Revised OFAC Rule Requires Rejected Transaction Reporting

On June 21, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”)(1) issued an interim final rule(2) that included, among others, new requirements for all US Persons to file reports on rejected transactions. In the past the requirement to report on rejected transactions only applied to financial institutions that rejected a “funds transfer” where processing the transaction may violate OFAC’s rules.

Reports on Rejected Transactions

The rule revises § 501.604(3) to:

  • Clarify that the section applies to all rejected transactions (not only to rejected funds transfers)

    • OFAC replaced references to “rejected fund transfers” with references to “rejected transactions” and added a definition for the term “transactions”

    • The term transaction includes transactions related to wire transfers, trade finance, securities, checks, foreign exchange, and goods or services(3);

  • Provide additional details around the information that should be provided to OFAC in connection with reports on rejected transactions;

  • Provide guidance on where/how to report the information on rejected transactions; and

  • Make other technical and conforming changes.

Other Revisions

  • Revising § 501.603(4) to provide more detail regarding information to be reported in connection with blocking reports;

  • Revising § 501.801(5) to include information regarding OFAC’s electronic license application procedures; and

  • Other technical and conforming changes to § 501.602(6), § 501.701(7), and § 501.806(8).

The interim final rule was effective on June 21, 2019 and comments were allowed to be submitted until July 22, 2019.

Contact our Advisory team to learn more about this rule change.


  1. US Department of the Treasury - Office of Foreign Assets Control

  2. 84 FR 29055-29062

  3. 31 CFR 501.604

  4. 31 CFR 501.603

  5. 31 CFR 501.801

  6. 31 CFR 501.602

  7. 31 CFR 501.701

  8. 31 CFR 501.806

OFAC Publishes a Framework for Compliance

On May 2, 2019 the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)(1) published “A Framework for OFAC Compliance Commitments”(2). The publication is intended to provide OFAC’s perspective, to entities subject to US jurisdiction, on what are essential components of an effective sanctions compliance program.

OFAC developed this framework in our continuing effort to strengthen sanctions compliance practices across the boardThis underlines our commitment to engage with the private sector to further promote understanding of, and compliance with, sanction requirements.” - Andrea M. Gacki, Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (3)


  • OFAC continues to emphasize and “strongly encourage” entities subject to U.S. jurisdiction to take a risk-based approach to sanctions compliance by “developing, implementing, and routinely updating a sanctions compliance program (“SCP”).

  • Regardless of company size, sophistication, products/services, geographic locations, etc…each SCP should incorporate at least these five (5) components: management commitment, risk assessment, internal controls, testing and auditing, and training.

  • In enforcement cases, OFAC will evaluate an entities SCP against the Economic Sanctions Enforcement Guidelines (the “Guidelines”)(4) and when applying the Guidelines will favorably consider an entity that had an effective SCP in place at the time a violation occurred.

A Few Key Points

  • Management Commitment

    • Effective senior management commitment, among others, includes providing adequate resources for compliance and support for the authority of compliance personnel within the organization.

    • Adequate resources includes ensuring there are enough personnel with sufficient expertise dedicated to compliance, and adequate information technology, and other resources, as appropriate.

  • Risk Assessment(5)

    • OFAC recommends a risk-based approach to implementation of a SCP and one of the integral components of this approach is to conduct periodic risk assessments.

    • The assessment should include, among others, a review of customers, vendors, products, services, third-party intermediaries, and geographic locations.

  • Internal Controls

    • An effective SCP should include policies and procedures. These policies and procedures should be enforced and updated when weaknesses are detected or requirements change.

    • Sufficient personnel should be appointed to ensure proper integration of the company’s policies and procedures into the daily operation of the company.

    • The organization should clearly communicate their policies and procedures to all relevant staff.

  • Testing and Auditing

    • An effective SCP include’s a comprehensive and objective testing or audit function that identifies program weaknesses and deficiencies.

    • Any deficiencies identified, including software systems, should be addressed.

  • Training

    • An effective training program is considered an integral component of a successful SCP. The training should be provided to all appropriate employees and personnel on a periodic basis (at a minimum, annually).

  • Root Causes of OFAC Compliance Program Breakdowns - OFAC has identified the following common areas where deficiencies resulted in sanctions compliance failures:

    • Lack of a formal OFAC sanctions compliance program;

    • Misinterpreting, or failing to understand the applicability of, OFAC’s regulations;

    • Facilitating transactions by non-US persons (including through or by overseas subsidiaries or affiliates);

    • Exporting or re-exporting US-origin goods, technology, or services to OFAC sanctioned persons or countries;

    • Utilizing the US financial system, or processing payments to or through US financial institutions, for commercial transactions involving OFAC-sanctioned persons or countries;

    • Sanctions screening software or filter failures;

    • Improper due diligence on customers/clients;

    • De-centralized compliance functions and inconsistent application of their SCP; and

    • Utilizing non-standard payment or commercial practices.

Contact us to learn more about OFAC’s guidance and to find out how GCSG’s Advisory and Audit teams can guide and partner with you to reduce your sanctions compliance risk and protect your company’s bottom line and reputation.


Weekly Compliance News - Around the World

GCSG's Weekly Compliance News feature is a compilation of some of the previous weeks interesting trade compliance, anti-bribery and corruption, fraud, and due diligence news bites, from around the world.

Bribes and Backdoor Deals Help Foreign Firms Sell to China’s Hospitals | The New York Times

“A review of dozens of Chinese court cases and internal corporate documents as well as interviews with company insiders showed how foreign firms have become deeply enmeshed in the corruption pervading China’s health care industry.” (Click here for the article) - China, Global

Expedia Settles Alleged Violations of U.S. Sanctions on Cuba | Wall Street Journal

“Expedia Group Inc. agreed to pay more than $325,000 to settle allegations that it violated U.S. sanctions on Cuba, the Treasury Department said.” (Click here for the article) - Cuba, United States

Exploring the causes of persistent corruption | PHYS ORG

“Corruption impedes equitable development, destabilizes societies, and undermines the institutions and values of democracy. It is viewed by many as one of the world's greatest problems. According to a Gallup poll, a majority of people even place its negative impacts ahead of global problems like climate change, poverty and terrorism.” (Click here for the article) - Global

Europol highlights Russian money as biggest laundering threat | Reuters

“Europe's Baltic states are at risk from further Russian money laundering, a top European police official said after several big banks were hit by scandals centred on the region.” (Click here for the article) - Russia, China, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia

Treasury Sanctions Iran’s Largest Petrochemical Holding Group | U.S. Department of the Treasury

“The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action today against Iran’s largest and most profitable petrochemical holding group, Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC), for providing financial support to Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters (Khatam al-Anbiya), the engineering conglomerate of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).  In addition to PGPIC, OFAC is designating PGPIC’s vast network of 39 subsidiary petrochemical companies and foreign-based sales agents.” (Click here for the article) - Iran, USA

Mexico joins the anti-bribery enforcement bandwagon | The FCPA Blog

“Anti-corruption law has never been thought to hold much sway in Mexican affairs. Despite a nominal prohibition of bribery and graft and an abundance of recent corruption scandals, the country’s history of minimal enforcement has fostered an expectation of impunity...That may no longer be the case. In his successful campaign for office last year, Mexico’s President Lopez Obrador promised an administration that would fight corruption by taking on the “mafias of power” -- politicians and industry magnates who have enriched themselves through dubious federal contracting practices.” (Click here for the article) - Mexico

House begins debate on new NAFTA ratification bill | CTV News

“Members of Parliament began debating the new NAFTA implementation bill in the House of Commons on Tuesday. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland began the debate by extolling the benefits of the deal, saying Canada is ready to ratify the trilateral trade pact, as soon as the U.S. and Mexico are.” (Click here for the article) - Canada, Mexico, US

Vietnam says some Chinese exporters are using fake ‘Made-in-Vietnam’ labels to avoid US tariffs | The Daily Caller

“Some Chinese exporters are putting fake “Made-in-Vietnam'“ stickers to try to avoid U.S. tariffs, Vietnam alleged Sunday.” (Click here for the article) - Vietnam, China, US

India lost over 90,000 crore to trade misinvoicing, says GFI report | livemint

“India lost a staggering $13 billion, over ₹90,000 crore, to trade misinvoicing, equivalent to 5.5% of the value of the country's total revenue collections in 2016, according to a report by the US-based think tank Global Financial Integrity.” (Click here for the article) - India, China

Weekly Compliance News - Around the World

GCSG's Weekly Compliance News feature is a compilation of some of the previous weeks interesting trade compliance, anti-bribery and corruption, fraud, and due diligence news bites, from around the world.

The anatomy of a scam: How far fraudsters will go to steal your money  | Ottawa Citizen

“Gone are the days a Nigerian prince would email you, promising untold riches in exchange for a small payment upfront. Today’s scams are more intimate. Fraudsters craft tailored messages and emails; fake identities; real world addresses for not-so-real companies; websites; phone numbers; a significant corporate presence online; multiple email addresses; and even apparent news coverage from reputable sources.” (Click here for the article) - Global, Canada

Why corruption matters in the EU elections  | Transparency International

“Over the next four days, citizens from 28 countries across the European Union (EU) will cast their vote in one of the largest democratic elections worldwide. With 751 seats at stake in the European Parliament and each Member of Parliament (MEP) poised to serve a five-year term, there’s a lot riding on these elections.” (Click here for the article) - European Union

How does someone get scammed into buying $160,000 in gift cards?  | Marketplace Morning Report

“How does someone get scammed into buying $160,000 in gift cards? Nordstrom goes small.” (Click here for the article) - Global

Trade War: What Chinese Entrepreneurs Really Think  | FINEWS ASIA

“As the U.S.-Chinese trade tussle weighs heavily in Asia, what do Chinese entrepreneurs truly think about the conflict? asked an Asian family office.” (Click here for the article) - USA, China

How to Demonstrate Your Value as an Anti-Fraud Professional  | ACFE

“The biggest challenge people have when working toward professional advancement is understanding how to communicate the value their expertise and experience can bring to decision-makers. Whether it’s a new job, a promotion, or signing on a new client or customer, the message must be about how your expertise and value solve their problems.” (Click here for the article) - Global

New EU-wide whistle-blower rules approved  | GCSG

“On April 16, the European Parliament voted(1) in favor of adopting new European Union (“EU”) wide standards to protect whistle-blowers. The standards are designed to protect whistle-blowers that reveal breaches of EU law in areas of public procurement, financial services and tax, money laundering, product and transport safety, protection of the environment, food and feed safety, animal health and welfare, nuclear safety, public health, security of network and information systems, competition, consumer and data protection, fraud, corruption and any other illegal activity affecting the use of Union expenditures.” (Click here for the article) - European Union

Top 5 Cyber Security Threats for Executives  | Prescient

“High profile cyber incidents such as massive data breaches have become increasingly common across industries, especially in the past two years. Such events speak to the shift in perception for cyber crimes–from an overlooked and niche concern to a public, major security problem for organizations across industries. Everything from manufacturing, healthcare, and traditionally higher risk sectors such as banking and technology have been privy to such incidents. In the corporate realm, senior executives are primary targets of hackers, fraud and phishing scams due to their high level of access to valuable corporate information.” (Click here for the article) - Global

U.S. Terminates Turkey’s Preferential Trade Agreement, Reduces Tariffs on Steel  | US News & World Report

“The United States on Thursday terminated Turkey's preferential trade treatment that allowed some exports to enter the country duty free, but it has halved its tariffs on imports of Turkish steel to 25%.” (Click here for the article) - USA, Turkey

New US Sanctions on Iran's Iron, Steel, Aluminum, and Copper Sectors

On May 8, 2019, the Trump administration issued an Executive Order (EO)(1) establishing new sanctions on Iran’s iron, steel, aluminum, and copper sectors. A few key points from the EO include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • “All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person(2) of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State”:

    • to be operating in the iron, steel, aluminum, or copper sector of Iran, or to be a person that owns, controls, or operates an entity that is part of the iron, steel, aluminum, or copper sector of Iran;

    • to have knowingly engaged, on or after the date of this order, in a significant transaction for the sale, supply, or transfer to Iran of significant goods or services used in connection with the iron, steel, aluminum, or copper sectors of Iran;

    • to have knowingly engaged, on or after the date of this order, in a significant transaction for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of iron, iron products, aluminum, aluminum products, steel, steel products, copper, or copper products from Iran;….

In addition to the above, there are additional prohibitions on financial institutions and financial transactions (occurring with the noted sectors). The prohibitions included in the EO include:

  • the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked; and

  • the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

Contact your GCSG Trade Compliance professionals for assistance in understanding how to reduce your risk and how this EO may affect your business.


(1) Executive Order (EO) on “Imposing Sanctions with Respect to the Iron, Steel, Aluminum, and Copper Sectors of Iran” - May 8, 2019

(2) United States person - means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States.(1)

(3) Knowingly - with respect to conduct, a circumstance, or a result, means that a person has actual knowledge, or should have known, of the conduct, the circumstance, or the result.(1)

(4) Entity - means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization.(1)

Network of Iranian front companies disrupted by OFAC

On March 26, 2019 the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced(1) it had taken action against a network of 25 individuals and entities that had transferred over a billion dollars to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL).

The evasion scheme included a layered network of front companies and agents based in Iran, UAE, and Turkey that were set up to evade international sanctions and to gain access to the international financial system. The network exchanged devalued Iranian rials for dollars and euros.

We are targeting a vast network of front companies and individuals located in Iran, Turkey, and the UAE to disrupt a scheme the Iranian regime has used to illicitly move more than a billion dollars in fundsCentral to this network and sanctioned today pursuant to our counter terrorism authority is Iran's IRGC-controlled Ansar Bank and its currency exchange arm, Ansar Exchange, both of which used layers of intermediary entities to exchange devalued Iranian rial ultimately for dollars and euros to line the pockets of the IRGC and MODAFL…” (1)

Five front companies- UAE-based Sakan General Trading, Lebra Moon General Trading, and Naria General Trading, and Turkey-based Atlas Doviz, and the Iran-based Hital Exchange provided $800 million in funds to Ansar exchange.

Now more than ever, it is vitally important that global companies implement third-party due diligence and engagement policies. These policies are often risk-based but should be comprehensive and include at a minimum background investigation diligence and ongoing monitoring of distribution networks and contract agents.

Contact our Due Diligence compliance professionals at GCSG today to learn how we can help you mitigate your third-party risk with our due diligence reports, risk-ranking tool, policy development and implementation support, and international boots-on-the-ground third-party Audits.


(1) U.S. Department of the Treasury Press Releases - “United States Disrupts Large Scale Front Company Network Transferring Hundreds of Millions of Dollars and Euros to the IRGC and Iran’s Ministry of Defense.” - March 26, 2019

USTR Grants First Round of Section 301 Tariff Product Exclusions

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) recently published a notice of product exclusions(1) related to the Section 301 tariffs that were imposed on certain product imports from China on July 6, 2018. The product exclusions apply as of July 6, 2018 and will extend for one year after the date of the publication of the exclusion notice (published on December 28, 2018).

The general and specific product exclusions that were granted are listed below:

(i) Linear acting steering actuators and cylinders: 8412.21.0075

(ii) Water Dispensers: 8418.69.0120

(iii) Injection molding tools: 8480.71.8045

(iv) Radial Bearings/ Radial Ball Bearings: 8482.10.5044

(v) Ball Bearings: 8482.10.5048

(vi) Ball Bearings: 8482.10.5052

(vii) Citizen Band Radios: 8525.60.1010

(viii) Spark-ignition engines for marine propulsion, outboard, each rated at not less than 29.83 kW but not more than 44.74 kW (described in statistical reporting number 8407.21.0080)

(ix) Welded hydraulic linear acting (cylinders) engines and motors, each with piston bore of 12.7 mm or more but not over 34.6 mm, with stroke not over 11.43 m, overall length not over 15.24 m and rod diameter not over 1.219 m (described in statistical reporting number 8412.21.0030)

(x) Stretchers of stainless steel, designed to move rollers to adjust tension of paper fabric to be dried, each with a pivoting arm with an actuator, linear rail movement with an actuator, and front and back units with mounting holes for tube roll bearing housings (described in statistical reporting number 8419.90.2000)

(xi) Roller machines with dies for embossing paper, manually powered (described in statistical reporting number 8420.10.9080)

(xii) Salad spinners of plastics, with capacity of at least 2.4 liters but not more than 3.8 liters (described in statistical reporting number 8421.19.0000)

(xiii) Nonelectric water filtration apparatus consisting of three cylinder-shaped filter cartridges, each measuring 6.35 cm by 26.67 cm, having water storage tank and plastic tubing measuring 0.63 cm or more but not over 0.95 cm, presented with installation kit (described in statistical reporting number 8421.21.0000)

(xiv) Winches, each having a winch frame with a corrosion resistant coating and stainless steel mandrel with nylon bushings, operated manually by a worm gear mechanism (described in statistical reporting number 8425.39.0100)

(xv) Elevators, comprising L-shaped steel buckets bolted to a steel chain, with guide rollers and a drive system (described in statistical reporting number 8428.32.0000)

(xvi) Belt conveyors, each comprising a frame with leveling feet, electric motor and food grade plastic conveyor belt (described in statistical reporting number 8428.33.0000)

(xvii) Belt conveyors, each comprising a welded frame with leveling feet and casters, electric motor and food grade plastic modular conveyor belt (described in statistical reporting number 8428.33.0000)

(xviii) Guards of stainless steel, designed to shield operators of papermaking machines from moving or rotating equipment, each with dimensions ranging from 30 cm by 30 cm by 50 cm to 50 cm by 50 cm by 4 m, weighing 30 kg or more but not over 100 kg (described in statistical reporting number 8439.99.1000)

(xix) Scrapers (“doctors”) of stainless steel, designed to scrape impurities from the rotating roll surface of the forming and press sections of papermaking machines, each comprising a beam with a blade of non-symmetrical cross section, long aspect ratio, and mounting journals and turning devices on either end, with dimensions ranging from 50 cm by 50 cm by 8 m to 60 cm by 6 m by 11 m, weighing 1 metric ton or more but not over 3 metric tons (described in statistical reporting number 8439.99.1000)

(xx) Frameworks of the forming and press section of papermaking machines, of stainless steel or cladded mild steel with stainless or acid proof steel, each with dimensions ranging from 1 m by 1 m by 1 m to 2.3 m by 2.3 m by 12 m, weighing 500 kg or more but not over 40 metric tons (described in statistical reporting number 8439.99.1000)

(xxi) Guides of stainless steel, designed for locating conveyer belts on papermaking machines, each with a moving arm with an actuator and front and back units with mounting holes for tube roll bearing houses, each with dimensions ranging from 40 cm by 50 cm by 30 cm to 1 m by 1 m by 50 cm, weighing 300 kg or more but not over 500 kg (described in statistical reporting number 8439.99.1000)

(xxii) Rollers of steel and cast iron (“nip rollers”) with bearing journals on either end, designed for use in paper manufacturing to mechanically compress paper web to remove water or impart desired mechanical properties in paper web, each with a polymer cover, the foregoing with length of 7 m or more but not over 12 m, with diameter of 1 m or more but not over 1.5 m, weighing 15 metric tons or more but not over 30 metric tons (described in statistical reporting number 8439.99.1000)

(xxiii) Open containers (“savealls”) of stainless steel, designed to catch water run off generated in the papermaking process, constructed of large square shaped plates and flat constructions with mounting holes on ends, each with dimensions ranging from 50 cm by 50 cm by 50 cm to 1.5 m by 1 m by 10 m, weighing 50 kg or more but not over 2 metric tons (described in statistical reporting number 8439.99.1000)

(xxiv) Stretchers of stainless steel, designed to move rollers of papermaking machines to adjust tension of fabric, each with a pivoting arm with an actuator, linear rail movement with an actuator and front and back units with mounting holes for tube roll bearing housings (described in statistical reporting number 8439.99.1000)

(xxv) Suction boxes of stainless steel, which remove water from paper web or papermaking fabrics during papermaking, each with dimensions ranging from 50 cm by 50 cm by 8 m to 1 m by 1 m by 10 m, weighing 1.5 metric tons or more but not over 2 metric tons (described in statistical reporting number 8439.99.1000)

(xxvi) Rollers of stainless steel or cast iron, designed for use in paper manufacturing to support and convey papermaking cloth (i.e. fabric) or the paper web, each weighing 7 metric tons or more but not over 20 metric tons, measuring 7 m or more but not over 12 m in length, with diameter of 40 cm or more but not over 1.5 m, presented with bearing journals on either end and a polymer cover (described in statistical reporting number 8439.99.1000)

(xxvii) Work stands designed to use with miter saws, each with metal tube frame, 4 metal legs and 2 metal extension arms (described in statistical reporting number 8466.92.5010)

(xxviii) Work stands designed for use with miter saws, each with wheels to make work stand mobile and with sides that fold up to extend the work area (described in statistical reporting number 8466.92.5010)

(xxix) Angle cock handle assemblies, of iron and steel, each measuring 11.43 cm by 21.59 cm by 5.08 cm and weighing 0.748 kg (described in statistical reporting number 8481.90.9040)

(xxx) Radiation therapy systems, each encased by steel-based structural shell with gantry cover comprising three pairs of plastics-based panels (described in statistical reporting number 9022.14.0000)

(xxxi) Thermostats designed for air conditioning or heating systems, not designed to connect to the internet, the foregoing designed for wall mounting (described in statistical reporting number 9032.10.0030)

Contact GCSG’s Trade Compliance professionals for more guidance and information.


EU - Japan trade agreement effective on Feb 1, 2019

On February 1, 2019 the European Union (EU) - Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) becomes effective. The EPA creates a trading area that covers 600 million people and close to a third of global gross domestic product.

The EPA is the biggest trade agreement concluded to date by the EU. 99% of the tariffs applied on EU exports to Japan which currently amount to €1 billion, will be removed.”(1)

The EU exports more than 58 billion in goods and 28 billion in services to Japan each year.(2)


  1. European Council Press Release - “EU-Japan trade agreement will enter into force on 1 February 2019” - 21/12/2018

  2. European Commission - “EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement” - Official Page

  3. European Commission - “Fact sheets about the agreement” - News archive

Weekly Compliance News - Around the World

GCSG's Weekly Compliance News feature is a compilation of some of the previous weeks interesting trade compliance, anti-bribery and corruption, fraud, and due diligence news bites, from around the world.

Global Executives Cooling on M&A Deals Amid Trade Uncertainty | Industrial Distribution

"Executives around the world are cooling to the idea of mergers and acquisitions in the face of rising trade tensions, notably between the U.S. and China, a leading adviser on international corporate deals said Monday." (Click here for the article) - Global

US Imposes Additional Sanctions on Russia | Thompson Hine

"The United States has announced additional financial sanctions on three individuals and nine entities supporting Russia’s attempt to integrate the Crimea region of Ukraine through private investment and privatization projects or engaging in serious human rights abuses in furtherance of Russia’s occupation or control over parts of Ukraine." (Click here for the article) - EU, US, Russia, Ukraine

Africa church leaders join fight against graft | The FCPA Blog

"Eliud Wabukala, a retired Anglican archbishop, became chairman of Kenya's Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission in 2017. In September, he launched a bible-based anti-graft campaign that includes an anti-corruption bible study." (Click here for the article) - Kenya, Africa

The Growing Menace of Cyber Attacks in the Asia-Pacific region | Entrepreneur Asia Pacific

"Over the past few years, cyber attacks have emerged as one of the biggest global threats to businesses and governments. In September, the largest social networking platform, Facebook announced that data of at least 50 million accounts have been exposed to hackers through a breach." (Click here for the article) - Asia-Pacific region

Top Ten Things to Know About Expanded US Sanctions on Iran | Latham & Watkins

"As reported in the Latham Client Alert dated May 10, 2018, President Trump announced on May 8 that the United States was withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the January 2016 nuclear non-proliferation agreement among China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the US and Iran..." (Click here for the article) - US, Iran

US DOJ Unveils New China Initiative | Thompson Hine

"On November 1, 2018, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the creation of a “China Initiative” aimed at identifying priority Chinese trade theft cases for investigation and enforcement." (Click here for the article) - US, China

Illicit Procurement Network Used Firms in China, Portugal, and Turkey to Supply Iran | Iran Watch

"A recently unsealed indictment provides detail on Iran’s use of deceptive practices to procure export controlled items with military applications from the United States and elsewhere. The indictment details an elaborate, multi-year conspiracy directed by an Iranian-born Canadian to procure such items for an Iranian firm, with help from co-conspirators in China, Portugal, and Turkey." (Click here for the article) - US, Iran, Canada, China, Portugal, Turkey

Romanian anti-corruption prosecutors targeted by new work requirement| Euractiv

"Romanian prosecutors said they feared for their jobs and the rule of law after a new government ordinance increasing the years of professional experience required of them was published...Prosecutors will now need at least 10 years experience to work in the country’s National Anti-corruption Directorate, the anti-mafia bureau or the Public Prosecutor’s office." (Click here for the article) - EU, Romania

Weekly Compliance News - Around the World

GCSG's Weekly Compliance News feature is a compilation of some of the previous weeks interesting trade compliance, anti-bribery/corruption, fraud, and due diligence news bites, from around the world.

EU and Japan to Recognize the Other’s Persona Data Protection System | JDSupra - K&L Gates LLP

"On 17 July 2018, the EU and Japan reached an agreement to recognize each other’s data protections systems as “equivalent”, and each commits to complete internal procedures by fall 2018 (the “Data Agreement”). Once adopted, this will allow businesses to transfer personal data from the European Economic Area to Japan and vice versa without being required to provide further additional safeguards for each transfer." (Click here for the article) - EU, Japan

Chinese Intelligence Officer Charged with Economic Espionage | US DOJ

"A Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) operative, Yanjun Xu, aka Qu Hui, aka Zhang Hui, has been arrested and charged with conspiring and attempting to commit economic espionage and steal trade secrets from multiple U.S. aviation and aerospace companies.  Xu was extradited to the United States yesterday." (Click here for the article) - USA, China

Cyber Tests Showed ‘Nearly All’ New Pentagon Weapons Vulnerable to Attack | NPR

"Passwords that took seconds to guess, or were never changed from their factory settings. Cyber vulnerabilities that were known, but never fixed. Those are two common problems plaguing some of the Department of Defense's newest weapons systems, according to the Government Accountability Office." (Click here for the article) - USA, China

Security firm uncovers new cyber group targeting government and military sectors | The Hill

"A new cyber group appears to have been targeting government and military organizations this past year as part of an espionage campaign, a security firm said on Wednesday." (Click here for the article) - Eastern Europe, Middle East

Oil Industry snubs EU effort to defy US sanctions on Iran | Financial Times

"Big European oil companies are spurning the EU’s attempt to shield Iranian crude from US sanctions because of fears the effort would leave businesses exposed to harsh penalties from the Trump administration." (Click here for the article) - Europe, Iran, USA

Mitigating Compliance Pitfalls in Manufacturing |

"The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have stepped up efforts recently to enforce the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). For manufacturers, this involves regulations surrounding exports and international conduct, including those related to U.S. economic sanctions and export control laws." (Click here for the article) - USA

French ports planning for ‘No-Deal’ Brexit | freightweek

"Norlink Ports, an association of 25 ports and inland gateways in the northern Hauts-de-France region, is planning measures to reduce the commercial impact of Britain leaving the European Union without a trade agreement." (Click here for the article) - UK, France, EU

Three Audit Employees Investigated in Probe of Vehicle Certifications | WSJ

"German prosecutors have launched an investigation into three employees of Volkswagen AG’s luxury car unit Audi suspected of falsifying documents to obtain roadworthiness certifications needed for vehicles to be exported to South Korea…" (Click here for the article) - Germany, South Korea

Countries Face Rising Exposure to Money Laundering | WSJ

"More countries are showing heightened risks of exposure to money laundering, according to an annual ranking of countries assessing their money-laundering risk." (Click here for the article) - Global

Weekly Compliance News - Around the World

GCSG's Weekly Compliance News feature is a compilation of some of the previous weeks interesting trade compliance, anti-bribery/corruption, fraud, and due diligence news bites, from around the world.

China Tariffs - List 3 Finalized and Taking Effect | Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP

"At the end of the day on September 17, 2018, the U.S. Trade Representative issued notice that List 3 of the China tariffs has been finalized and takes effect with a 10% tariff on September 24, 2018." (Click here for the article) - USA, China

China eases up on winter smog fight as it battles American trade war headwinds  | SCMP

"China will be less severe with its smog curbs this winter as it grapples with slower economic growth and a trade war with the United States, according to a government plan released on Thursday." (Click here for the article) - USA, China

Ferraris, diamond rings: 3 men indicted in massive $364 million Ponzi scheme | USA Today

"Three men have been indicted in an alleged $364 million ponzi scheme that had more than 400 victims who funded their lavish lifestyle, featuring luxury cars, pricey homes and expensive jewelry, federal authorities said." (Click here for the article) - USA

Paris set to triumph as Europe’s post-Brexit trading hub | Financial Times

"Paris is emerging as the favored financial trading hub for continental Europe, as some of the world’s biggest banks and asset managers prepare for life after Brexit by steering their EU operations away from London to the French capital." (Click here for the article) - UK, France, European Union

US reaches trade deal with Canada and Mexico | Politico

"Trade ministers from the U.S., Mexico and Canada have reached a deal to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Trump administration announced late Sunday night." (Click here for the article) - USA, Mexico, Canada

Rules of Origin are too complicated | FOOD navigator

"Complex rules of origin labelling requirements inhibit trade and SMEs pay a particularly heavy price, trade bodies amfori and EuroCommerce warn. Speaking at a conference on rules of origin in Brussels, the heads of both associations argued that unless rules of origin requirements are reformed, they will continue to discourage European companies from taking advantage of ‘hard won concessions’ in free trade agreements." (Click here for the article) - European Union

North Korean hacking group tried to steal over $1Bn | FireEye

"This new FireEye report reveals a North Korean hacking group tried to steal over $1 billion from banks worldwide." (Click here for the article) - North Korea, Global

USMCA Provision Could Deter Trade Agreements with China | ST&R

"A provision in the updated NAFTA concluded this past weekend could make it more difficult for Canada and Mexico to pursue potential free trade agreements with China. Observers say the Trump administration could look to insert a similar provision in possible FTAs with the European Union and Japan as part of its effort to pressure Beijing to advance economic reforms." (Click here for the article) - USA, Mexico, Canada, China

Dubai enacts changes to anti-money laundering rules | The National

"The Dubai government has enacted changes to the Dubai International Financial Centre's anti-money laundering laws following a self-assessment of the free zone’s capacity to fight financial crime." (Click here for the article) - UAE

Hong Kong Freezes Chairman Assets, Alleges $1.3 Billion Con | Bloomberg

"Hong Kong’s securities regulator froze the assets of an unnamed chairman of a public company on suspicion of fraud totaling $1.3 billion. The person may have conducted two suspicious transactions to make significant profits, the Securities and Futures Commission said in a statement..." (Click here for the article) - Hong Kong, China

Weekly Compliance News - Around the World

GCSG's Weekly Compliance News feature is a compilation of some of the previous weeks interesting trade compliance, anti-bribery/corruption, fraud, and due diligence news bites, from around the world.

Europe, Russia and China join forces with a new mechanism to dodge Iran sanctions | CNBC

"In the latest sign of the growing divide between Washington and its allies, the European Union's foreign policy chief announced Monday that the bloc was creating a new payment mechanism to allow countries to transact with Iran while avoiding U.S. sanctions." (Click here for the article) - USA, Russia, China, European Union

China says US trying to force it to submit on trade as new tariffs kick in | Reuters

"The United States and China imposed fresh tariffs on each other’s goods on Monday as the world’s biggest economies showed no signs of backing down from an increasingly bitter trade dispute that is expected to hit global economic growth." (Click here for the article) - USA, China

Novartis links bonuses to ethics in bid to rebuild reputation | GAN Integrity Inc.

"Swiss drug maker Novartis has revealed its employees only get a bonus if they meet or exceed expectations for ethical behavior as it seeks to address past shortcomings that have damaged its reputation." (Click here for the article) - Switzerland, USA, South Korea, China

Japan mulls bilateral trade deal with U.S. | Reuters

"Japan is mulling a bilateral trade agreement with the United States that would lower tariffs on U.S. agriculture imports in exchange for avoiding higher tariffs on Japanese autos, the Nikkei newspaper said on Saturday." (Click here for the article) - Japan, USA

Potential NAFTA collapse poses major risk to Canada | Financial Post

"Canada’s economic growth could be pared by about a quarter next year if the North American Free Trade Agreement collapses, and the drag will be extended if an automobile trade war emerges, according to a new Conference Board forecast." (Click here for the article) - Canada, USA

British inquiry intensifies Danske Bank money laundering scandal | Reuters

"Danske Bank’s money laundering scandal spread on Friday to Britain where the National Crime Agency said it is investigating the use of UK-registered companies." (Click here for the article) - Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Russia, UK

BASF commits to complying with US sanctions on Iran | Politico

"German chemical giant BASF has made a firm commitment to comply with all U.S. sanctions against Iran, becoming the latest in a string of large European companies to back away from ambitious plans to invest in the Islamic Republic following Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal." (Click here for the article) - Germany, Iran, USA

US Sanctions Russia and China-based IT companies for connections to DPRK | WorldECR

"The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (‘OFAC’) has sanctioned a Chinese IT company, its Russian counterpart and its North Korean CEO, targeting revenue repatriated to North Korea (‘DPRK’) through overseas IT workers." (Click here for the article) - Russia, China, North Korea, USA

Weekly Compliance News - Around the World

GCSG's Weekly Compliance News feature is a compilation of some of the previous weeks interesting trade compliance, anti-bribery/corruption, fraud, and due diligence news bites, from around the world.

US President signs miscellaneous tariff bill - eliminates tariffs | crowell moring

"On September 13, 2018, President Trump signed the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) Act of 2018, which temporarily reduces or eliminates import duties on specified raw materials and intermediate products used in manufacturing that are not produced or available domestically." (Click here for the article) - USA

Danske Bank CEO quits over $234 billion money laundering scandal | Reuters

"Danske Bank’s chief executive Thomas Borgen resigned on Wednesday after an investigation revealed payments totaling 200 billion euros ($234 billion) through its small Estonian branch, many of which the bank said were suspicious." (Click here for the article) - Estonia, Russia, Denmark, European Union

U.S.’s Ross says China must decide on trade talks | CNBC

"It is up to Beijing to take the next steps on trade talks, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Tuesday as China vowed to retaliate after U.S. President Donald Trump imposed initial duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods." (Click here for the article) - China, USA

US Legislation Gives BIS Greater Powers | WorldECR

"The US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (‘BIS’) has been given statutory authority under the Export Control Reform Act (‘ECRA’), to control certain exports. The act was signed into law by President Trump on 13 August." (Click here for the article) - USA

Europe Moves to Target Money Laundering in Response to Scandals | WSJ

"Europe threw a one-two punch to fight money laundering on Wednesday, with the European Commission proposing enhanced powers for a regulator and lawmakers passing a package of new rules." (Click here for the article) - European Union

Foreign Bribery Rages Unchecked in over half of Global Trade | Transparency International

"Transparency International’s new report, Exporting Corruption, finds that only 11 major exporting countries - accounting for about a third of world exports - have active or moderate law enforcement against companies bribing abroad in order to gain mining rights, contracts for major construction projects, purchases of planes and other deals." (Click here for the article) - Global

Canada returning to NAFTA talks earlier than expected | CBC

"NAFTA talks are resuming at the decision-maker level sooner than expected, with Canada's foreign affairs minister set to return to Washington on Tuesday." (Click here for the article) - Canada, USA, Mexico

US - South Korea Free Trade Agreement Changes Published

Details on the changes made to the US - Korea free trade agreement have now been published.(1)  The renegotiated agreement covers areas such as automobiles, customs processes, and investment, as well as the recent US steel and aluminum tariffs.  Some of the key new outcomes include(2):

  • Korea will extend the phase out of the 25% US tariff on trucks until 2041
  • Korea will double the number of US automobile exports, to 50,000 cars per manufacturer per year, that can meet US safety standards and enter the Korean market without further modification
  • US gasoline engine vehicle exports will be able to show compliance with Korea's emission standards using the same tests they conduct to show compliance with US regulations
  • Korea will recognize US standards for auto parts necessary to service US vehicles and reduce labeling burdens for parts
  • Agreement was reached on conducting verification of origin of exports under KORUS

Click here for the document that provides the KORUS text change details.  


Singapore Makes Changes to their Strategic Goods Control List

On September 4, 2018 Singapore Customs announced they have modified their Strategic Goods Control List.(1)  The changes, when they come into effect, will bring Singapore's strategic goods control list up to date with the 2017 Wassenaar Arrangement's Munitions List (2), and the 2017 European Union's List of Dual-Use Items.(3)  

The amendments include new controls, removal of controls, and other minor editorial changes.  Singapore Customs published a document with the changes noted in detail.(4)

The changes will become effective on November 1, 2018.


Weekly Compliance News - Around the World

GCSG's Weekly Compliance News feature is a compilation of some of the previous weeks interesting trade compliance, anti-bribery/corruption, fraud, and due diligence news bites, from around the world.

Retaliatory tariffs on US chem exports to China threaten $18Bn in economic harm | ICIS

"The $11Bn worth of tariffs on US chemical exports enacted by China put almost $18Bn in domestic activity at risk along with nearly 55,000 US jobs..." (Click here for the article) - USA, China

New Sanctions Against Russia Have Unfavorable Impact on Defense Sector | BakerHostetler

"the U.S. State Department published new sanctions against Russia based on the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 after determining that the government of Russia had used chemical weapons in violation of international law..." (Click here for the article) - USA, Russia

Trump Rejects EU Offer to Remove Tariffs on Industrial Goods | ST&R Trade Report

"President Trump said Aug. 30 that a European Union offer to remove all tariffs on two-way trade in automobiles and other industrial goods is "not good enough."  (Click here for the article) - USA, European Union

'Urgency' for Asia Pacific mega trade deal | CNBC

"While the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is considering slapping another $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, 16 economies in Asia Pacific are racing to conclude a mega trade deal that would become the largest trading bloc in the world." (Click here for the article) - 10 ASEAN nations plus China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, 

EU lifts five-year old restrictions on solar panels from China | South China Morning Post

"The European Union will end its five-year-old restrictions on solar panel imports from China, officials said on Monday, as Brussels and Beijing increase their own trade cooperation in the face of protectionist steps from the United States." (Click here for the article) - EU, China

Kim struggles to revive North Korean economy battered by sanctions | Nikkei Asian Review

"In the two and a half months since his historic summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has temporarily shelved de-nuclearization talks in favor of inspecting farms and factories to underscore his focus on improving an economy hamstrung by years of sanctions." (Click here for the article) - USA, North Korea, South Korea

Trump reportedly wants to hit China with tariffs on $200Bn worth of goods | Business Insider

"Bloomberg reported Thursday that Trump had told aides that he wants to follow through on a threat to impose tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods as early as next week. That would mean more than half of all Chinese imports would be subject to tariffs." (Click here for the article) - USA, China

China may soon regret slapping tariffs on US soybeans | CNN Money

"One of China's major moves in the trade war with the US is in danger of backfiring on its own farmers.  They're facing a potential shortage of soybeans, one of China's biggest imports from the United States, after Beijing slapped a 25% tariff on them last month in retaliation for US tariffs on a swath of Chinese goods." (Click here for the article) - USA, China

Former DP World Manager must pay Dh5 million fine over bribe plot | The National UAE

"A former DP World manager who sought bribes from two companies in exchange for helping them win lucrative construction projects has had her 18-month jail term upheld – and been told she must still pay a fine of nearly Dh5 million." (Click here for the article) - UAE

Wells Fargo bankers fired after falsifying dinner receipts | Fox Business

"Yet another scandal has reportedly broken out at Wells Fargo.  The bank has fired or suspended at least a dozen employees at its investment bank - Wells Fargo Securities - over allegations these individuals doctored after-hours dinner receipts..." (Click here for the article) - USA

An overview of the Danske Bank money laundering scandal | Berlingske Business

"Berlingske has spent more than a year investigating the extensive money laundering at Danske Bank. Here is an overview of the case – with links to the most important articles (some are in Danish)...For years, large and deeply suspicious money flows were channelled unhindered through Danske Bank’s branch in Estonia – in what experts say was in breach of anti-money laundering laws." (Click here for the article) - Denmark, Estonia, Russia


US Trade Representative Issues Trade Fact Sheet on US-MX Trade Agreement

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) recently published a fact sheet detailing the key components of the recently agreed upon US-Mexico Trade Agreement.  Some of the key changes proposed in the rule include:

  • Auto sector: At least 75% of a vehicle must have been built in either the US or Mexico in order for the vehicle to sell in the US without tariffs.  The original NAFTA agreement only required 62.5%.
  • Intellectual property: The agreement extends US copyright protection into Mexico and strengthens the patent protections in the pharmaceutical and agricultural sectors.  It also addresses digital trade, something that was not covered under NAFTA.
  • Labor and Environmental: The agreement requires companies to "prohibit the importation of goods produced by forced labor, to address violence against workers exercising their labor rights, and to ensure that migrant workers are protected under labor laws.".  It also addresses air quality issues.
  • Duty free limits: The agreement raises the "de minimis" level from $50 to $100 for duty free entry from the US into Mexico for Mexican citizens.  U.S. citizens are allowed to import up to $800 worth of goods duty free.
  • Sunset Clause: The pact, if agreed upon would run for 16 years.  After 6 years both sides would met and decide if they wanted to renew for another 16 years.      

The deal requires approval from the US Congress before it can become law.  The Administration intends to submit the paperwork to get the process started in Congress as early as Friday.  This timeline potentially gives Canada only a week to sign-on to the deal.  

Click here for the full Fact Sheet.  

Key Link(s):

Weekly Compliance News - Around the World

GCSG's Weekly Compliance News feature is a compilation of some of the previous weeks interesting trade compliance, anti-bribery/corruption, fraud, and due diligence news bites, from around the world.

Cyber Crooks Hit British Law Firms, Steal Over 20 million pounds of client money | KYC360

"UK law firms are increasingly coming under attack from cyber criminals, with attacks costing law firms millions..." (Click here for the article) - UK

US State Department Imposes Sanctions on Russia for Use of Chemical Weapons | Baker McKenzie

"On August 24, 2018, the US State Department gave notice of new sanctions on Russia under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (the “CBW Act”) after determining that the Russian Government has used chemical weapons in violation of international law or chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals." (Click here for the article) - USA, Russia

Microsoft Hit With US Bribery Probe Over Deals in Hungary | WSJ

"Microsoft Corp. is being investigated by U.S. authorities over potential bribery and corruption related to software sales in Hungary, according to people familiar with the matter." (Click here for the article) - Hungary, USA

Company expelled from program for abuse, non-compliance | The Fiji Times

"A RENOWNED automotive company in Fiji has been stripped off from the Revenue and Customs’ Gold Card Services Program for abuse and non-compliance to Customs laws on numerous occasions." (Click here for the article) - Fiji

Nearly Half of Responding Organizations Plan to Modernize Compliance in Year Ahead | Corporate Compliance Insights

"Almost half (48.3 percent) of risk and compliance, internal audit, C-suite executive and board professionals plan to modernize their compliance functions by changing core compliance execution practices during the next 12 months, according to a recent Deloitte poll." (Click here for the article) - Global

Treasury blacklists firms, individuals accused of violating North Korean sanctions | WSJ

"Three South Koreans illegally imported North Korean coal and iron via Russia in violation of sanctions, South Korean customs officials said, exposing a crack in the US-led campaign to cut off trade with the Pyongyang regime." (Click here for the article) - North Korea, Russia, USA

SEC Charges Citigroup for Internal Controls Failure | CFO

"Citigroup agreed to an SEC enforcement action on Thursday that charged the bank with inadequate controls that failed to detect “fraudulently-induced” loans made by a Mexican subsidiary. The failure ultimately resulted in $475 million of losses reported by Citigroup.." (Click here for the article) - Mexico, USA

Oil giant Total has pulled out of Iran and giant gas project | CNBC

"French oil giant Total has officially left Iran and abandoned its deal to develop a giant natural gas field in the country, Iran's oil minister reportedly told state television Monday, leaving the isolated republic to look for a replacement." (Click here for the article) - France, Iran, USA

UK Government to publish no-deal Brexit advice | BBC News

"Three South Koreans illegally imported North Korean coal and iron via Russia in violation of sanctions, South Korean customs officials said, exposing a crack in the US-led campaign to cut off trade with the Pyongyang regime." (Click here for the article) - UK, EU

Freight forwarding and logistics firms to withdraw from business with Iran

According to Lloyd's Loading List, some logistics service providers have decided to halt business in Iran as a result of the re-imposition of US sanctions.  Others are taking a wait and see approach.  In addition, several major container lines such as CMA, CGM, Maersk, and MSC have withdrawn from Iran.(2)  

"Thomas Cullen, a senior analyst at logistics consulting firm Transport Intelligence, said the re-imposition of US sanctions “seems likely to be at least as brutal as the sanctions pursued for the decade prior to the JCPOA, with the US now pressing for Iran to be excluded from the SWIFT banking transaction system”."(1)

Cullen noted: “With the announcement last week that Renault was ceasing operations, something that Peugeot-Citroen decided last month, the CKD related container traffic will fall heavily. Possibly the Chinese VMs may increase inputs to compensate, but they are much weaker in this market.”(1)

Cullen added: “The leading western container lines have effectively withdrawn from services into Iran, presumably leaving shippers to arrange their own feeder services from Dubai. Once again, the Chinese carriers may be the only option.”(1)


Changes to U.S. In-Bond Process - Now in Effect

On September, 28, 2017 the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published a final rule(1) implementing changes to the In-Bond Process.  The final rule adopts, with changes, proposed amendments originally published on February 22, 2012.  

The in-bond process allows imported merchandise to be entered into the U.S. at one port of entry without payment of duties and then transported by a bonded carrier to another U.S. port of entry.  The merchandise is then either entered or exported.  

The changes to the rule will enhance CBP's ability to track in-bond merchandise and ensure it is properly entered or exported.  The rule became effective on November 27, 2017 but several key changes did not become effective until 2018.  Key changes include:

July 2, 2018

  • All in-bond move requests, by a carrier, must be filed electronically.  The paper 7512 form for truck shipments traveling through the US from Canada is eliminated. 

August 6, 2018

  • Carriers are required to electronically report the arrival and location of the in-bond merchandise within 48 hours of arrival at the port of destination or port of exportation;
  • Carriers are required to electronically report the export of the in-bond merchandise within 48 hours of export; and
  • Carriers are required to electronically request and receive permission from CBP before diverting in-bond merchandise from its intended destination port to another port.


  • Bonded Carrier - a carrier of merchandise whose bond under 113.63 of this title is obligated for the transportation and delivery of merchandise.(1)