Webinar: The REPO Act – Political and Legal Impacts for International Businesses

Congress recently passed the Rebuilding Prosperity and Opportunity for Ukrainians (“REPO”) Act, bipartisan legislation authorizing the Administration to seize billions of dollars in Russian sovereign assets to fund Ukraine reconstruction and aid.
The legislation raises issues that could have political and legal consequences – for companies and individuals.

Join members of the firm’s Policy and Government Investigations teams on May 7 for a webinar covering:  

What does the REPO Act say?

  • How did Congress reach bipartisan consensus to pass it?
  • Will the REPO Act survive US court challenges?
  • How will the Biden Administration use this new authority?
  • How will Europe treat Russia’s frozen assets?
  • Will Russia retaliate, and in what form?
  • How can US, European and International businesses protect themselves against retaliation?

Additional details and registration: The Repo Act: Political and Legal Impacts for International Businesses | Events | Insights & Events | Squire Patton Boggs

Panelists

Ambassador Paul Jones

Tom Firestone

Keith Bradley

Ludmilla L. Kasulke

New CFIUS Rules to Enhance Enforcement and Investigation Activities

On April 11, 2024, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a multi-agency committee administered by the U.S. Treasury Department, released a proposed rule (“Proposed Rule”) to amend the CFIUS regulations.[1]  The Proposed Rule seeks “to enhance the Committee’s identification and resolution of national security risks” by expanding the scope of information that CFIUS can seek from parties and its ability to compel production of such information.  As summarized below, the proposed authorities will bolster CFIUS’s ability to monitor and investigate non-notified transactions as well as potential violations of mitigation obligations, including by increasing financial penalty exposure to parties and streamlining CFIUS’s ability to issue subpoenas.  Comments to the Proposed Rule will be due within 30 days of publication in the Federal Register, which is expected in the coming days. 

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Biden Budget Proposal Advances AI Priorities

On March 11, 2024, US President Joe Biden released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 budget request, which included proposals on U.S. Artificial Intelligence (AI) development and efforts to implement the Biden Administration’s Executive Order (EO) on AI. The budget identifies the National Science Foundation (NSF) as central to U.S. leadership in AI, requesting $10.2 billion in funding for the agency. $2 billion of that total would be dedicated to research and development (R&D) in accordance with CHIPS Act priorities, including AI, and $30 million would support the National AI Research Resource pilot program. The budget also requests $65 million for the Commerce Department “to safeguard, regulate, and promote AI, including protecting the American public against its societal risks.” This funding would include directing the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to establish the U.S. AI Safety Institute. The institute would be responsible for operationalizing “NIST’s AI Risk Management Framework by creating guidelines, tools, benchmarks, and best practices for evaluating and mitigating dangerous capabilities and conducting evaluations including red-teaming to identify and mitigate AI risk.” Further, the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, which is responsible for implementing aspects of both the CHIPS Act and the AI EO, would receive $8.6 billion under the President’s proposed budget.

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US ITC Launches Global Rice Trade Investigation

On March 1, 2024, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) officially announced the initiation of a new factfinding investigation into the global rice market. The investigation, titled “Rice: Global Competitiveness and Impacts on Trade and the U.S. Industry” (Investigation No. 332-603), was requested by US House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith (Republican-Missouri). For more information about Chair Smith’s request and the background and scope of the investigation please see our recent blog post.

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Navigating the Regulatory Maze: Hemp Industry Calls for Additional Federal Action

The hemp industry wants additional regulation. Yes, you read that correctly, and stakeholders are coalescing to push for action from the federal government. The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill provided momentum for the retail cannabidiol (“CBD”) industry, and the lack of complete regulatory clarity from the federal government has led many in the industry to navigate a patchwork of state-specific laws.

The hemp industry is making its voice heard. On January 24, 2024, over 30 hemp organizations signed a letter urging the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to hold a hearing “concerning FDA regulation, or lack thereof, of the rapidly growing hemp market.” The industry is steadfast in calling for new regulations and policies.

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Beware the Ides of March: Four Questions and Answers to Guide Your Organization’s Preparation for the Upcoming Appropriations Process

Federal appropriations provide annual discretionary funding for our government to carry out its mission and, in turn, spur various organizations towards efficiencies and achievements. Whether you serve an entity interested in the government’s work in disease research or a nonprofit hospital requesting community project funding for infrastructure needs, it is important for those seeking funding provided through Congress’ annual appropriations cycle to understand the process and current legislative landscape.

This year more than most, the process is complex – with timelines that abut and potentially overlap. Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 began on October 1, 2023; in the absence of completed spending bills, government programs are currently being funded via a series of short-term stop-gap funding bills. Lawmakers are still negotiating FY 2024 funding levels, which will expire on September 30. FY 2025 begins on October 1, and the process for determining appropriations for the upcoming fiscal year will begin shortly. 

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Forced Labor Legal Developments in Europe: EU Council and Parliament Negotiate Final Text for Proposed Regulation

While many have focused in recent months on the US enforcement of the forced labor import ban (19 U.S.C. 1307) and the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) (Public Law No. 117-78), the EU is working on its own set of regulations prohibiting products made with forced labor from entering the EU market. A proposal for a regulation of general scope, presented in September 2022, is now reaching the last legislative phase. However, with limited time left before the EU elections, there is some risk of negotiations delaying until after fall 2024.

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US ITC to Investigate Global Rice Trade

In a February 5, 2024 letter to the US International Trade Commission (ITC), US House of Representatives Ways & Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (Republican-Missouri) requested that the ITC conduct a Section 332 investigation into the global rice market. The ITC will institute the investigation in the coming weeks, and it could be the first step toward future trade actions impacting trade in rice and related products.

The governments of principal rice producing and consuming nations, US rice producers, processors and exporters, corporations that are significant consumers of domestically produced or imported rice, and foreign rice producer organizations and governments would all be well advised to carefully monitor this investigation and engage in the process so they can help inform the ITC’s final report. 

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The End of “Chevron” or Its Rebirth?

Fishermen in the small town of Cape May, New Jersey, are at the epicenter of a legal challenge that could reshape the landscape of federal agency authority. The fishermen are challenging the entrenched “Chevron” doctrine, which for years has afforded deference to government agencies with respect to reasonable interpretation of ambiguous statutes. The US Supreme Court’s decision could change how industry engages Congress and fundamentally alter how businesses navigate an array of regulations spanning environmental, labor and other domains.

Read our analysis here.

President Biden Prepares Executive Order to Prohibit Foreign Adversaries’ Access to US Data

According to reports originally from Bloomberg News, President Joe Biden is preparing to issue an executive order (EO) aimed at prohibiting US adversaries from accessing US personal data. While the draft is subject to change, the draft EO reportedly targets “highly sensitive” data, including genetic and location information, and would bar foreign adversaries from obtaining this data through legal means such as intermediaries, data brokers, third-party vendors, employment agreements, or investment agreements. Further, the EO would reportedly require that entities owned, controlled, or operated by countries of concern turn over data to the US government when requested. Significantly, the draft EO would restrict US entities and individuals from conducting data transactions that would provide adversarial countries with government-related or sensitive personal data, in addition to data that could jeopardize US national security. 

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Webinar: The New Foreign Extortion Prevention Act – What It Means for US Companies

Please join us on Tuesday, January 30 for a discussion about “the most consequential anti-foreign-bribery law passed in almost 50 years”: the Foreign Extortion Prevention Act (FEPA).

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Charting the Course: Congress Progresses Towards Meaningful Action on AI

This year, Congress is steadily progressing towards enacting meaningful legislation on artificial intelligence (AI) for the first time. At the end of 2023, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and his “Gang of Four” (Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Mike Rounds (R-SD)) concluded their AI Insight Forums, a series of sessions where lawmakers discussed AI technology with industry leaders. Leader Schumer announced that senators are now beginning to work on AI legislation. He has reportedly empowered various Senate committee chairs to introduce legislation on topics within their jurisdiction related to AI and to begin the process of shaping those bills through their respective committees. For instance, it was reported by FedScoop that Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) is preparing to introduce a series of bills addressing AI issues, including deepfakes, jobs and training, algorithmic bias, digital privacy, national security, and innovation and competitiveness in the coming weeks and months. The initial focus of legislation may revolve around the clearest dangers posed by AI, including deepfakes and national security. Additionally, there is a growing interest in Congress regarding AI’s impact on elections, considering 2024 is an election year.

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Winter Work: Congressional Action Items During This Election Year

A new year means a new congressional session – yet our lawmakers are carrying over policy debates that did not conclude in consensus prior to their holiday recess. The House of Representatives and Senate will consider critical government funding legislation, deadline-driven authorizing bills, and other potential reforms, but agreement will need to be found between members of the same party, between Democrats and Republicans, between the two chambers, and between Congress and the White House. With the shadow of the ballot box growing darker by the day, we take a high-level look at what our legislative branch may undertake prior to election day in November.

Read full insight here.

Sustainability First, Antitrust Second? – The EU Commission’s New Rules on Agriculture Cooperations

Sustainability considerations, i.e., ensuring animal welfare and tackling food waste, climate change, pollution, exploitation of natural resources and human rights violations, have taken a stake in the Commission’s rule book. Not only is the Commission increasingly integrating these considerations into its merger case practice[1], e.g., when assessing the market definition and the competitive landscape. The Commission has also dedicated legislative efforts.

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Biden Administration Finalizes Greenhouse Gas Target Rule that is Likely to Draw Challenges

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently released a prepublication version of its final rule establishing a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions measure.  The final rule establishes a method for measurement of GHG emissions associated with transportation and requires state departments of transportation (State DOTs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) that have National Highway System (NHS) routes within their jurisdiction to establish targets for reducing GHG emissions from on-road sources and to report on their efforts to meet those targets. The rule will take effect thirty days after the date of its publication in the Federal Register. State DOTs are required to establish targets and report those targets by February 1, 2024. Subsequent targets would be established and reported by no later than October 1, 2026.  

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