Archive for the ‘Germany’ Category

New EU Trade SPV to Keep Iran Afloat After US JCPOA Withdrawal


By: Danielle Hatch

Recently France, Germany and Britain have started working on a new channel (Special Purpose Vehicle) for non-dollar trade with Iran to avoid the newly re-imposed US sanctions on the country. Last year the United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which had offered relief from US sanction on Iran for companies. Once the US left the JCPOA they began to the re-impose the trade sanctions on Iran, not only impacting US entities but also causing secondary sanctions for European entities to deal with, especially if they wanted to continue trade with Iran.

The goal of the re-imposed US sanctions is to encourage Europeans to stop business with Iran because of the threat of losing US business. This is puts European entities in a bit of a pickle because they would prefer to keep JCPOA up and running, without the US. They are working hard to make the deal work after Iran threatened to leave the JCPOA if they are unable to keep receiving economic benefits for their part in the deal. The goal of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) is to help match Iranian oil and gas exports against purchases of EU goods, the problem is, that it won’t realistically be used for large trade transactions that Iran wants to see. It’s more likely be used for small trade such as humanitarian products or food. A European diplomat explained, “It won’t change things dramatically, but it’s an important political message to Iran to show that we are determined to save JCPOA and also to the United States to show we defend our interests despite their extraterritorial sanctions.”

“We do not expect the SPV will in any way impact our maximum economic pressure campaign,” a US State Department spokeswoman said. “The United States questions the efficacy of the SPV and remains committed to fully enforcing its sanctions,” another senior Trump administration offered.

Unfortunately, as the SPV is still months away from being operational, relations between the European Union and Iran have been strained. The EU recently imposed its first sanctions on Iran since JCPOA after ballistic missile tests and assassination plots were revealed on European soil. The EU added two Iranian individuals and an Iranian intelligence unit to its terrorist list. They are also still deciding if another push for new sanctions on Iran over its missile program will be part of the SPV.

“We are clear; this commitment does not in any way preclude us from addressing Iran’s hostile and destabilizing activities” Jeremy Hunt explained (British Foreign Secretary).

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Germany Launches Iran Advice Office Over U.S. Sanctions


(Source: European Sanctions Blog, 19 June 2018.)

By:  Maya Lester, Esq., Brick Court Chambers,, +44 20 7379 3550.

In June the German government announced that it has created an “Iran contact point” to guide companies in their business transactions with Iran, given President Trump’s recent decision to reimpose US sanctions on Iran. The German government also stated that EU sanctions relief for Iran, one of the terms under the JCPOA, remained in place, and that government-backed export credit guarantees were still available.


US Exporters, Don’t Try This: German Gun Maker Sues Government for Export Approval


By: Danielle McClellan

Heckler & Koch is suing the German Government for failing to approve the export of parts needed to produce its G36 gun in Saudi Arabia. In 2008, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government approved the controversial (and lucrative) deal for Heckler & Koch to allow Saudi Arabia to produce the G36 itself.

The German government stopped authorizing the export of five key components that are required to make the gun in the middle of last year. Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel made the decision to stop approving the export after vowing to be more cautious when licensing exports.

Last month, Germany was forced to defend a decision to allow the export of tanks and artillery to Qatar, which was reported to have sent troops to fight in Yemen.

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Study Points at ITAR as Hurting US Defense Industry’s Competitiveness


By: Danielle McClellan

A recent study was published in the book “Fortresses & Icebergs: The Evolution of the Transatlantic Defense Market and the Implications for U.S. National Security Policy” outlining the decline of US defense firms market position in Europe. The study was funded by the Department of Defense and Johns Hopkins in order to get a feel for the transatlantic defense market. The US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania and Sweden were all examined for market obstacles and restrictions, especially the ITAR in the US.

The book, written by Bialos, Christine Fisher and Stuart Koehl dives into the current state of the defense market and takes the reader through the present and future of the international industry and explains what the US needs to do to keep from drowning. “Fortresses & Icebergs” describes the negative trend that US firms are facing in Europe, increased cooperative buying among European nations and an ITAR backlash are turning the market upside down. In the past European nations bought nearly all of their defense article from the US but the recent study shows that more and more international companies are purchasing their defense articles outside the US. The study also confirmed that the number US firms buying from European firms is growing. This may be because of the Obama Administrations’ need to procure defense articles based on affordability and competition with the dwindling defense budget, a very positive sign for European companies wanting to compete in the US market.

The authors traveled to the 8 countries that were studied and interviewed 200 people to get an understanding of why so many European nations were shying away from the US and finally beginning to buy amongst themselves. Almost all 200 people had the same answer…they didn’t want to deal with the delays and risks that come with dealing with the ITAR.

Bialos explains that the “ITAR is a significant barrier to transatlantic defense trade,” and that “Everybody tells us that ITAR slows the speed of obtaining licenses, limits the release of technology, creates the business uncertainty and makes the process very difficult. European countries are very concerned about their operational autonomy being limited by not having access to technology, by having a ‘black box’ and not being able to change it during exigency.” As a result of the ITAR hardships, many European governments are looking to procure goods not restricted by the ITAR.

So where’s this leave the ITAR inhabited US, former Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Jacques Gansler believes that a more open transatlantic defense trade will “help the US by offering  more effective weapons systems, more interoperability with allies as all future engagements for the US will likely be multinational and lower costs.”  Getting defense articles from international competition will get the US higher performance at a lower cost, but I have to wonder what will happen to the US firms if the US starts buying mostly foreign…will the US defense industry slowly succumb to its international competition, similar to that of the US auto industry.

In case you were wondering what Icebergs and fortresses have to do with the international defense market the authors gave the following:
“The iceberg” of the book’s title is a concept that says whereas the United States and European countries may have different platforms (icebergs), moving down the supply chain reveals more sharing of suppliers (the icebergs are connected beneath the waterline). The fortress refers to the demand side of the market and protectionist tendencies on either side of the Atlantic.

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Luxembourg-based Company and Affiliates Pay $25 Million Fine to US Government



By: Danielle McClellan, Maarten Sengers and John Black

Qioptiq S.a.r.l (Qioptiq), the owner of a night vision equipment producer in Singapore and related affiliates in the UK and the US, recently agreed to pay $25 million in fines for US International Traffic in Arms (ITAR) violations. The bulk of the 163 charges relate to Qioptiq Singapore activities, including disclosure of unlicensed US night vision technology to its own employees in Singapore, the export of ITAR jurisdiction technology to a variety of countries, and the manufacture and unlicensed export of night vision assemblies using US origin ITAR data to a variety of countries. The large fine is due to the fact that the majority of the violations involved illegal transfers to China (or Chinese national employees) and Iran, two countries that are subject to particularly restrictive ITAR proscribed country status.

SPECIAL NOTE:The Export Compliance Training Institute will discuss the case in detail and look at practical steps companies may take to avoid such fines at its upcoming seminars on US export and reexport controls in Singapore on March 1-4, 2009. Details available at:

Qioptiq obtained several Thales High Technology Optic Group companies, including Thales Electro-Optics Pte Limited, Singapore (Thales Singapore), Avimo Singapore (predecessor to Thales Singapore), Thales Optical Coatings, Limited, UK and Thales Optem, Inc., NY (Thales NY) in December 2005. (For the purpose of this article we often will refer to the collective group of companies in Singapore as Qioptiq unless otherwise specified, and not make the distinction between whether violations occurred when the entity was Thales or Qioptiq.) The companies’ primary business is the manufacturing of optical components used in both commercial and military applications. Before the purchase, Thales voluntarily disclosed some of the ITAR violations to the US Government and agreed that its successor company Qioptiq would conduct a thorough review of ITAR compliance over the preceding five years, (and further in some situations). Because of the Thales agreement with the US Government Qioptiq inherited many of the violations when it acquired the Thales companies. (more…)

German Company Pays $50,000 US Fine for Sales to Cuba



By: Danielle McClellan

Gunnar Petzel Medizintechnik of Germany has been issued a civil penalty of $50,000 for three violations of the EAR. The company ordered and purchased Ten Station Microplate Processing Conveyor Systems and supply units for export from the US to Cuba via Germany. The purchases were made between November 2003 and June 2006. Both items are designated EAR 99 but because Cuba was the final destination a license from the Department of Commerce was required due to the strict sanction on the country. Gunnar Petzel Medizintechnik never obtained any authorizations for the exports.

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Charging letter (PDF)