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Latest Developments

Office of Chief Counsel for Industry and Security Helps BIS Secure $1.75 Million Enforcement Settlement

On May 24, 2012, the Office of Chief Counsel for Industry and Security (OCC/IS) assisted the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) in reaching a settlement agreement under which Ericsson de Panama, S.A. agreed to pay $1.75 million to address 262 violations of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).  BIS charged Ericsson de Panama with implementing a scheme to evade the EAR over a multi-year period, with regard to telecommunications equipment owned by the Cuban Government.  The equipment was shipped to Panama, where it was repackaged to conceal its Cuban markings, sent with falsified paperwork to the United States for repair or replacement, and then exported back to Cuba via transshipment through Panama.  The equipment involved is controlled under the EAR for national security, anti-terrorism, encryption, and sanctions reasons.  The settlement also requires an external audit of all 2012 transactions involving items subject to the EAR that are exported or re-exported to Cuban customers by Ericsson de Panama or any of its corporate affiliates. 

This settlement represents the latest in BIS’s enforcement efforts to ensure the integrity of the export control system.  BIS plays an integral part in advancing the nation’s security, foreign policy, and economic interests, and investigations and settlements like this one uphold this vital mission.  OCC/IS represents and supports BIS in all administrative enforcement matters. 

Commercial Law Development Program Assists Egypt in Revitalizing Its Civil Service and Increasing Transparency

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The Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP), a component of the Office of the General Counsel, met with the Egyptian Government as part of continuing efforts to help Egypt foster transparency, integrity, and ethical conduct within its ministries. This critical work is part of the larger Administration-wide effort to achieve the objectives set out by the Obama Administration and the G8 under the Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition.

On May 15, 2012, Assistant General Counsel for Administration Barbara Fredericks, Deputy Chief of the Labor and Employment Law Division John Guenther, and CLDP Chief Counsel Stephen Gardner delivered an anti-corruption presentation focused on addressing government, business, and development issues.  The program was attended by representatives of the Egyptian government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the media, and the general public.  Ms. Fredericks and Mr. Guenther discussed various ways in which Egypt can revitalize its civil service and open the lines of communication between the government and its citizens.  This presentation built on previous CLDP work with the Egyptian Government to create pilot projects with the Egyptian Trademark Office and the Egyptian Customs Authority to review ethics standards and general codes of conduct and to share expertise in best management practices. 

CLDP will continue working closely with the Egyptian Government on these issues as Department of Commerce attorneys provide guidance on draft regulations, deliver training to civil servants throughout the country, and serve as counselors to senior Egyptian officials that are working to create more functional, dependable, and transparent government services.  The work will benefit both Egyptian and U.S. businesses by fostering a level playing field as well as promoting transparency and fair regulations.