International Regulatory Enforcement

Top 10 Predicted Business and Human Rights Issues for 2021
As 2020 edges toward a close, we can look forward to a 2021 defined by three Rs - recovery, rebuilding, and restoring. With that in mind, selecting just 10 business and human rights issues we predict will be salient through 2021, given the unpredictability of this past year and the number of issues we will confront next year, is a risky proposition. But in honor of Human Rights Day last week, below are 10 business and human rights issues we believe will receive particular attention between January 1 and December 31, 2021.
The Trump Administration Adds 77 Companies to the Entity List
On December 18, 2020, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) placed 77 companies and individuals, most of which are China-based, on BIS’s Entity List, an action that marks a significant escalation of U.S.-China tensions before the new U.S. administration takes office on January 20, 2021.
U.S. House of Representatives Passes Bill That Would Impose “Mini-Embargo” and Disclosure of Goods from Xinjiang
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives considered two bills that would place broad restrictions on products from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (“XUAR”) of China, and would require publicly listed companies to disclose if they trade in products manufactured using forced labor from the region.
China Enacts Regulations on Unreliable Entity List
On May 31, 2019, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced that China would soon establish an “Unreliable Entity List” (the “List”). This announcement came two weeks after the U.S. Department of Commerce placed a Chinese tech giant and its affiliates on the U.S. Entity List.[1] Since then, U.S.-China tensions have continued to escalate. The Trump Administration recently moved to address national security concerns related to certain Chinese social media and communications apps in the United States.
State and Commerce Departments Take New Action on 24 Chinese Companies
On August 26 2020, the United States Government announced visa restrictions on Chinese individuals and imposed sanctions on 24 Chinese companies for their alleged activities related to the PRC’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. The Department of Commerce added those companies to the Entity List, a list maintained by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) that identifies persons believed to be involved in, or pose a significant risk of being or becoming involved, in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. Separately, the Department of State issued visa restrictions on executives (and their family members) believed to be involved in the conduct at issue.
Commerce Simplifies—but Expands—the Foreign Direct Product Rule for Huawei
On Monday, August 17, the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) took new action directed at Huawei and its Entity List‑designated affiliates by not only letting the Temporary General License ("TGL") expire and adding an additional 38 Huawei affiliates to the Entity List, but also further revising the foreign direct product rule as applied to Huawei. This latest action by BIS adds to existing restrictions to prohibit the transfer to Huawei of any foreign‑produced item that is either: (a) the direct product of specified software or technology subject to the EAR; or (b) produced by a plant or major component of a plant that is, itself, the direct product of specified U.S.‑origin software or technology.
Nine Things You Need to Know About the Trump Administration Sanctions Against TikTok and WeChat
On Thursday, August 6, 2020, the Trump Administration took long-rumored action against the popular social media apps, TikTok and WeChat, in the forms of two executive orders. The orders largely prohibit persons or property subject to U.S. jurisdiction from transactions with the China-based owners of the apps, escalating tensions between U.S. and China and causing wide speculation on their scope and impacts. Because these two executive orders have many provisions requiring interpretation and guidance, we seek to answer nine frequently asked questions about this latest executive action by the Trump Administration.
U.S. Department of Commerce Issues Final Rule Suspending Certain Preferential License Exceptions for Hong Kong
In the latest development in the continuing evolution of U.S.-China economic relations, the U.S. Department of Commerce on July 30, 2020 issued its Final Rule suspending the availability of all License Exceptions for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (“SAR”) that provide differential treatment as compared to those available to the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”). The Final Rule formalizes the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security’s (“BIS”) June 30, 2020 announcement that License Exceptions are no longer available to the extent they provided the Hong Kong SAR differential treatment as compared to the PRC.
U.S. Corporate Regulation Increases Amidst U.S.-China Tensions
As diplomatic tensions between Washington and Beijing rise, there is a corresponding increase in U.S. and Chinese regulation of corporate economic activity between the two nations.
New Targeted and Secondary Sanctions Regime For Hong Kong and the PRC
In one of the latest developments in the fast-changing economic and foreign policy relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”), the Trump Administration on July 14, 2020 issued an executive order implementing economic sanctions against foreign persons who undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy. The President also signed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act (HKAA) into law on the same day.
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