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While addressing the attendees at the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Update Conference on June 30, Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement Matthew S. Axelrod announced four enforcement policy changes that take effect immediately. The changes “are designed to enhance our administrative enforcement program and to help make it as effective as possible” Axelrod said, adding that it is important for administrative penalties “have bite and, therefore, important deterrent effect.”
The four changes announced are:
  • Imposing significantly higher penalties by applying the existing settlement guidelines “aggressively and uniformly” to appropriately designate cases as “egregious.” BIS will also apply aggravating penalty factors more uniformly to increase the penalty amount, as appropriate. This is intended to create a “strong disincentive” for those seeking to circumvent U.S. export controls, and “level playing field for those who invest in a strong compliance program.”
  • Resolving existing administrative cases for less serious violations with non-monetary resolutions such as imposing a suspended denial order with training and compliance requirements.
  • Removing “No Admit, No Deny” settlements where companies or individuals resolve allegations against them but do not admit their conduct.
  • Expediting the processing of Voluntary Self-Disclosures (VSDs) of minor infractions within 60 days and allowing its enforcement agents and attorneys to focus more resources on significant VSDs which will be assigned a BIS Special Agent and OCC attorney.
Axelrod’s June 30 address also announced the publication of the updated Don’t Let This Happen To You guidance document which provides examples of previous BIS enforcement cases, explanations of the BIS organization, and compliance and due diligence expectations.