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Over 300 New Russia Sanctions Issued

The Treasury and State Departments are  issuing sweeping new measures guided by G7 commitments to intensify the pressure on Russia for its continued war against Ukraine. Wednesday's actions ratchet up the risk of secondary sanctions for foreign financial institutions that deal with Russia’s war economy; restrict the ability of Russian military-industrial base to take advantage of certain U.S. software and information technology (IT) services; and, together with the Department of State, target more than 300 individuals and entities.
EXIM President and Chair of the Board of Directors, Reta Jo Lewis.
The US Export-Import Bank has failed to make an impact on trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa, despite a congressional mandate for expansion and extensive overseas travel by EXIM President and Chair of the Board of Directors, Reta Jo Lewis.
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Adeyemo Calls for Coodinated Action on Sino-Russian Defense Trade

A senior Treasury Department official called for European allies to line up in applying pressure to Beijing to cease supporting the Kremlin's war efforts.     Citing the Russian econmy's "war footing," Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said "this war is not just an existential threat to Ukraine, but to Europe and our national security."

Cuban Trade Regs Loosened

Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is amending the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (the “Regulations”) to further implement elements of the policy announced by the Administration on May 16, 2022, Cuban entrepreneurs' access to internet-based services and banking facilities are improved, while the restrictions on transactions with state-owned entities remain fully in force.

Welcome to Your WTTL

The Washington Tariff and Trade Letter introduces a web-based format for easier review, research and sharing.  Clicking on a story in the newsletter will now bring you to the full text on our new web site. A .pdf version of the newsletter is available below.   For any questions about website access and your subscription, please contact us at Info@TradeRegs.com – Or call the Editor, Frank Ruffing, at +1.703.283.5220

The latest news

WTO Talks Trade and Climate Change

The new chair of the World Trade Organization’s Committee on Trade and Environment has shared ideas on how to advance thematic sessions on few topics in the complex and controversial arena of trade and climate change – where there is no clear mandate from the WTO’s recent 13th ministerial conference, said people familiar with developments.

House Passes NDAA, Larded for Warfighting, Home & Abroad

The House of Representatives passed their version of the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act.  The narrow 217 to 199 vote on the normally nonpartisan legislation reflected the last minute addition of a raft of culture war amendments which alienated all but six Democrats.
More trade & tariff news
The Budva riviera in Montenegro

Rich Nephew's Grand Tour: Baltic to Balkans

Coordinator on Global Anti-Corruption Richard Nephew will travel to Montenegro, Lithuania, and Albania June 16-21. Mr. Nephew will visit Podgorica, Montenegro to meet with government officials and civil society representatives. He will then travel to Vilnius, Lithuania on June 18-19, to the opening plenary of the International Anti-Corruption Conference.

Tai Sweeps the Steppes

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai convened the 15th U.S. - Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council meeting in Kazakhstan Friday, capping a week of yakking with envoys from the host country as well as the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Include Drones in Connected Vehicle Study, Hill tells Commerce

 Congressional China hawks called for the Commerce Department to include Chinese drones in evolving regulations for connected vehicles.  "With UAVs’ connected software and hardware posing similar national security threats to those of other identified connected vehicles, such transactions present undue and unacceptable risks to U.S. national security," the lawmakers wrote.

Sen. Rubio Calls on UK to Scrutinize Shein

After Chinese fast fashion powerhouse pulled its plans to list shares in the US, Congressional bedevilment persists. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to the U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, informing him of SHEIN’s reported human-rights abuses and exploitation of trade loopholes and the risks these tactics pose to businesses and investors. The letter urges Hunt to investigate SHEIN thoroughly before allowing the company to list on the London Stock Exchange.  
On the calendar
U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Trade is hosting a webinar on Thursday, June 20, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. ET titled De minimis: Back to Basics. The webinar will provide an overview of the basic filing requirements and data quality for the importation of de minimis shipments.
Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is sanctioning ten individuals, entities, and vessels, including tanker captains, in multiple jurisdictions that have engaged in the illicit transport of oil and other commodities, including for the network of Houthi financial facilitator Sa’id al-Jamal. This action targets maritime shipping and financial facilitators, several vessel managers and owners, and a company involved in forging shipping documents.
A Turkish aviation operator was fined for ferrying passengers into and out of Russia on a US manufactured Gulfstream executive jet without the requisite export license.   The Commerce Department (BIS)  imposed a civil penalty of $285,000 against Sapphire Havacilik San Ltd. STI (Sapphire), an aviation company headquartered in Ankara, Türkiye, to resolve violations of the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 (ECRA). Although the Russian national passengers provided payment to Sapphire through third-party non-Russian charter brokers, such flights into Russia—which were arranged for the benefit of the Russian national or nationals on board—were nevertheless controlled by or under charter or lease by a Russian national.  As such, the relevant flights did not fall within license exception Aircraft, Vessels, and Spacecraft (AVS) and violated Section 764.2(a) of the ECRA.
Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned members of one of Guyana’s wealthiest families, Nazar Mohamed and his son, Azruddin Mohamed, their company, Mohamed’s Enterprise, and a Guyanese government official, Mae Thomas , for their roles in public corruption in Guyana. Azruddin and Mohamed’s Enterprise evaded Guyana’s tax on gold exports and defrauded the Guyanese government of tax revenues by under­declaring their gold exports to Guyanese authorities. Between 2019 and 2023, Mohamed’s Enterprise omitted more than 10 thousand kilograms of gold from import and export declarations and avoided paying more than $50 million in duty taxes to the Government of Guyana.
Two men have been indicted and 17 snow machines seized as law enforcement broke up a scheme to ship the equipment to Russia by way of Hong Kong.   Sergey Nefedov, 40, of Anchorage, Alaska, and Mark Shumovich, 35, of Bellevue, Washington, were arrested June 11.  Both are Russian nationals and naturalized US Citizens. According to the indictment, Nefedov and Shumovich told freight forwarders that the snowmachines would be going to Hong Kong, where they knew that a license was not required for export, thereby causing a freight forwarder to provide false information to U.S. authorities by concealing the end user and destination of the snowmachines.

"All Tariffs," no Income Tax Proposed

Donald Trump has proposed an "all tariff policy" which would replace the income tax, sources have told CNBC. CBP collected $80 billion in Tariff revenue in FY 2023.  Revenues received by the federal government in 2023 totaled $4.4 trillion, of which half was receipts from individual income taxes, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Texas Duo Sentenced for Iran Oil Sales

Two Texas men, both of whom were convicted at trial, were sentenced today to 45 months in prison for attempting to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), conspiracy to violate IEEPA and conspiracy to commit money laundering based on their attempt to transact in sanctioned petroleum and launder the proceeds. The conspirators planned to start their scheme with a 500,000-barrel shipment of Iranian oil, but intended to increase the shipments to one or two million barrels per month for a year or more.

CBP Factsheet Published

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) published an updated Trade Fact Sheet providing a snapshot of the scope and volume of the bureau's activities. Duties and taxes collected in FY 2023, were $92 billion, down more than 17 percent from the prior year.

China Hawks Target 1979 Science & Tech Agreement

A renewed urgency has gripped Capitol Hill's China hawks to call for the Chief of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) to report on patents issued to Chinese inventors.    In place since the Carter Administration and renewed every five years, the United States - China Science and Technology Agreement (STA) "is a vector to give the PRC access to U.S. dual-use research and presents a clear national security risk...The Biden Administration must stop fueling our own destruction and allow the STA to expire," the lawmakers write.