets may be subject to additional regulations in the coming years.
Manufacturers in the U.S. should take note of a new request for comment from the United States Trade Representative as a lack of support may lead to removal of the tariffs and surge in unfairly priced imports.
On May 18, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued its decision in Jarkesy v. Securities and Exchange Comm’n, in which it examined the constitutionality of an agency civil money penalty enforcement proceeding.
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