1. Fewer Sanctions Means New Opportunities – and Risks

    The landscape of U.S. economic sanctions is undergoing significant change, write Christopher Swift and Gregory Husisian at law firm Foley & Lardner, bringing both opportunities and challenges to multinationals: 

    “The past two years have witnessed substantial changes in the scope and effect of U.S. economic sanctions. In most instances, such as Iran and Syria, the result has been more aggressive, comprehensive, and extraterritorial regulation. But in other cases, the trend was toward a calibrated easing of restraints in countries undergoing constructive social and political change. From empowering civil society groups in Burma to supporting the transitional government in Libya, the re-calibration of existing U.S. sanctions regimes presents companies with a distinct set of compliance challenges…

    The shift in U.S. policy toward Burma is a case in point. Encouraged by the Burmese government’s domestic reforms and successful parliamentary bye-elections, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced plans to ease restrictions on travel, investment, and other activities in Burma during an April 4, 2012 press conference. Canadian and European regulators suspended their own embargos just three weeks later, opening the Burmese market to Western investment for the first time in more than a decade. With leading business groups calling for change, the State and Treasury Department officials began untangling the complex web of statutes, executive orders, and regulations restricting U.S. trade with Burma…

    The result is a carefully calibrated easing of the sanctions aimed at empowering independent businesses and activists in Burma while incentivizing political reform. Yet the scope of the two licenses proved somewhat narrower than the easing steps announced by the European Union (EU) and Canadian government. Rather than temporarily suspending sanctions on a wholesale basis, the U.S. approach retains the sanctions (albeit in suspended form) while also strengthening a list-based sanctions regime designed to isolate Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) and other repressive elements within the Burmese government.”

    Read the full update, Eased Sanctions Present New Opportunities and Risks - Foley & Lardner LLP»