Recent Trade Compliance News

Commerce Preliminarily Finds Countervailable Subsidization of Imports of Circular Welded Carbon-Quality Steel Pipe from Pakistan

On April 4, 2016, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) announced its affirmative preliminary

determination in the countervailing duty (CVD) investigation of imports of circular welded carbon quality

steel pipe from Pakistan.

  • The CVD law provides U.S. business and workers with a transparent, quasi-judicial, and

internationally accepted mechanism to seek relief from the market distorting effects caused by

injurious subsidization of imports into the United States, establishing an opportunity to compete on a

level playing field.

  • For the purpose of CVD investigations, a countervailable subsidy is financial assistance from foreign

governments that benefits the production of goods from foreign companies and is limited to specific

enterprises or industries, or is contingent either upon export performance or upon the use of domestic

goods over imported goods.

  • Commerce calculated a preliminary subsidy rate of 64.81 percent for the mandatory respondent,

International Industries Limited. The preliminary subsidy rate is based on facts available and adverse

inferences following Commerce’s preliminary determination that the mandatory respondent and the

Government of Pakistan had not fully cooperated in the investigation. All other exporters/producers

in Pakistan have also been assigned a preliminary subsidy rate of 64.81 percent.

  • As a result of the preliminary affirmative determination, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and

Border Protection to require cash deposits based on these preliminary rates.

  • The petitioners in this investigation are Bull Moose Tube Company (MO), EXLTUBE (MO),

Wheatland Tube (IL), and Western Tube & Conduit (CA).

  • The investigation covers welded carbon-quality steel pipes and tube, of circular cross-section, with an

outside diameter (O.D.) not more than nominal 16 inches (406.4 mm), regardless of wall thickness,

surface finish (e.g., black, galvanized, or painted), end finish (plain end, beveled end, grooved,

threaded, or threaded and coupled), or industry specification (e.g., American Society for Testing and

Materials International (ASTM), proprietary, or other), generally known as standard pipe, fence pipe

and tube, sprinkler pipe, and structural pipe (although subject product may also be referred to as

mechanical tubing). Specifically, the term “carbon quality” includes products in which:

(a) iron predominates, by weight, over each of the other contained elements;

(b) the carbon content is 2 percent or less, by weight; and

(c) none of the elements listed below exceeds the quantity, by weight, as indicated:

(i) 1.80 percent of manganese;

(ii) 2.25 percent of silicon;

(iii) 1.00 percent of copper;

U.S. Department of Commerce |International Trade Administration

(iv) 0.50 percent of aluminum;

(v) 1.25 percent of chromium;

(vi) 0.30 percent of cobalt;

(vii) 0.40 percent of lead;

(viii) 1.25 percent of nickel;

(ix) 0.30 percent of tungsten;

(x) 0.15 percent of molybdenum;

(xi) 0.10 percent of niobium;

(xii) 0.41 percent of titanium;

(xiii) 0.15 percent of vanadium; or

(xiv) 0.15 percent of zirconium.

Covered products are generally made to standard O.D. and wall thickness combinations. Pipe multistenciled

to a standard and/or structural specification and to other specifications, such as American

Petroleum Institute (API) API-5L specification, may also be covered by the scope of these

investigations. In particular, such multi-stenciled merchandise is covered when it meets the physical

description set forth above, and also has one or more of the following characteristics: is 32 feet in

length or less; is less than 2.0 inches (50 mm) in outside diameter; has a galvanized and/or painted

(e.g., polyester coated) surface finish; or has a threaded and/or coupled end finish.

Standard pipe is ordinarily made to ASTM specifications A53, A135, and A795, but can also be

made to other specifications. Structural pipe is made primarily to ASTM specifications A252 and

A500. Standard and structural pipe may also be produced to proprietary specifications rather than to

industry specifications.

Sprinkler pipe is designed for sprinkler fire suppression systems and may be made to industry

specifications such as ASTM A53 or to proprietary specifications.

The scope of this investigation does not include:

(a) pipe suitable for use in boilers, superheaters, heat exchangers, refining furnaces and feedwater

heaters, whether or not cold drawn, which are defined by standards such as ASTM A178 or ASTM

A192;

(b) finished electrical conduit, i.e., Electrical Rigid Steel Conduit (aka Electrical Rigid Metal Conduit

and Electrical Rigid Metal Steel Conduit), Finished Electrical Metallic Tubing, and Electrical

Intermediate Metal Conduit, which are defined by specifications such as American National Standard

(ANSI) C80.1-2005, ANSI C80.3-2005, or ANSI C80.6-2005, and Underwriters Laboratories Inc.

(UL) UL-6, UL-797, or UL-1242;

(c) finished scaffolding, i.e., component parts of final, finished scaffolding that enter the United

States unassembled as a “kit.” A kit is understood to mean a packaged combination of component

parts that contains, at the time of importation, all of the necessary component parts to fully assemble

final, finished scaffolding;

(d) tube and pipe hollows for redrawing;

(e) oil country tubular goods produced to API specifications;

(f) line pipe produced to only API specifications, such as API 5L, and not multi-stenciled; and

(g) mechanical tubing, whether or not cold-drawn, other than what is included in the above

paragraphs.

The products subject to this investigation are currently classifiable in Harmonized Tariff Schedule of

the United States (HTSUS) statistical reporting numbers 7306.19.1010, 7306.19.1050, 7306.19.5110,

7306.19.5150, 7306.30.1000, 7306.30.5015, 7306.30.5020, 7306.30.5025, 7306.30.5032,

7306.30.5040, 7306.30.5055, 7306.30.5085, 7306.30.5090, 7306.50.1000, 7306.50.5030,

U.S. Department of Commerce |International Trade Administration

7306.50.5050, and 7306.50.5070. The HTSUS subheadings above are provided for convenience and

U.S. Customs purposes only. The written description of the scope of the investigation is dispositive.

  • In 2014, imports of circular welded carbon-quality steel pipe from Pakistan were valued at an

estimated $17 million.

NEXT STEPS

  • Commerce is scheduled to announce its final determination in this investigation on August 16, 2016,

unless the statutory deadline is extended.

  • If Commerce makes an affirmative final determination, and the U.S. International Trade Commission

(ITC) makes an affirmative final determination that imports of circular welded carbon-quality steel

pipe from Pakistan materially injure, or threaten material injury to, the domestic industry, Commerce

will issue a CVD order. If either Commerce’s or the ITC’s final determination is negative, no CVD

order will be issued. The ITC is scheduled to make its final injury determination approximately 45

days after Commerce issues its final determination, if affirmative.

Click here to review the full press release: http://enforcement.trade.gov/download/factsheets/factsheet-pakistan-circular-welded-carbon-quality-steel-pipe-cvd-prelim-040416.pdf

Commerce Initiates Antidumping Duty Investigation of Imports of Phosphor Copper from the Republic of Korea–Fact Sheet

  • On March 30, 2016, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) announced the initiation of the

antidumping duty (AD) investigation of imports of phosphor copper from the Republic of Korea

(Korea).

  • The AD law provides U.S. businesses and workers with a transparent, quasi-judicial, and

internationally-accepted mechanism to seek relief from the market-distorting effects caused by

injurious dumping of imports into the United States, establishing an opportunity to compete on a level

playing field.

  • For the purpose of AD investigations, dumping occurs when a foreign company sells a product in the

United States at less than its fair value.

  • The petitioner is Metallurgical Products Company (PA).
  • The merchandise covered by this investigation is master alloys1 of copper containing between five

percent and 17 percent phosphorus by nominal weight, regardless of form (including but not limited to

shot, pellet, waffle, ingot, or nugget), and regardless of size or weight. Subject merchandise consists

predominantly of copper (by weight), and may contain other elements, including but not limited to

iron (Fe), lead (Pb), or tin (Sn), in small amounts (up to one percent by nominal weight). Phosphor

copper is frequently produced to JIS H2501 and ASTM B-644, Alloy 3A standards or higher;

however, merchandise covered by this investigation includes all phosphor copper, regardless of

whether the merchandise meets, fails to meet, or exceeds these standards.

  • Merchandise covered by this investigation is currently classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of

the United States (HTSUS) under subheading 7405.00.1000. This HTSUS subheading is provided for

convenience and customs purposes; the written description of the scope of this investigation is

dispositive.

  • In 2015, imports of phosphor copper from Korea were valued at an estimated $4.3 million

See the full fact sheet by visiting http://enforcement.trade.gov/download/factsheets/factsheet-korea-phosphor-copper-ad-initiation-033016.pdf

US, China ‘agree on’ DPRK sanctions

The United States and China have agreed on a proposed UN resolution on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and will not accept Pyongyang as a nuclear weapons state, the White House and United Nations diplomats said on Wednesday.

US National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi agreed during a meeting “on the importance of a strong and united international response to North Korea’s provocations, including through a UN Security Council resolution that goes beyond previous resolutions,” the White House said in a statement.

The statement came as diplomats at United Nations headquarters in New York said that Washington and Beijing had agreed on a draft resolution imposing fresh sanctions on the DPRK and that the Security Council could vote on the measure in the coming days.

The US circulated the draft of the sanctions on Wednesday to the other permanent members of the Security Council — Britain, France and Russia — and was set to formally present it to the full 15-member council soon, said the diplomats, who asked not to be identified.

“There is good progress on the resolution, and we are hopeful that there will be adoption in the coming days,” one diplomat said.

Another diplomat described the draft resolution as a “significantly substantive text”, while yet another said it contained “a large number of very tough measures”, as well as names to be added to the sanctions blacklist.

Beijing offered no direct comment on Thursday about the White House statement.

However, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying cited Foreign Minister Wang’s remarks during Wednesday’s joint news conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry. Wang had said that Beijing and Washington made important progress in the new resolution against the DPRK and are “looking at the possibility of reaching agreement in the near future”.

But Beijing reiterated that the sanctions will not solve the DPRK nuclear issue, and that related parties should return to negotiations.

The agreement was reached as Wang was in Washington for a three-day visit. It was the third meeting between Wang and Kerry within a month after the DPRK conducted a nuclear test in January.

Wang also met with US President Barack Obama on Wednesday.

Obama underscored his interest in building a durable, constructive and productive US-China relationship. The US leader also said he looked forward to welcoming President Xi Jinping to a March 31-April 1 nuclear security summit in Washington and “working together toward its success”, according to news statements from both China and the US.

Zuo Xiying, an international studies specialist at the National Academy of Development and Strategy of Renmin University of China, said the agreements reached between the two countries are conducive to the buildup of strategic trust between the two.

Shi Yinhong, a professor of US studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing, said the frequent mutual visits by Wang and Kerry are apparently driven by unexpected changes on the Korean Peninsula and recent rising tensions in the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, a senior US diplomat will make a two-day visit to South Korea this week for talks about the DPRK nuclear and missile programs, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2016-02/26/content_23647825.htm

Treasury Sanctions Key ISIL Leaders and Facilitators Including a Senior Oil Official

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced the designations of senior ISIL oil official Faysal al-Zahrani, foreign fighter facilitator Husayn Juaythini, and senior ISIL official Turki al-Binali pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.  These designations support President Obama’s strategy to degrade and destroy ISIL.  These designations also further Treasury’s efforts to attack ISIL’s finances and disrupt its ability to profit from illicit oil sales within its territory in Iraq and Syria by inhibiting these individuals from accessing the international financial system.  They also support work by the broader counter-ISIL Coalition, including Operation Tidal Wave II, which consists of deliberate targeting and precision airstrikes in Iraq and Syria to disrupt ISIL’s control of oil-related resources.  As a result of today’s actions, any property or interest in property of the individuals designated by Treasury within U.S. jurisdiction is frozen.  Additionally, transactions by U.S. persons involving the designated individuals are generally prohibited.

“Treasury and our partners worldwide are aggressively targeting ISIL’s ability to earn and make use of its money, and we are making progress on many fronts,” said Adam J. Szubin, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.  “Today’s action targets key ISIL leadership figures responsible for oil and gas production, foreign terrorist fighter recruitment and facilitation, and other financial facilitation.”
In a speech on Monday at Chatham House in London, Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing Daniel Glaser highlighted the recent progress that the U.S. government has made in weakening ISIL’s ability to generate wealth and disrupt its ability to make use of the money it raises.
The Treasury Department announces this action in advance of the first-ever joint session of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL’s Counter ISIL Finance Group (CIFG), which is taking place on February 14 in Paris.  The CIFG is co-chaired by Italy, Saudi Arabia, and the United States and has 37 participating member states and organizations.  The group focuses on enhancing international collaboration to disrupt the financial and economic activities of ISIL.  The FATF is the international standard-setting body for combating money laundering and terrorist financing.  It develops recommendations and promotes effective implementation of key anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism measures that deprive terrorist groups, like ISIL, of access to the international financial system.  The purpose of the FATF-CIFG joint session is to bring together the leading international bodies focused on ISIL financing to more effectively share information and coordinate efforts.  The session will focus on recent ISIL financial activity, ongoing efforts to deny ISIL access to the international financial system, strategies to prevent ISIL from financing its branches or foreign fighters, and recent United Nations Security Council Resolutions that facilitate efforts to disrupt ISIL’s finances.
Use the following link for the full press release: https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0351.aspx

Settlement Agreement between the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and Barclays Bank Plc

ENFORCEMENT INFORMATION FOR February 8, 2016 Information concerning the civil penalties process is discussed in OFAC regulations governing the various sanctions programs and in 31 C.F.R. part 501. On November 9, 2009, OFAC published as Appendix A to part 501 Economic Sanctions Enforcement Guidelines. See 74 Fed. Reg. 57,593 (Nov. 9, 2009). The Economic Sanctions Enforcement Guidelines, as well as recent final civil penalties and enforcement information, can be found on OFAC’s Web site at http://www.treasury.gov/ofac/enforcement. ENTITIES – 31 C.F.R. 501.805(d)(1)(i) Barclays Bank Plc Settles Potential Civil Liability for Apparent Violations of the Zimbabwe Sanctions Regulations: Barclays Bank Plc (“Barclays”), a financial institution headquartered in London, United Kingdom, has agreed to remit $2,485,890 to settle its potential civil liability for 159 apparent violations of § 541.201 of the Zimbabwe Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 541 (ZSR). From July 2008 to September 2013, Barclays processed 159 transactions totaling approximately $3,375,617 to or through financial institutions located in the United States – including Barclays’ New York branch (“Barclays NY”) – for or on behalf of corporate customers of Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe Limited (“BBZ”) that were owned 50 percent or more, directly or indirectly, by a person identified on the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (the “SDN List”). OFAC has determined that Barclays did not voluntarily self-disclose the apparent violations to OFAC, and that the apparent violations constitute a non-egregious case. The total base penalty amount for the apparent violations was $5,029,000. Beginning in or around 2005, local restrictions precluded Barclays from implementing measures for complying with economic sanctions, including sanctions screening, in Zimbabwe. Consequently, beginning in 2006, the bank’s operations in the United Kingdom (“Barclays UK”) began screening cross-border transactions involving BBZ and/or BBZ’s customers. Under the new procedure, Barclays UK relied on BBZ’s electronic customer records and documentation to perform sanctions-related customer screening and transaction screening involving BBZ.

In 2006, BBZ implemented an electronic customer system that allowed the bank to input and maintain customer information in an electronic format. The system had several limitations, however, that prevented BBZ from accurately capturing and/or screening beneficial ownership information for its corporate customers. For example, when BBZ introduced the system, it was capable of capturing information related to a single primary account party (i.e., BBZ’s customer) but was initially unable to include data for a related party – such as the ultimate beneficial owner of the customer – in the electronic system even if the information appeared in the paper file for a customer. Barclays identified this shortcoming in 2007 and attempted to address the issue, but the changes did not allow BBZ to effectively capture or otherwise identify all of its customers’ beneficial owners in the bank’s electronic system. In 2009, Barclays again attempted to correct the shortcoming by building a “work-around” that the bank stated was ultimately cumbersome to implement and little used.

Barclays’ Group Anti-Money Laundering (AML) policies in place during the period in which the apparent violations occurred required the bank’s operations – including BBZ – to identify the ultimate beneficial owners of corporate customers. BBZ’s Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures were ambiguous and difficult to follow with respect to the requirement to identify related parties and/or beneficial owners of corporate customers. As a result, the bank failed to obtain information on ultimate beneficial owners for a portion of BBZ’s corporate customers in its paper files and/or failed to upload this information into BBZ’s electronic customer system. Due to BBZ’s failure to include updated beneficial ownership information in its electronic customer files (which, as noted above, was utilized by Barclays UK for OFAC sanctions compliance screening), Barclays UK was unaware of, and incapable of screening, this information for certain BBZ customers. On July 25, 2008, OFAC designated Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDCZ) pursuant to Executive Order 13469 of July 25, 2008, “Blocking Property of Additional Persons Undermining Democratic Processes or Institutions in Zimbabwe.” At the time of OFAC’s designation, BBZ maintained U.S. Dollar (“USD”)-denominated customer relationships for three corporate customers that were owned, 50 percent or more, directly or indirectly, by IDCZ and were also therefore blocked persons pursuant to OFAC’s Guidance on Entities Owned by Persons Whose Property and Interests in Property are Blocked. Neither BBZ nor Barclays UK identified these customers as blocked persons at that time due to the aforementioned issues, however, and continued to process USD transactions for or on their behalf to or through the United States in apparent violation of the ZSR. By no later than 2011, Barclays became aware of weaknesses and shortcomings in relation to certain of BBZ’s KYC practices, including the bank’s inability to capture data for related parties (i.e., beneficial owners) in its customer files. As part of a remediation effort in 2011, Barclays targeted a number of bank operation centers in Africa, including BBZ, in order to determine whether those locations were fully implementing the bank’s Group AML policies. As part of these efforts, BBZ updated the paper files for one of the customer accounts to reflect IDCZ’s beneficial ownership of the company, but the bank failed to include this information in the electronic customer system (which Barclays UK utilized and relied upon to conduct sanctions related screening). Beginning in October 2012, U.S. financial institutions blocked four funds transfers that Barclays NY processed on behalf of one of the three corporate entities beneficially owned by IDCZ located in Harare, Zimbabwe. Three of the funds transfers were originated by the aforementioned company’s account with BBZ, whereas the fourth was destined for an account maintained by the company at a third-country financial institution unaffiliated with Barclays. Upon receiving notification that a transaction it processed had been blocked by another U.S. financial institution, Barclays NY conducted an internal investigation and determined that BBZ’s customer was owned, indirectly, 50 percent or more by IDCZ, an entity on OFAC’s SDN List. Although Barclays NY conducted an investigation that confirmed this information, the bank failed to properly upload identifying information for the blocked person into its sanctions screening filter in a timely or accurate manner and subsequently processed three additional transactions involving the same party between November 2012 and September 2013 – all of which were blocked by other U.S. financial institutions.

The settlement amount reflects OFAC’s consideration of the following facts and circumstances, pursuant to the General Factors Affecting Administrative Action under OFAC’s Economic Sanctions Enforcement Guidelines, 31 C.F.R. part 501, app. A. OFAC found the following to be aggravating factors in this case: although Barclays attempted to comply with OFAC sanctions despite various constraints imposed by the local Zimbabwean authorities, Barclays failed to implement adequate controls to prevent the apparent violations from occurring despite numerous warning signs that its conduct could lead to a violation of U.S. sanctions laws; multiple business lines and personnel within Barclays, including supervisory and management staff in the bank’s Compliance and Audit functions, had actual knowledge or reason to know of the conduct that led to the apparent violations (including the bank’s awareness of the limitations of the systems used by BBZ with respect to capturing full information concerning the beneficial ownership of certain of its corporate customers); Barclays processed 159 funds transfers totaling approximately $3,375,617 that conferred economic benefit to, and provided indirect access to the U.S. financial system for, blocked persons, causing harm to the Zimbabwe sanctions program and its associated policy objectives; Barclays is a large and commercially sophisticated international financial institution; and Barclays’ compliance program was inadequate to identify BBZ’s customers as blocked persons and/or prevent the apparent violations from occurring.

OFAC considered the following to be mitigating factors: Barclays has not received a penalty notice or Finding of Violation in the five years preceding the earliest date of the transactions giving rise to the apparent violations; Barclays took remedial action in response to the apparent violations; and Barclays substantially cooperated with OFAC’s investigation by submitting detailed and organized information, and by executing a statute of limitations tolling agreement and an extension to the agreement. OFAC also considered the fact that the prohibited entities were not publicly identified or designated and included on the SDN List at the time that Barclays processed transactions for or on their behalf. This settlement demonstrates that an enforcement response may be particularly appropriate, even when an individual or entity is not included on the SDN List, in response to apparent violations in which: (a) the apparent violator is an institution that maintains direct customer relationships for entities that are beneficially owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more SDNs, and is processing or routing transactions to or through the United States on behalf of such customers; (b) the institution’s own records clearly demonstrate or otherwise clarify the SDN ownership of the customer, but the institution failed to act on the information; and/or (c) information concerning the SDN ownership of the customer is publicly available and allows intermediary banks to identify and block such transactions.

This enforcement action highlights the importance for institutions with operations in countries with a significant presence of persons (individuals and entities) on the SDN List to take appropriate measures to ensure compliance with U.S. economic sanctions when processing transactions for or on behalf of their customers to, through, or within the United States. For more information regarding OFAC regulations, please visit: http://www.treasury.gov/ofac.

See full OFAC web notice here: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20160208_barclays.pdf

Addison-Clifton carves niche in China’s growing industries

This article appeared in the USA-Midwest Report in the South China Morning Post on February 26, 2016 (prepared by Discovery Reports).

Ulice Payne has an uncanny ability to understand the market and foresee its demands. In the same year that he founded Addison-Clifton in Chicago, Illinois, the company president set up a Shanghai representative office to help companies in China comply with global trade regulations. That was over one decade ago. The mainland had just joined the WTO, and Payne foresaw that many companies would need its expertise in meeting trade regulations on products related to aerospace, defence, vehicles and power generation.
“We have designed our business to serve society,” Payne says. “We blend our understanding of the global regulatory framework with the scientific and engineering know-how of products to meet market demands.”
The company anticipates big opportunities in the aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) space. Addison-Clifton would likely capture the market for aspiring China MRO companies that are working on airworthiness certificates for jet engines and avionics manufactured by existing Addison-Clifton clients. The company is also cooperating with the Shanghai Foreign Investment Development Board to encourage foreign capital into the industrial zones with a special emphasis promoting aviation.
Furthermore, Addison-Clifton expects to play a significant role in the mainland’s burgeoning electric vehicles industry. For example, the firm was the official business consultant for the Ningbo Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau in connection with securing the participation of foreign electric car manufacturers for its clean energy vehicle summit. The firm continues to implement its plans to facilitate further support in this area due to China’s need for greener technologies.

Ultimately, Payne was right. He later expanded Addison-Clifton’s presence in China by opening a wholly foreign-owned enterprise subsidiary in Ningbo, thereby supporting two major port cities on the mainland. With his associations in the East, including India, Payne further increased Addison-Clifton’s capabilities in the region with its Asia Market Services practice. In addition to trade compliance services, Addison-Clifton provides multinational companies with quality assurance guidance along with supply chain support that includes actual product inspections and identifying and qualifying China suppliers.

“We have spent years in China building genuine relationships with customers and local governments,” Payne says. “By understanding the market and the role of the government, we can serve as a bridge between the private and public sectors.”

http://www.scmp.com/presented/business/topics/usa-report-midwest-edition/article/1918577/addison-clifton-carves-niche

 

 

China to accelerate free-trade negotiations

The Ministry of Commerce plans to step up the pace of its free trade arrangements with partner countries that offer what it called a high degree of transparency, openness and inclusiveness to the world economy.

Noting the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Thursday, which does not include China, a ministry statement said: “China is studying it, and evaluation work is under way.”

Twelve nations including the United States and Japan signed the TPP in New Zealand on Thursday.

The deal, agreed in October after five years of talks, is aimed at promoting trade and investment among countries which hold 40 percent of the world economy.

Zhang Jianping, director of the International Economic Cooperation Institute at the National Development and Reform Commission, said the TPP is still in its early stage, and will now go through a two-year ratification period, in which “at least six countries, including Canada, Australia and Japan, must approve the final text, for a deal to be implemented via legislative procedures”.

Zhang said because the TPP members are at different stages of economic development, all the major economies would need to accept the deal, which will set common standards on issues ranging from labor rights to intellectual property protection.

China hopes to complete negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership by the end of this year, which would link the Association of Southeast Asian Nations with China, Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, accounting for one-third of the global gross domestic product.

Beijing will also launch FTA negotiations with Israel and initiate FTA feasibility studies with Colombia, India, Nepal, Maldives and South Pacific island nations including Fiji and Papua New Guinea this year, as well as reinstate free trade negotiations with the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf.

For more on this story, visit http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2016-02/05/content_23402286.htm

Commerce Dept. Moves against Sale of Aircraft to Terrorist-Supporting Iranian Airline

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has acted against five parties who are attempting to sell two U.S. origin aircraft to Caspian Airlines, a designated Iranian airline. The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Caspian in 2014 for its support for terrorism, sanctions that are not being lifted under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The action, called a “temporary denial order” (TDO), suspends the export privileges of Ribway Airlines Company Limited, Af-Aviation Limited, Andy Farmer, John Edward Meadows, and Jeffrey John James Ashfield Both aircraft are registered in Gambia and, according to the registration documents, are currently owned by Ribway. Meadows and Ashfield were both involved in brokering the sale of the aircraft to Caspian. On January 16, 2016, pursuant to commitments in the JCPOA, Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced a statement of licensing policy (SLP) under which U.S. and non-U.S. persons may request specific authorization from OFAC to engage in transactions for the sale of commercial passenger aircraft and related parts and services to Iran exclusively for civil passenger aviation end uses, so long as such transactions are consistent with U.S. law and do not involve any person on OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List). Caspian Airlines, which was designated for its support to the IRGC in August 29, 2014, remains on the SDN List and is ineligible for this favorable licensing policy. “U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran because of its support for terrorism remain in place notwithstanding the implementation of the JCPOA,” noted Commerce Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement David W. Mills. “BIS continues to actively investigate and enforce U.S. export controls on Iran, especially when those activities are in support of entities that have been designated for their support for terrorism,” he added.

 

Click here to access the Commere Department’s press release:

http://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/about-bis/newsroom/press-releases

IRANIAN COMPANY SENTENCED FOR U.S. EXPORT VIOLATION

HARRISBURG – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and the Office of Export Enforcement of the United States Department of Commerce announced that FIMCO, an Iranian corporation, was sentenced today to pay a $100,000 criminal fine by United States District Court Judge Yvette Kane in Harrisburg for conspiracy to evade export licensing requirements. The conspiracy was in connection with an attempt to smuggle to Iran a machine with possible military as well as civilian applications. According to U.S. Attorney Peter Smith, in December 2012, a federal grand jury in Harrisburg charged FIMCO in a sealed indictment made public in July 2015. In April 2014, an American company, Hetran, Inc., an engineering and manufacturing corporation in Orwigsburg, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, and its President, Helmut Oertmann, were charged with participating in the conspiracy. A guilty plea was entered on behalf of the corporation in July 2015 before United States Magistrate Judge Susan E. Schwab. Hetran manufactured a large horizontal lathe, also described as a bar peeling machine (“peeler”), valued at more than $800,000 and weighing in excess of 50,000 pounds. The machine is used in the production of high grade steel for the manufacture of automobile and aircraft parts. Under U.S. law and regulations, American companies are forbidden to ship “dual use” items (items with civilian as well as military or proliferation applications), such as the peeler, to Iran without first obtaining a license from the U.S. Government. Aware that it was unlikely that such a license would be granted, FIMCO, which does business in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and other alleged co-conspirators agreed to falsely state on the shipping documents that the enduser of the peeler was Crescent International Trade and Services FZE (Crescent), an affiliated company, knowing that the machine would subsequently be shipped to Iran after being offloaded in Dubai. In June 2012, Hetran caused the peeling machine to be shipped from Pennsylvania to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, fraudulently listing Crescent as the end-user, knowing that the shipment was ultimately being sent by FIMCO to Iran in violation of federal law. The Office of Export Enforcement, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), U.S. Department of Commerce detected the shipment and ordered that it be re-delivered to the United States. The seizure of key shipping documents, emails and correspondence from Hetran to Iran revealed the scheme, and was critical to the success of the case, and to shutting down the contemplated shipment. As part of its plea agreement with the United States, FIMCO agreed that the government would recommend a criminal fine. The company also has agreed under a settlement with BIS to pay a $837,500 civil penalty to the U.S. Department of Commerce, of which it paid $587,500 out-of-pocket, with the remaining $250,000 suspended for two years. The suspended portion of the civil penalty will be waived thereafter so long as FIMCO complies with the terms of the plea agreement and any criminal sentence and satisfies certain additional conditions. FIMCO will also be made subject to a two-year suspended denial of its export privileges. “The penalty imposed today, together with the six-figure administrative penalty being paid by FIMCO to the Department of Commerce, reflects the seriousness of the violation, said Under Secretary of Commerce Eric L. Hirschhorn. The Office of Export Enforcement will continue to pursue and fully prosecute those who violate our export control laws and threaten our national security.” During the investigation by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), FIMCO and Crescent were placed on BIS’s Entity list in August 2014. The Entity List identifies foreign parties that are prohibited from receiving listed items unless the exporter secures a license. Those persons present a greater risk of diversion to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs, terrorism, or other activities contrary to U.S. national security or foreign policy interests. By publicly listing such persons, the Entity List serves as an important tool to prevent unauthorized trade in such items. In December 2014, Helmut Oertmann and Hetran were sentenced by Judge Kane to 12 months’ probation; Oertmann and Hetran were ordered as part of a settlement with BIS to pay a penalty of $837,500 with $337,500 of that amount paid out-of-pocket and the remainder conditionally suspended, which penalty Judge Kane adopted as to Oertmann and Hetran. The other indicted company, Crescent International Trade and Services FZE, and the three Iranian individuals who served as officers of FIMCO, Khosrow Kasraei, Reza Ghoreishi, and Mujahid Ali, are presently fugitives. The case was investigated by the New York Field Office of the Office of Export Enforcement, Bureau of Industry and Security, Department of Commerce. The Department of Commerce’s Office of the Chief Counsel for Industry and Security handled the civil proceedings. The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christy H. Fawcett and was overseen by the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Clicke Here for the official DOJ Press Release: http://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/about-bis/newsroom/press-releases

Treasury Sanctions Those Involved in Ballistic Missile Procurement for Iran

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated 11 entities and individuals involved in procurement on behalf of Iran’s ballistic missile program.  OFAC sanctioned Mabrooka Trading Co LLC (Mabrooka Trading) – based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – and its China- and UAE-based network that have been involved in procuring goods for Iran’s ballistic missile program.  This network obfuscated the end user of sensitive goods for missile proliferation by using front companies in third countries to deceive foreign suppliers.  Also designated today are five Iranian individuals who have worked to procure ballistic missile components for Iran.  This action is consistent with the U.S. government’s commitment to continue targeting those who assist in Iran’s efforts to procure items for its ballistic missile program.
“Iran’s ballistic missile program poses a significant threat to regional and global security, and it will continue to be subject to international sanctions,” said Adam J. Szubin, acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.  “We have consistently made clear that the United States will vigorously press sanctions against Iranian activities outside of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – including those related to Iran’s support for terrorism, regional destabilization, human rights abuses, and ballistic missile program.”
Hossein Pournaghshband and his company, Mabrooka Trading, are being designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13382 for having provided, or attempting to provide, financial, material, technological, or other support to Navid Composite Material Company (Navid Composite), an entity sanctioned in connection with Iran’s ballistic missile program.  Navid Composite was designated in December 2013 pursuant to E.O. 13382 as an Iran-based subsidiary of U.S.- and UN-designated Sanam Industrial Group, an entity sanctioned for its involvement in Iran’s ballistic missile program.  At the time of its designation, Navid Composite was contracting with Asia-based entities to procure a carbon fiber production line in order to produce carbon fiber probably suitable for use in ballistic missile components.  Since at least early 2015, Pournaghshband used his company, Mabrooka Trading, to procure materials and other equipment for Navid Composite’s carbon fiber production plan.  Pournaghshband is also being designated today pursuant to E.O. 13382 for having provided, or attempting to provide, financial, material, technological, or other support to Mabrooka Trading.
Chen Mingfu is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 for having provided, or attempting to provide, financial, material, technological, or other support to Navid Composite and Mabrooka Trading.  Anhui Land Group Co., Limited is also being designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 because it is owned or controlled by Mingfu and for having provided, or attempting to provide, financial, material, technological, or other support to Mabrooka Trading and Pournaghshband.  Mingfu brokered deals in support of Mabrooka Trading and Pournaghshband’s efforts to procure materials and equipment for Navid Composite’s carbon fiber production line.  Mingfu, using Hong Kong based-Anhui Land Group Co., Limited, provided logistical support to Mabrooka Trading and Navid Composite.
Candid General Trading is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 for having provided, or attempting to provide, financial, material, technological, or other support to Mabrooka Trading and Pournaghshband.  Rahim Reza Farghadani, the Managing Director of Candid General Trading, is also being designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 for acting for or on behalf of Candid General Trading.  Candid General Trading has conducted financial transactions for Mabrooka Trading and Pournaghshband for goods intended for Navid Composite.
For more information, click here: https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0322.aspx