International Trade: Legal News and Resources You Can Put to Good Use

How companies can stay ahead of international trade law changes

Below is a sampling of recent legal briefings covering international trade rules and regulations from a few of the top law firms in the world.  All the information provided is no charge for your reading, and will help you stay on top of your global game.

1.  According to Sidley Austin LLP, the UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015 is now in force and requires large commercial organizations supplying goods or services within the UK to publish a statement on their websites making clear the steps taken during the previous financial year to ensure that slavery and human trafficking are not taking place in their own businesses or in any of their supply chains.

Two other critical details:  The first organizations required to comply will be those with a financial year ending March 31, 2016.  And the requirement will also impact smaller organizations that do not meet the threshold for publishing a Modern Slavery Act statement but form part of the supply chain for organizations that do.

Read:  Large Organizations Doing Business in the UK Will Need to Publish a Modern Slavery Act Statement: Are You Ready?

2.  Baker & McKenzie examines six common labor and employment traps and how to avoid them.  B&M says, “The goal is to achieve a more balanced economy, transitioning from export-led growth toward more domestic consumption and services. To succeed, multinational employers entering into and doing business in China must sharpen their employment-related business strategies to leverage opportunities and mitigate risk.” 

Read:  Avoiding Employment Traps in China

3.  According to Sidley Austin LLP, the Obama administration announced the easing of yet another set of sanctions on Cuba. "The changes to the existing sanctions policy are effective March 16, 2016, through regulatory amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR), administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), along with additional explanatory material including the joint BIS/OFAC fact sheet, OFAC FAQs and BIS FAQs."

Read:  Obama Administration Eases Sanctions Further in Advance of Trip to Cuba: More Opportunities for U.S. Businesses in Cuba?

4.  Foley & Lardner states:  “The global market for all counterfeit items is booming, with the value of goods seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in fiscal year 2014 exceeding $1.2 billion. Moreover, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reported that the number and value of seizures of counterfeit automotive parts increased by 83 percent and 66 percent, respectively, over the previous year. In addition, counterfeiters have become extremely sophisticated and the risk of counterfeiting extends to electronic parts, mechanical parts, and industrial fasteners. The bottom line: Counterfeit parts are an increasing threat to manufacturers’ supply chains.”

Read:  Top Counterfeiting Risks Manufacturers Face in 2016

5.  Latham & Watkins says that in today’s globalized economy, companies face heightened scrutiny and significant liability risks under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Even with robust compliance processes in place, companies and their counsel must be prepared for an FCPA-related eventuality.

Read:  Latham & Watkins LLP Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, under Thought Leadership (right sidebar), see “Mapping an FCPA Strategy:  International Investigations and Enforcement Proceedings,” “Deemed Public Officials:  A Potential Risk for US Companies in Japan,” and “10 Takeaways from Recent Anti-corruption Enforcement Actions.”  All are worthy of a read and available for download.

6.  What are export controls and how do they affect companies?  What should companies governed by export laws do when they learn of a potential violation?  Should they make a voluntary disclosure?  Skadden says "the U.S. export control system has undergone major reform in recent years, and companies have experienced both increased enforcement of export control laws and fines for violations, with more changes on the way." Skadden partners and counsel discuss developments in export control laws and how companies can stay ahead of the changes.

 And yes, they also address the three lead questions.

Read:  Insights Conversations: Developments in US Export Controls

7.  DLA Piper’s Guide to Going Global series is designed to help companies meet the challenges of global expansion. For companies striving to expand into new countries, these complimentary guides cover the business legal basics. The Guide to Going Global series reviews business-relevant corporate, employment, equity, intellectual property and technology and tax laws in key jurisdictions around the world.

Here’s a sampling of what DLA Piper offers and it’s all no charge:  

Photo Credit: Oscar F. Hevia