Perhaps you have heard about some of the huge fines companies have faced after being charged with antitrust violations, such as Google’s $2.7 billion fine in June 2017, or the $26.7 million Euro judgment against one of Heineken’s subsidiaries in Greece in July 2017, or the $1.3 billion fine currently under review against Intel. Government suits are bad enough, but after them come private lawsuits from other companies affected by the same conduct. Antitrust litigation from a few ill-considered decisions of individuals in a company can take years to resolve and millions to defend. They disrupt companies and demand substantial human resources, as well. There is no doubt that avoiding antitrust violations is a much more cost effective strategy than waiting until problems occur.
Our next installment of our Doing Business in the U.S. series is a brief introduction to U.S. antitrust laws. For more information or additional training on guidance on antitrust laws, feel free to contact Don Scaramastra at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 206.816.1449.
Businesses and entrepreneurs on both sides of the Pacific should be aware and celebrate that just as cross-border commerce is increasing, so, too, is international judicial recognition of commercial judgments, as evidenced by recent Chinese and Washington State court rulings.
In 2017, a Chinese court, perhaps for the first time, enforced a U.S. commercial judgment. An article by Dr. Jie (Jeanne) Huang published by University of New South Wales’ China International Business and Economic Law initiative  reported on the 2017 decision, which recognized and enforced a monetary judgment from the Los Angeles County Superior Court. The case is Liu Li v. Tao Li and Tong Wu  decided by the Intermediate People’s Court of Wuhan City, China.
International travelers from and to the United States may increasingly encounter an inspection of personal electronic devices conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) officers. The selection may be for a variety of reasons, which may include that the traveler does not have the proper travel document or visa; the person has previously violated U.S. laws; or the person might be selected randomly for a search.
U.S. employers who sponsor foreign workers for temporary H-1B work visas should start preparing now for the upcoming H-1B cap filing season commencing this year on Monday, April 2, 2018. Employers should start identifying those first-time H-1B workers for which petitions will be filed during the first five business days in April. International students holding F-1 visas are the most common beneficiaries for these "quota subject" H-1B petitions.
On January 2, 2018, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) rejected Ant Financial’s plan to acquire U.S. money transfer company MoneyGram International over national security concerns. According to Reuters’ report, CFIUS rejected the deal due to concerns over the safety of data that can be used to identify U.S. citizens. The companies have already undergone the CFIUS process three times and proposed safeguard measures, but these efforts did not clear CFIUS’s concerns. The companies decided to terminate their deal after CFIUS rejected their proposal. Ant Financial needs to pay MoneyGram a $30 million termination fee for the deal’s collapse.
One of the things any active investor in the United States almost always needs is a place in which to operate its business. Buying or leasing property can be tricky, however. For example, one can face liabilities by merely becoming a lessee of real property with environmental problems, such as contamination from prior uses. Zoning regulations might not allow a company to use the property as planned. Disputes or judgements associated with real property can create huge headaches for a new owner or tenant, alike.
On October 2, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a new version of Form I-765, the application used to apply for an employment authorization document (or “EAD” card). Based on a new information-sharing partnership between U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA), foreign nationals in certain categories or classifications can now apply for work authorization and a social security number using a single form – the updated Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services indicated during a September 27, 2017, call with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) that it is on track to resume offering its Premium Processing service on or before October 3, 2017, to all H-1B petitions.
While no "official" announcement has been made by the agency, the recent statement during an AILA government liaison meeting is welcome news for employers who have experienced long wait times for adjudication of H-1B petitions filed on behalf of their employees.
On Monday, September 18, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would resume offering its 15-day Premium Processing service for any H-1B visa petition still pending that had been accepted under this Fiscal Year’s (FY) 2018 cap during the first five business days in April 2017. Premium Processing had been suspended for this and almost all other H-1B work visa categories since April 3, 2017.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently adopted a new policy for travel document applications that should be taken into account by those applying for green cards. Under the new policy, the agency will deny a request for a travel document, called an Advance Parole (AP), if it discovers that the individual traveled outside the United States after filing the request, but before its approval. AP renewals are sought by submission of Form I-131, Application for Travel Document.
The International Practice Group of Garvey Schubert Barer is a cross-disciplinary group of attorneys practicing in areas ranging from business transactions, immigration, maritime, government regulatory work, transportation and logistics, and estate planning. The group members include bilingual and multicultural attorneys who are well-versed in handling these subject matters in a cross-border context. The firm’s attorneys have been actively practicing in the international arena since the early 1970s.