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Trade Sanctions Against Iran to be Re-Imposed - Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP

On May 8, 2018, the President announced that the United States is withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and he signed a Presidential Memorandum directing that all trade sanctions against Iran that were lifted or waived under the JCPOA shall be re-imposed as soon as possible.

In conjuncture with the President’s announcement, OFAC has posted initial guidance that includes a timetable for enforcing the restored trade sanctions. While certain waivers granting sanction relief that were in place under the JCPOA have now been revoked, the Departments of State and Treasury are establishing two “wind-down” periods to allow parties to wind-down any business activities involving Iran that will become fully prohibited and subject to enforcement at the end of each wind-down period. The two wind-down periods are for 90-days and a 180-days. By November 5, 2018, all sanctions that were lifted under the JCPOA will be restored and in full effect.

The sanctions of greatest significance to U.S. importers and exporters (and to their foreign subsidiaries) will be fully restored and enforced according to the following schedule:

90 Day Wind-Down Period Ending on August 6, 2018

• Sanctions on Iran’s trade in gold or precious metals;

• Sanctions on the direct or indirect sale, supply, or transfer to or from Iran of graphite, raw, or semi-finished metals such as aluminum and steel, coal, and software for integrating industrial processes;

• Sanctions on Iran’s automotive sector;

• Revocation of the authorization of the importation into the United States of Iranian-origin carpets and foodstuffs; and

• Revocation of the authorization of export or re-export to Iran of commercial passenger aircraft and related parts and services.

180 Day Wind-Down Period Ending on November 4, 2018

• Sanctions on Iran’s port operators, and shipping and shipbuilding sectors;

• Sanctions on petroleum-related transactions including the purchase of petroleum, petroleum products, or petrochemical products from Iran;

• Sanctions on Iran’s energy sector;

• Revocation of the authorization for U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities to conduct trade with the Government of Iran or persons subject to the jurisdiction of the Government of Iran that were previously authorized pursuant to General License H; and

• Re-imposition of sanctions that applied to persons removed from the List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) and/or other lists maintained by the U.S. government on January 16, 2016.


OTEXA:  Announcements

05/08/2018 – The Office of the United States Trade Representative released the  2018 “Special 301” Report, reviewing global developments on trade and intellectual property and identifying trading partners with harmful records on protection, enforcement, or market access for U.S. innovators and creators.


CBP Agriculture Specialists at Arizona Ports Ensure Mother’s Day Flowers are Disease and Pest Free - U.S. Customs & Border Protection

Tucson, Ariz. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at Arizona’s ports of entry are busy this week making sure that importations of Mother’s Day flowers are free from insects, pests and diseases that could harm the agricultural and floral industries of the United States. The U.S. Mother’s Day observance is this Sunday, May 13th.

“The Mother’s Day period is a time when our CBP agriculture specialists see an increase in the number of floral arrangements arriving at local area ports,” said Tracy Filippi, Supervisory Agriculture Program Manager for the Tucson Field Office. “CBP agriculture specialists work constantly to ensure that the flowers or plants they will see are free from insects, pests and/or disease.”

CBP strongly encourages the public to consult the CBP website before they import floral arrangements so they know which flowers are permissible and which are prohibited or restricted. CBP suggests those who plan to import flowers and plants from Mexico to advise their florist that the arrangements are destined for U.S. delivery. Some flowers and plant materials commonly found in floral arrangements at southwest border ports of entry are prohibited. Those include chrysanthemums and choysia (and other greenery fillers) due to pest risk.

While a relatively small number of harmful pests are found among the millions of stems inspected by CBP, a single dangerous pest could cause millions of dollars of damage to our nation’s crops.

CBP recommends that people who wish to import flowers, plant materials, and other agriculturalitems consult the CBP Info Center section on the CBP website before they travel.

https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/1283/kw/Flowers%2C%20bring%20flowers%20into%20the%20United%20States

They should also declare all items acquired abroad to CBP officers to avoid civil or criminal penalties and reduce the risk of introducing pest and disease to the U.S.

Traditionally, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and the Easter holiday weekend are times when CBP agriculture specialists are very busy inspecting floral arrangements. At international ports of entry, land borders, and international mail facilities, CBP agriculture specialists are the front line in the fight against the introduction of insects, pests and diseases into the United States.


FDA: Menu Labeling Requirements - Food & Drug Administration

May 7, 2018 is the compliance date for the menu labeling final rule. On this date, consumers will have access to calorie and nutrition information in certain chain establishments covered by the rule. The menu labeling requirements apply to restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations. In addition, they must be doing business under the same name and offering for sale substantially the same menu items.

Covered establishments must disclose the number of calories contained in standard items on menus and menu boards. For self-service foods and foods on display, calories must be listed in close proximity and clearly associated with the standard menu item. Businesses must also provide, upon request, the following written nutrition information for standard menu items: total calories; total fat; saturated fat; trans fat; cholesterol; sodium; total carbohydrates; sugars; fiber; and protein. In addition, two statements must be displayed—one indicating this written information is available upon request, and the other about daily calorie intake, indicating that 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice, but calorie needs vary.

FDA has issued a final supplemental guidance for industry that addresses public and stakeholder comments and expands upon the draft version issued in November 2017 by providing further clarity on the FDA's practical and flexible approach to several components of the final rule.

During the first year of implementation, the FDA will work cooperatively with covered establishments to achieve high levels of compliance with the menu labeling requirements.

Final Rule Information

Menu Labeling Final Rule: Food Labeling; Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Restaurants and Similar Retail Food Establishments (published December 1, 2014) - Applies to restaurants and similar retail food establishments if they are part of a chain of 20 or more locations, doing business under the same name, offering for sale substantially the same menu items and offering for sale restaurant-type foods.


In the News:  -

Along with being permanently banned from timeshare resale services and telemarketing, the Florida-based operators behind a deceptive timeshare resale scheme have agreed to surrender approximately $3.4 million worth of assets including homes, vehicles, a Rolex watch, silver coins, and a diamond ring to settle the Federal Trade Commission’s charges against them.

The principals behind the operation and their company, Pro Timeshare Resales, LLC, also are prohibited from making a range of misrepresentations during the sale of any other goods or services, are barred from collecting on outstanding customer accounts, and are prohibited from misusing the consumer information they’ve collected.

According to the FTC’s complaint, between November 2011 and December 2016 the defendants called timeshare property owners, falsely claiming that they had a buyer or renter ready and willing to buy or rent their properties for a specified price, or making false promises to sell the timeshares quickly, sometimes within a specified time period.

The defendants charged property owners up to $2,500 in advance but failed to deliver on their promises, the FTC alleged. The FTC noted in the complaint that the defendants strung some timeshare owners along with additional false claims, such as that they would soon receive money from a sale or rental, and often convinced them to pay for additional purported closing costs or other fees. Consumers’ requests for refunds were typically denied or ignored, according to the complaint.

After filing the lawsuit in December 2016, FTC staff obtained a temporary restraining order and, later, a stipulated preliminary injunction in the case. Through these orders the court halted the operation, froze the defendants’ assets, and appointed a receiver to oversee those assets, among other things.

The court order settling the FTC’s charges will ensure that the defendants do not engage in illegal conduct similar to what was alleged in the complaint. First, it permanently bans the defendants from marketing or selling timeshare resale services, or from assisting anyone else to do so. Next, it bans them from participating in telemarketing, either directly or through an intermediary.

The order prohibits the defendants from misrepresenting any material fact regarding the sale of any other goods or services, including making deceptive claims regarding the total cost of a good or service, the terms of a refund policy, or a product’s performance or efficacy.

The order also prohibits the defendants from collecting money from consumers who bought their timeshare resale services, and it prohibits them from selling or otherwise benefitting from the customer information they collected from consumers.

Finally, the order imposes an $18.7 million judgment against the defendants, which will be suspended once they have surrendered assets totaling approximately $3.4 million to the Commission. These assets include $1.84 million in cash currently held by the court-appointed receiver, real property worth approximately $600,000 owned by defendant Jess Kinmont, along with his Range Rover, Ferrari, Bayliner boat, and a Rolex watch.

Defendant John P. Wenz will surrender, among other things, $215,000 in brokerage and bank accounts, two homes, two trucks, silver coins, and a diamond ring. The defendants also are subject to standard monitoring and compliance provisions.

The Commission vote approving the stipulated final order was 2-0. The FTC filed the proposed order in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division, and it has now been signed by the judge. The order settles the FTC’s charges against defendants Jess Kinmont; John P. Wenz, Jr.; Pro Timeshare Resales of Flagler Beach LLC; Pro Timeshare Resales, LLC; and J. William Enterprises, LLC, doing business as Pro Timeshare Resales.

The FTC thanks the Florida Attorney General’s Office, the Florida Department of Agricultural & Consumer Services, and the Better Business Bureau of Central Florida for their contributions to this case.

NOTE: Stipulated final orders or injunctions, etc. have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.


Key Countries Meet to Further Strengthen Measures to Tackle Ivory Trafficking - CITES

Geneva / Maputo, 7 May 2018- Over 60 representatives from 24 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, and from intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, met in Maputo, Mozambique, from 1 to 4 May 2018, to discuss the development and implementation of National Ivory Action Plans (NIAPs)
 
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