On June 5 2017, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain effectively cut ties with the Gulf state of Qatar based on an allegation that Qatar has been supporting terrorist organizations and the Iranian regime. Among other sanctions, these three countries have adopted a boycott of trade through Qatari ports, a travel ban imposed on Qatari citizens, and a ban on Qatari aircraft from landing rights in the three countries. Under a highly byzantine and archaic section of the US Export Administration Regulations (i.e. Part 760.2 of the EAR) no U.S. person may refuse to do business with or in a boycotted country when such boycott is not recognized as legitimate by the United States government. The anti-boycott regulations were originally designed to ensure that US business does not adhere and further the foreign policies of other countries. The regulations were designed to specifically target and ensure non-compliance with the Arab boycott of Israel but the regulations apply to all non-US sanctioned boycotts worldwide. While the Department of Commerce has been silent on the applicability of the anti-boycott regulations with respect to the current boycott of Qatar, TSI Global Consulting has been and continues to advise our clients, especially those with business interests in the Middle East, to be extra vigilant in assessing trade documents as well as other verbal or written requests for information that may be used to support the boycott of Qatar. We are suggesting that our clients adopt a policy of non-compliance and non-response to any such requests if you feel such requests may even remotely be made to foster support of the Qatar sanctions. Many requests for compliance with the embargo, even if not responded to or complied with, require the filing of a report to the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security. Non-filing is a violation of the EAR punishable by potential fines and penalties. In the event your company receives any request that targets your business interests in/with Qatar and/or encourages you to refrain from doing business with entities in or from Qatar, please contact our office for clarification on BIS reporting requirements and if/how you should respond to such requests prior to providing oral or written comment to your business partner(s).
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