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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.

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.

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."

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.

Many developing countries, including the Africa Group and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group, yesterday rejected the proposal on “responsible consensus” floated by Singapore and several countries at the World Trade Organization, said people familiar with the developments. The United States seemingly adopted an ambivalent position on “consensus”-based decision-making, saying “consensus” is essential. It added that members have the option to block decisions that conflict with vital national interests, said people who took part in the meeting.

Two Florida men have pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud conspiracy for their roles in a scheme to fraudulently procure deeply discounted products from Massachusetts biochemical company Sigma-Aldrich Inc., doing business as MilliporeSigma, and export them to China using falsified export documents. As a result of MilliporeSigma’s timely self-disclosure and extraordinary cooperation, MilliporeSigma will not be charged, despite the criminal wrongdoing committed by a MilliporeSigma employee.

BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, and Volkswagen all rely on suppliers banned for using Uyghur forced labor, according to a report issued by the Senate Finance Committee. Interviews and documents obtained by committee staff show that Bourns, Inc., a California-based auto supplier, had sourced components from Sichuan Jingweida Technology Group, a company added to the UFLPA Entity List in December 2023, and whose goods are presumed to be made with forced labor.

After deftly avoiding the sanctions levied in the past on US Defense contractors by Beijing for their transactions with Taipei,  Boeing’s Defense, Space & Security unit has been placed on the Ministry of Commerce's “unreliable entities list" (UEL). In April MofCom sanctioned dronemaker General Atomics and General Dynamics Land Systems, while the announcement omitted Boeing, the maker of Taipei's Harpoon anti-ship misssile system.  The May 20 announcement reiterates the April actions, adding Boeing.

With the enforcement function of the World Trade Organization having been broken amidst escalating trade tensions, the new facilitator for overseeing the reform of the fractured dispute settlement system has her task cut out, particularly in restoring a binding Appeal/Review mechanism that provides legal certainty in resolving global trade disputes, said people familiar with the development.

The Justice Department announced a series of coordinated actions to disrupt the illicit revenue generation efforts North Korean information Technology workers, while the State Department announced a $5 million reward to help shut down the schemes.

In response to Ankara's suspension of trade with Israel,The US Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has issued an antiboycott advisory on Turkey. U.S. companies operating in Türkiye, in particular, are cautioned to be alert to their receipt of any requests to refrain from importing or exporting goods to or from Israel or to provide certification that the goods are not of Israeli origin or do not contain Israeli-origin components or materials. 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the addition of 26 textile companies based in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) Entity List.

May 16, the Administration announced new actions to protect American solar manufacturing from Chinese competition, including removing the bifacial module exclusion under Section 201, announcing the end of the 24 month "bridge," permitting duty free imports from ASEAN suppliers, and enhanced monitoring of trade flows.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has seen explosive caseload in recent years, though a performance audit finds the committee organization and management has struggled to keep up, according to a report released  by the General Accounting Office (GAO).

Wednesday the White House took bold actions to shore up the president's standing with the rapidly shrinking pool of  voters in American steel manufacturing and shipbuilding.   "I’m proud to be the most pro-union president in American history, for real,"he told an audience in Pittsburgh.  "Where I was raised, it ain’t labor; it’s unions,"     

The Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published an interim final rule significantly reducing licensing requirements for Australia and the United Kingdom (UK) to foster defense trade and technological innovation. BIS is removing Commerce Control List (CCL) license requirements to allow Commerce-controlled military items, missile technology-related items, and hot section engine-related items to be exported or reexported to Australia and the UK without a license.  Similar relaxation by the State Department on ITAR controlled technology can be expected "over the course of the next 120 days," according to a statement.

Effective April 18th, a new rule from BIS amends the EAR to impose new controls restricting Iran’s access to additional low-level technology, including items manufactured outside the United States that are produced using U.S. technology. The rule also expands the scope of the Russia/Belarus/Temporarily occupied Crimea region of Ukraine Foreign Direct Product (FDP) rule and the Iran FDP rule: the items in supplement no. 7 to part 746 will now include the entirety of the ‘Common High Priority List’ (CHPL).

Wednesday Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), introduced bipartisan legislation to bolster the Export Enforcement Coordination Center—an interagency hub for information sharing and coordination among the key agencies responsible for export control enforcement. At a hearing Thursday, officials from Commerce, Justice and Homeland Security were unanimous in their call for resources from Congress.

 The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis announced today that the goods and services deficit was $68.9 billion in February, up $1.3 billion from $67.6 billion in January, revised. February exports were $263.0 billion, $5.8 billion more than January exports. February imports were $331.9 billion, $7.1 billion more than January imports.

Export Administration is getting a new leadership framework, including the creation of Deputy Assistant Secretary roles for Strategic Trade and Technology Security, under the oversight of the newly elevated Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Matt Borman. The Changes involve dividing EA’s functions into two primary channels: Strategic Trade, focusing on licensing, outreach, and training, and Technology Security, which encompasses defense industrial base (DIB) responsibilities, analysis, and regulatory work.

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