International Business

Warning to Employers When Staffing Special Projects

Quality control certification, checked guarantee of standard.

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By Susan Kohn Ross and Frida P. Glucoft

There are many ways employers may run afoul of the anti-discrimination provisions in U.S. immigration law. As a very clear starting point, the general rule for a long time has been and remains an employer may not make hiring, firing, or recruitment / referral decisions based on a worker’s citizenship status. However, there are notable exceptions and the one relevant here relates to controlled goods.

For these purposes, the definition of controlled goods includes their documentation – typically referred to as technical data – and means those goods which are subject to either the International Traffic in Arms (ITAR) or Export Administration Regulations (EAR) laws and regulations. ITAR is the export license restrictions which regulate military and defense articles, whereas BIS controls other higher tech exports which are subject to export license restrictions. As part of their regulatory regimes, both agencies (and some others of more limited scope) regulate when and how non-U.S. persons may gain access to either the actual good, the technical data or both, and require some form of notice to and pre-approval by the agency. (more…)

OFAC Brings the Hammer

Logistics and transportation of Container Cargo ship and Cargo plane with working crane bridge in shipyard at sunrise, logistic import export and transport industry background

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By Susan Kohn Ross

In March, there was a good deal of consternation in the general press trying to understand news that President Trump had overruled the actions of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) to impose additional sanctions on North Korea. Beside the oddity of a President overruling actions by a part of the Executive branch after they had been taken, it remains a mystery what the President was seeking to overrule. Not being deterred, OFAC marched on, and in so doing, it provided multiple examples again how compliance programs need to not be just written, but also followed and enforced, and cost at least one American company $1,869,144 plus significant compliance upgrade costs. (more…)

CA Consumer Privacy Act Gets a Rewrite

Cybersecurity of network of connected devices and personal data security

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By Susan Kohn Ross

When the law was signed by then Governor Brown (see our prior Alert here), the expectation was that Attorney General Becerra would issue the enabling regulations by July of this year, which would allow a phase-in period. Then by January 1, 2020, the requirements would be clear and companies would be able to properly formulate and implement their compliance policies. Regretfully, things are not going as expected.

First, in accordance with the law, General Becerra organized a series of public meetings: (more…)

CA IoT Law: Devices at Risk?

Men dress up lifestyle hold smartphone screen shows the key in the Security online world. the display and technology advances in communications. The concept of advancement in living in the future.

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By Susan Kohn Ross

In the last week, both the Dept. of Homeland Security and the Food and Drug Administration have issued a consumer alert about the potential hacking risk regarding cardiac devices, specifically because those devices have no encryption on their software. The devices in question are implantable cardiac devices, clinic programmers and home monitors which are used to regulate one’s heartbeat rate – to speed it up or slow it down, as needed. The focus this time is on the Medtronic Conexus Radio Frequency Telemetry Protocol. Given this latest notice, one has to wonder what will be the impact of the California IoT law.

What both federal agencies had to say is short range access allows interference with, generation, modification or interception of communications. There is also the ability to read/write any valid memory location on the implanted device and, therefore, impact its intended functionality. (more…)

No Further Shutdown; List 3 Exclusion Process Coming

USA and Chinese flags on mountain signpost.

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By Susan Kohn Ross

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 was signed into law on Friday, February 15, 2019, so the potential for another shutdown was averted, but there was a hidden gem buried in a related document. This new law contains a specific appropriation for the U.S. Trade Representative’s office which reads: “For necessary expenses of the Office of the United States Trade Representative, … $53,000,000, …” (more…)

Website Accessibility – Americans with Disabilities Act Impact

hands of business person working on computerBy Jonathan Turner and Susan Kohn Ross

Background

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) mandates that public accommodation must be provided to disabled persons to allow for the “full and equal enjoyment” of the related privileges, goods, services, advantages and accommodations as those provided to able bodied persons. The owner of any business is responsible for making sure those accommodations are made with “reasonable modification.” The ADA makes it very clear that a business that does not provide for that accommodation is engaging in unlawful discrimination 42 U.S.C. section 12182(b)(2)(A)(iii).

The statute provides for various examples of where public accommodations must be provided, including locations such as an inn, a restaurant, a theater, an auditorium, a bakery, a laundromat, a depot, a museum, a zoo, a nursery, a day care center, and a gymnasium. Noticeably absent from that list are websites. That’s because websites did not exist at the time the statute was passed, and Congress has not expressly addressed the issue in the interim. (more…)

Customers Now Jointly Liable with Port Trucking Companies for Certain Labor Violations

Truck in port

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By Susan Kohn Ross

One of the bills signed into law by California Governor Edmund G. Brown from the most recent legislative session aims to hold customers accountable when hiring trucking companies that have a record of Labor Code violations. Under SB 1402, customers who utilize trucking companies to deliver goods from California’s ports may be held jointly and severally liable for certain Labor Code violations committed by those trucking companies. Here is the explanation for the need for this new law: “Holding customers of trucking companies jointly liable for future labor law violations by port drayage motor carriers who they engage, where the customer has received advance notice of their record of unsatisfied judgments for labor law violations, will exert pressure across the supply chain to protect drayage drivers from further exploitation.” And “Customers have the market power to exert meaningful change in the port drayage industry that has eluded California drivers for more than a decade.” (more…)

China Tariffs – List 3 Finalized and Taking Effect

Economic trade war between USA and China

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In this video blog, MSK Partner & International Trade Practice Chair Susan Kohn Ross covers the latest developments with the 301 tariffs. 

At the end of the day on September 17, 2018, the U.S. Trade Representative issued notice that List 3 of the China tariffs has been finalized and takes effect with a 10% tariff on September 24, 2018. If “sufficient” progress is not made with the Chinese as defined by the Trump Administration, that tariff rate will rise to 25% on January 1, 2019. List 3 is the list containing products worth $200 billion.

The USTR announcement can be found here. The original list of products was 6,031. The final list was reduced to 5,745 and can be found here.

To no one’s surprise, the Chinese immediately announced their own retaliatory action and those details can be found here. (more…)

China 301 List 2 – Effective August 23, 2018

USA and Chinese flags on mountain signpost.

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By Susan Kohn Ross

USTR Lighthizer yesterday published notice that the 25% tariff on goods appearing on List 2 will become effective on August 23, 2018. For those who wonder if filing comments makes a difference, the answer is yes! In his announcement, USTR Lighthizer made the point the list dropped from 284 to 279 tariff items based on testimony and comments which had been received. None of this, of course, helps those companies which are taking a serious financial hit from these tariffs, but then once the official notice is published in the Federal Register, an exclusion request will be included, and so companies should be gearing up to do two things: (more…)