Sanctions Round Up First Quarter 2022

Shearman & Sterling LLP

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4 CHINA Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the US redirected its sanctions focus away from the People's Republic of China, which for several years has been the target of US sanctions authorities in response to its perceived human rights abuses and corporate espionage. Though President Biden announced no new sanctions this quarter, there were two notable developments flowing from prior sanctions measures, including an end to the DOJ's so-called "China Initiative" aimed at halting the PRC's theft of US intellectual property. The US Securities and Exchange Commission, meanwhile, identified several Chinese public companies for de-listing from US securities exchanges. DOJ Ends Controversial "China Initiative" In February, the US Department of Justice announced it was terminating its controversial "China Initiative," a program launched under the Trump Administration designed to prevent the theft of US intellectual property and trade secrets for use in China. The China Initiative resulted in a number of criminal prosecutions against academic scientists and tech employees, most commonly on charges that these individuals failed to disclose financial ties to China in representations to the US government. Several court proceedings against Chinese nationals remain pending this quarter, including against Xiang Haitao, a Chinese national and former resident of Chesterfield, Missouri, who pleaded guilty to charges that he conspired to commit economic espionage during his employment at a subsidiary of agrochemical company Monsanto. Xiang was apprehended during an attempt to board a one-way flight to China while allegedly in possession of a proprietary predictive algorithm of Monsanto, a critical component to a platform used by farmers to collect and visualize agricultural field data.

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