C4ISRNET: Congress May Tighten Scrutiny of U.S. Investment in Foreign Technologies

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C4ISRNET, September 1, 2022

Justin A. Chiarodo and Anthony Rapa ●

Building on recent national security initiatives to shore up the protection of U.S. critical assets from strategic adversaries (notably including China and Russia), Congress is considering new government powers to review outbound U.S. investments in certain high-technology sectors.

Inbound foreign investments in key sectors are reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). However, screening of outbound investments – a so-called “reverse CFIUS” – would be new, and could significantly impact industries ranging from aerospace and defense to fintech to pharmaceuticals.

How did we get here?

The last several years have witnessed an accelerated national security pivot from the twenty-year global war on terror to strategic competition with major state adversaries. Unclassified assessments of the U.S. national security posture reveal significant threats in domains ranging from artificial intelligence to hypersonic weapons to energy, many of which have been exacerbated by the theft of U.S. technology. The legislation proposing a “reverse CFIUS” review would seek to counter these threats by adding new controls to the flow of U.S. capital and intellectual property abroad.

The contemplated regime formally originated with the proposed National Critical Capabilities Defense Act (NCCDA), which passed the House of Representatives in February 2022 as part of the America COMPETES Act of 2022, H.R. 4521, a larger package focused on U.S. domestic semiconductor production and other aspects of U.S. competitiveness (certain elements of which, not including the NCCDA, eventually were signed into law as part of the CHIPS and Science Act in August 2022). Most notably, the NCCDA would create a Committee on National Critical Capabilities (the “Committee”), with authority to review – and block – covered outbound foreign investments.

You can read more on our website.

Westlaw Today: The ICTS Supply Chain Rules: Towards a U.S.-China Tech Decoupling?

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Westlaw Today, August 9, 2022

Anthony Rapa ●

A July 2022 report relayed the news that the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) is investigating the installation of Huawei equipment into cell towers situated near U.S. military bases and missile silos, based on concerns the equipment could hoover up sensitive data and transmit it to China.

The report indicates that Commerce is carrying out the investigation pursuant to its rules implementing Executive Order (EO) 13873 on “Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain” (the ICTS Rules).

What are the ICTS Rules, and how will they be enforced? The ICTS Rules empower Commerce to review — and as warranted, to mitigate, block, or unwind — dealings in information and communications technology and services (ICTS) that have a nexus with a designated “foreign adversary,” including China and Russia.

You can read more on our website.

Complying with the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act’s Strict Supply Chain Rules

Anthony Rapa, Matthew J. Thomas, and Patrick F. Collins 

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (“UFLPA” or “Act”), which took effect last month, ushers in a new era of supply chain diligence for importers. The Act creates a rebuttable presumption that any goods produced in whole or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (“XUAR”) of the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”), or by entities identified by the U.S. government on the UFLPA Entity List (“Entity List”), are presumed to be made with forced labor and thus are prohibited from entry into the United States under Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. § 1307). Notably, the presumption applies to downstream products that incorporate restricted goods, regardless of where the downstream products are made.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) is now authorized to detain and exclude and/or seize goods that it suspects were produced in the XUAR or by entities on the Entity List.

Importers whose supply chains have links to the XUAR and China should be aware of the implications of UFLPA enforcement, including with respect to due diligence considerations, supply chain tracing and management, and the evidence required to overcome the UFLPA’s rebuttable presumption. There is no grace period for enforcement.


President Biden signed the UFLPA into law on December 23, 2021. Effective on June 21, 2022, the UFLPA established a rebuttable presumption that the importation of any “goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part” in the XUAR, or produced by entities designated by the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (“FLETF”) as involved in specified XUAR-related activity, is prohibited by Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930, which prohibits the importation of items made from forced labor. The presumption applies unless CBP determines that the importer completely and substantively responded to all CBP inquiries, fully complied with FLETF’s guidance, and established by clear and convincing evidence that the goods were not produced using forced labor.

To read the full client alert, please visit our website

Law360: How Russia Sanctions Are Affecting Compliance

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Law360, May 25, 2022

Anthony Rapa and Matthew J. Thomas

The wide-ranging sanctions and export controls that the U.S. and its partners have imposed on Russia in recent months pose complex compliance challenges for parties operating across borders, even when there is not a direct or obvious nexus with Russia.

Notably, the U.S. rules include restrictions relating to dealings with sanctioned persons, exports to Russia of a broad range of items, certain services, banknotes, certain imports, and new investment. Furthermore, the annexed Crimea region of Ukraine is subject to a comprehensive U.S. embargo, as are the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, or DNR, and the Luhansk People’s Republic, or LNR.

This article provides practical guidance for compliance with such restrictions, which can affect commercial operations, investments, and processing of financial transactions.

You can read the full article on our website.

New York Law Journal: A Snapshot of Russia-Related Sanctions and Export Controls

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New York Law Journal, May 19, 2022

Anthony Rapa and Matthew J. Thomas

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the United States and its partners have imposed a web of complex economic sanctions and export controls targeting Russia. These restrictions have broadened and intensified over the course of the conflict, at times at a dizzying pace.

At this point, the United States has not yet imposed a comprehensive embargo on Russia akin to the sanctions on Iran, Cuba, Syria, or North Korea. Rather, the Russia sanctions mainly are aimed at specific individuals, companies, and other entities. In addition, there are U.S. restrictions on certain types of imports (including energy), exports (including a broad range of goods and certain services), and new investment. Accordingly, the Biden Administration has ample opportunity to further expand restrictions to ramp up the impact on Russia’s economy.

This article provides a snapshot of the U.S. measures currently in place. It should be noted that the situation remains fluid, and the applicable restrictions are subject to change.

You can read the full article on our website.

Leading International Trade & National Security Partner Anthony Rapa Joins Blank Rome in Washington, D.C.

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We are pleased to welcome leading international trade and national security attorney Anthony Rapa as a partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office where he will lead the firm’s National Security team. Working closely with the firm’s Aerospace, Defense and Government Services industry group, Anthony will counsel companies, private equity sponsors, and financial institutions on sanctions and export control-related matters in cross-border transactions, mergers and acquisitions, government investigations, and regulatory matters. A dual U.S./UK-qualified practitioner, he joins Blank Rome from Kirkland & Ellis where he was a partner.

“Anthony is a fantastic addition to Blank Rome and our aerospace, defense and government services industry team,” said Grant S. Palmer, Blank Rome’s Managing Partner and CEO. “He will play a key role in expanding our national security and international trade capabilities as well as helping our clients address critical issues in this multidisciplinary and evolving area. His deep knowledge of the sanctions and export control regimes in the United States, UK, and EU will greatly benefit our clients as we help them navigate the increasingly complex, fast-moving sanctions landscape.”

Read more about Anthony on our website.

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