US Blacklists 34 Entities, Including 14 Chinese Companies

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) added 34 entities to the Entity List for their involvement in, or risk of becoming involved in, activities contrary to the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States. Of these 34 entities, 14 are based in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and have enabled Beijing’s campaign of repression, mass detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and members of other Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Regions of China (XUAR), where the PRC continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. Commerce added another five entities directly supporting PRC’s military modernization programs related to lasers and C4ISR programs to the Entity List.

Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo issued the following statement: “The Department of Commerce remains firmly committed to taking strong, decisive action to target entities that are enabling human rights abuses in Xinjiang or that use U.S. technology to fuel China’s destabilizing military modernization efforts. We will continue to aggressively use export controls to hold governments, companies, and individuals accountable for attempting to access U.S.-origin items for subversive activities in countries like China, Iran, and Russia that threaten U.S. national security interests and are inconsistent with our values.”

As part of this package, Commerce added eight entities for facilitating the export of U.S. items to Iran in violation of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) or to entities on the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control Specially-Designated Nationals List. Commerce added another six entities for their involvement in the procurement of U.S.-origin electronic components, likely in furtherance of Russian military programs. Additionally, Commerce added one entity to the Military End-User List under the destination of Russia. Finally, Commerce removed one entity from the Unverified List, as a conforming change to this same entity being added to the Entity List for being involved in proliferation to unsafeguarded nuclear activities.

The Entity List is a tool utilized by BIS to restrict the export, reexport, and transfer (in-country) of items subject to the EAR to persons (individuals, organizations, companies) reasonably believed to be involved, or to pose a significant risk of becoming involved, in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. Additional license requirements apply to exports, re-exports, and transfers (in-country) of items subject to the EAR to listed entities, and the availability of most license exceptions is limited.

U.S. Department of Commerce Releases Enhanced Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis System

Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the adoption of a final rule modernizing the Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) system. Commerce also announced plans to unveil a new online platform for SIMA on Commerce’s website in October.

“These significant improvements to SIMA will enable Commerce and the public to more readily identify transshipment and circumvention involving steel imports,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This is one more way the Trump Administration is standing up for our workers and families across the country who depend on a strong American steel industry.”

The regulatory changes adopted by today’s final rule will: (1) require steel import license applicants to identify not only the country of origin, but also the country where steel used in the manufacture of the imported product was melted and poured, as defined in the final rule; (2) expand the scope of steel products subject to the import licensing requirement to include all products subject to Section 232 tariffs; (3) extend the SIMA system indefinitely; and (4) codify the existing low-value license requirement for certain steel entries up to $5,000. Commerce received public comments on these regulatory changes, as published in a March 2020 proposed rule.

The new online platform for SIMA to be released on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, represents the first major overhaul of the system since it was last updated in 2005. The updated SIMA will offer free, modern data analytic tools to the public for performing detailed, customized data analysis. These tools will aid in the identification of changing trade patterns and surges in U.S. imports of steel products, as well as potential circumvention and evasion.

Commerce will hold a series of webinars for users to become familiar with the updated SIMA system. The webinars will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. For specific dates and times of the demonstrations, and for information about participating, please visit https://www.trade.gov/updates-steel-import-licensing.

The updates to SIMA are consistent with the May 17, 2019 joint understandings between the United States and Canada, and the United States and Mexico, which provided that in monitoring for steel import surges, the United States may treat products made with steel that is melted and poured in North America separately from products that are not.

SIMA is administered by Commerce’s Enforcement and Compliance unit within the International Trade Administration, which is responsible for vigorously enforcing U.S. trade laws.