National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Amends Licensing of Private Remote Sensing Space Systems

SpacecraftOn May 20, 2020, the US Department of Commerce’s (Commerce) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published in the Federal Register a Final Rule and request for comments on new regulations on the licensing policy of private remote sensing space systems. The new Final Rule follows a proposed rule that Commerce published in the Federal Register on May 14, 2019 (84 FR 21282).  The new regulations overhaul the existing licensing regime (15 CFR part 960) and seek to increase transparency with respect to the licensing process for private remote sensing systems.  This Final Rule takes effect on July 20, 2020, unless, if at the end of congressional review the effective date has been changed, then Commerce will publish in the Federal Register a document establishing the actual effective date.  Additionally, Commerce will accept comments on the Final Rule until June 19, 2020. Continue Reading

Upcoming/New CFIUS Filing: Empower Retirement, Great-West Lifeco, Power Corp. of Canada and Personal Capital Corporation

Status:  Upcoming/New Filing

Acquirer:  Empower Retirement, LLC (US); Great-West Lifeco Inc. (Canada); Power Corporation of Canada (Canada)

Acquired:  Personal Capital Corporation (US)

Value:  US$825 million

Industry:  Financial Services

fintech icon on abstract financial technology background .Empower Retirement, LLC, a US subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco Inc., a publicly traded Canadian financial services holding company (TSX:GWO) that is majority owned by the publicly traded diversified holding company Power Corporation of Canada (TSX:POW), entered into an agreement to acquire Personal Capital Corporation, an online based financial advisor headquartered in California, for a purchase price of US$825 million, plus the potential for an additional US$175 million subject to achievement of target growth objectives.  (See Press Release, Great-West Lifeco subsidiary Empower Retirement announces agreement to acquire Personal Capital, June 29, 2020; see also Our companies web page, Great-West LifeCo website, last visited June 29, 2020.)  “The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2020, subject to required regulatory approvals, including CFIUS review, and other customary closing conditions.” (Id.)

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Considerations for Post-COVID-19 Trade in the World of New Normal

The corona pandemic, the ongoing Brexit and the emerging dominance of China in global markets are among the issues that pose multifaceted challenges for international trade relations. At a time when new Free Trade Agreements are being negotiated, we would like to examine how international trade can be shaped in the “World of New Normal” and what goals individual players, especially the US, EU, UK and China, are pursuing in their trade talks. Continue Reading

EU Seeks Public Comments on Policies for Anti-money Laundering and Counter Financing Terrorism

Macro photo of tooth wheel mechanism with MONEY LAUNDERING letters imprinted on metal surfaceOn May 5, 2020, the European Commission published (i) the Communication of the Action Plan (AP) for a comprehensive EU policy on the prevention of money laundering and financing terrorism (AML/CFT); (ii) the Delegated Regulation updating the countries identified as high risk countries for AML/CFT; and (iii) the methodology for the identification of high risk third countries for AML/CFT.

The EU is strengthening its AML/CFT policies by tightening and adapting existing policies to the dangers, risks and weaknesses faced by the community, setting in the AP the objective of implementing a comprehensive policy to improve the financial system and protect EU entities and interests.

Along with the adoption of this document, the commission published a public consultation to involve citizens, businesses, public and private institutions, universities, service providers and any operator interested in participating in the development of comprehensive policies on AML/CFT in the EU. The consultation will be open until July 29 and can be accessed electronically here.

For a Spanish language version of this newsletter, see here.

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US Needs to Participate and Lead 5G Standards-setting; Huawei Gets a Pass

5G on digital screenOn June 18, 2020, the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published in the Federal Register, a new interim final rule that amends the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) (15 CFR Parts 730-774) by excluding from the additional licensing requirements imposed by the designations of Huawei organization on the Entity List releases of technology related to establishing standards for 5G applications. BIS states that it is revising the Entity List with this rule because of the importance of US participation and leadership in standards organizations. The new rule is effective as of publication in the Federal Register on June 18, 2020. Continue Reading

Accounting for CFIUS Regulatory Risk in Transactions Involving Property Rights at Airports and Maritime Ports

New rules went into effect on February 13, 2020, that implemented the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (FIRRMA), expanding the authority of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the US agency that reviews foreign investments in the US for potential national security concerns.

The new rules include CFIUS authority over certain transactions that involve property rights in airports or maritime ports. In this blog post, we summarize these new authorities relating to airports and maritime ports and provides insight into how investors and operators impacted by these authorities can account for CFIUS regulatory risks going forward. Continue Reading

Polish Government to Adopt Stricter Control Over Private Investments

Flag of the Republic of Poland

Like various other European Union member states, Poland has taken the first step to passage of a new act intended to screen foreign direct investments in Polish companies. The goal of the legislation is to protect Polish companies against take-over by non-EU/EEA investors.

This post is being published for The Trade Practitioner as part of a content partnership with our O-I-CEE! blog (Central and Eastern European legal news and views).

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Does Digital Service Tax Matter To You? New Section 301 Investigation – Comment Period Now Open

Iron bomb with word tax on grey wall background

On June 2, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it would be initiating new Section 301 investigations examining digital services taxes (DSTs) adopted or under consideration by Austria, Brazil, the Czech Republic, the European Union, India, Indonesia, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom.  USTR is requesting comments to inform their investigations into the various DSTs, and their impacts on US-based technology companies.  Stakeholders impacted by the DSTs should submit comments to help guide the USTR investigation, but companies engaged in bilateral goods trade must also prepare for potential retaliatory tariffs to follow. Comments are due by July 15.

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President Trump Takes Stance on China, Hong Kong – Takeaways From the Presidential Announcement

America and China ConfrontationOn Friday, May 29, President Trump announced several actions related to China and Hong Kong. The President’s delivered remarks and what was left unsaid were equally instructive. While we are still waiting on details for some of these actions, below is an overview of the President’s announcement. Continue Reading

US Department of Commerce Seeks Input on Section 232 (Steel and Aluminum) Exclusion Process

Large Aluminum Steel Rolls in the factory. Image taken in daylight with a Sony A7Rii (42 megapixels) and developed from raw.. This pictures were taken in Asas Aluminum Factory in Adapazari Turkey with a special permission together with property releaseOn May 26, 2020, the US Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced that it would accept comments from the public on the Section 232 exclusion process, including regarding factors considered by agency officials when rendering decisions on exclusion petitions, the efficiency and transparency of the current process, and potential revisions to the current process.  This comment window will provide members of the public with a direct opportunity to engage with agency officials on the exclusion process set up to support members of the public seeking relief from tariffs and quotas on covered steel and aluminum imports.

Companies involved in the global steel or aluminum supply chains should prepare to respond to BIS’ request for comments and provide feedback on these and other proposals to aid in the agency’s inquiry.  Comments must be submitted no later than July 10, 2020. 

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