The Tariff Act of 1930, also known as the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, establishes tariffs on imported goods with the aim of protecting domestic industries. It gives the President the authority to negotiate tariff reductions and includes provisions for enforcing U.S. trade agreements, countervailing duties, and antidumping duties. The act also outlines the requirements for the entry of goods into the U.S., including documentation and valuation, and prescribes penalties for violations such as smuggling or false declarations.
The Export Administration Act (EAA) of 1979 establishes the legal basis for the U.S. export control system. The act authorizes the President to regulate and control the export of goods, technology, and software for reasons of national security, foreign policy, and short supply. It requires exporters to comply with export regulations and to obtain licenses for certain controlled items. The EAA also outlines the process for determining which items are subject to control and the penalties for violations of export controls.
The Customs Modernization Act, enacted in 1993, updated many aspects of the U.S. customs system to facilitate trade and improve customs enforcement. It introduced the concept of 'informed compliance,' which places a greater responsibility on importers to be aware of and comply with U.S. customs laws. The act also emphasizes the importance of accurate declaration of merchandise, valuation, and classification. It provides for substantial penalties for non-compliance but also offers benefits for participants in voluntary compliance programs.
The International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) gives the President the authority to regulate international commerce after declaring a national emergency in response to a threat. Under IEEPA, the President can impose economic sanctions, block transactions, and freeze assets to address threats to national security, foreign policy, or the economy of the United States. This act is often used to enforce U.S. sanctions against specific countries, entities, or individuals. It is a key legal authority for the executive branch to limit trade and financial transactions in the context of national emergencies.
The Export Administration Regulations (EAR) are implemented by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and govern the export of dual-use goods, software, and technology. These regulations identify items that require export licenses based on their potential use in military or proliferation activities. The EAR includes the Commerce Control List (CCL), which categorizes items based on their sensitivity and the countries to which they can be exported. Exporters must determine if their items are on the CCL and, if so, whether a license is required for the destination country. The EAR also provides guidance on license exceptions and the steps for obtaining a license when necessary.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations implement U.S. economic and trade sanctions against targeted foreign countries, regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and other threats to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States. OFAC regulations may prohibit transactions and require freezing assets of specific nations, entities, and individuals. Before engaging in exports, individuals and companies must check OFAC's Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List) to ensure they are not dealing with prohibited parties.