American Trade & Manufacturing Blog

Usha Neelakantan

Usha Neelakantan

Usha Neelakantan represents clients in a range of international trade matters, including antidumping and countervailing duty investigations, export controls, and economic sanctions compliance programs. She also provides guidance on national security issues, including regulations promulgated by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

 
uneelakantan@wileyrein.com

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Easing Sanctions Against Russia? Congress Says Not So Fast, Mr. President

Posted in Economic Sanctions
Despite early rumors that President Trump would lift the Obama Administration’s economic sanctions against Russia, it might not be so quick or so easy, if Congress has its way.  Two pieces of legislation have been introduced in Congress, the first aimed at inhibiting the President’s ability to ease the current Russian sanctions regime and the… Continue Reading

Trump Administration Imposes Fresh Sanctions on Iran

Posted in Economic Sanctions
On February 3, 2017, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned more than two dozen individuals and entities related to Iran’s ballistic missile program and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Force (IRGC-QF).  The move comes amid escalating tensions between the Trump Administration and the Iranian government. The… Continue Reading

OFAC Targets Ukraine/Russia-Related Sanctions Evaders

Posted in Economic Sanctions
As part of its continued efforts to oppose Russia’s conduct in Ukraine and its occupation of Crimea, on September 1, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated 37 individuals and entities related to the conflict in Ukraine.  The new designations are, in part, intended to address attempts to circumvent… Continue Reading

Wiley Rein Releases In a Nutshell: What You Need to Know About the FCPA in 2015

Posted in FCPA
On February 29, Wiley Rein published its annual Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Year-in-Review article: In a Nutshell: What You Need to Know About the FCPA in 2015.  The article provides statistics on enforcement actions and penalties, an analysis of investigative trends and more, chronicling another busy year in FCPA enforcement.  Some of the points… Continue Reading

OFAC Further Eases Travel Restrictions to Cuba

Posted in Economic Sanctions
Following the United States government’s easing of sanctions against Cuba last year, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) loosened travel restrictions for U.S. persons.  At the beginning of last year, OFAC authorized 12 categories of travel (detailed here).  Effective January 27, 2016, OFAC has further eased travel restrictions within certain of those categories. Exportation,… Continue Reading

OFAC Eases Sanctions Against Iran, But Restrictions Remain in Place for U.S. Companies

Posted in Economic Sanctions
As most U.S. companies are aware, on January 16, 2016, “Implementation Day” of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the United States lifted several prohibitions on doing business with Iran. These include the removal of secondary sanctions against non-U.S. companies and the lifting of restrictions on foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies doing business with… Continue Reading

Iran Sanctions Relief and Uncertainty Under the JCPOA

Posted in Economic Sanctions
On July 14, 2015, Iran, the United States, the United Kingdom, China, France, Russia, and Germany finalized a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) intended to restrict Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for easing international sanctions against the country.  While the text of the JCPOA provides a relatively detailed framework for the implementation of the… Continue Reading

OFAC Issues Guidance on Travel to and from Cuba

Posted in Economic Sanctions
Following the United States’ recent easing of sanctions against Cuba, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has released additional guidance on travel between the two countries. The guidance is particularly relevant to companies authorized to provide carrier services via aircraft or commercial passenger vessels. According to the guidance, the following individuals may be transported… Continue Reading

Epsilon Files Suit in Rare Challenge to OFAC Penalty Assessment

Posted in Economic Sanctions
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is facing a rare judicial challenge to its authority to impose penalties for violations of U.S. sanctions programs.  The plaintiff, Epsilon Electronics, Inc. (“Epsilon”), is a family-owned California wholesaler of automotive sound and video systems.  Last summer, OFAC hit the company with a civil penalty of more than… Continue Reading

CFIUS Considers Changes to Review Process

Posted in CFIUS, National Security
Reports indicate that in the wake of an order from the D.C. Circuit, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is considering changes to its review process for transactions involving foreign investment in the United States. Last year, CFIUS was ordered to disclose unclassified information on which it based a recommendation to… Continue Reading

OFAC Eases Restrictions on Travel to Cuba

Posted in Economic Sanctions
On January 16, 2015, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control significantly eased restrictions on travel to and from Cuba, as well as transactions normally incident to such travel. While tourist travel to Cuba remains prohibited, travel and transactions for a variety of other purposes will now be permitted: Family visits:  In… Continue Reading

OFAC Expands North Korean Sanctions

Posted in Economic Sanctions
On January 2, 2015, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) blocked the property and interests in property of several North Korean entities and representatives operating outside North Korea.  The designations followed the issuance of an Executive Order that authorized sanctions against the government of North Korea and the Worker’s… Continue Reading

Judge Orders CFIUS to Disclose Unclassified Information to Ralls

Posted in CFIUS, National Security
Late in 2012, President Obama blocked Ralls Corporation’s (“Ralls”) acquisition of four Oregon wind farm companies, based on the recommendations of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).  Ralls, whose owners hold senior management positions within the Chinese company, Sany Group, was given 90 days to divest all interest in the wind… Continue Reading

Expanded CFIUS Review Under the DeLauro Bill?

Posted in CFIUS, National Security
2014 continues to be an eventful year for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). On September 18, 2014, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro has introduced legislation that has the potential to significantly enlarge the Committee’s mandate. Currently, CFIUS reviews foreign acquisitions, mergers, and takeovers of U.S. businesses that raise national security concerns.  The… Continue Reading
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