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  • U.S. Government Fully Re-Imposes Sanctions on the Iranian Regime As Part of Unprecedented U.S. Economic Pressure Campaign

    U.S. Government Fully Re-Imposes Sanctions on the Iranian Regime As Part of Unprecedented U.S. Economic Pressure Campaign


    Washington, DC - - (November 5, 2018) - - Today, in its largest ever single-day action targeting the Iranian regime, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned more than 700 individuals, entities, aircraft, and vessels. This action is a critical part of the re-imposition of the remaining U.S. nuclear-related sanctions that were lifted or waived in connection with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). OFAC’s action is designed to disrupt the Iranian regime’s ability to fund its broad range of malign activities, and places unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime to negotiate a comprehensive deal that will permanently prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, cease Iran’s development of ballistic missiles, and end Iran’s broad range of malign activities. This brings to more than 900 the number of Iran-related targets sanctioned under this Administration in less than two years, marking the highest-ever level of U.S. economic pressure on Iran.

    “Treasury’s imposition of unprecedented financial pressure on Iran should make clear to the Iranian regime that they will face mounting financial isolation and economic stagnation until they fundamentally change their destabilizing behavior. Iran’s leaders must cease support for terrorism, stop proliferating ballistic missiles, end destructive regional activities, and abandon their nuclear ambitions immediately if they seek a path to sanctions relief,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “The maximum pressure exerted by the United States is only going to mount from here. We are intent on making sure the Iranian regime stops siphoning its hard currency reserves into corrupt investments and the hands of terrorists.”

    Today’s action includes the designation of 50 Iranian banks and their foreign and domestic subsidiaries; the identification of more than 400 targets, including over 200 persons and vessels in Iran’s shipping and energy sectors, and an Iranian airline and more than 65 of its aircraft; and the placement on the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (“SDN List”) of nearly 250 persons and associated blocked property that appeared until today on the List of Persons Identified as Blocked Solely Pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13599 (“E.O. 13599 List”). OFAC has deleted the E.O. 13599 List as part of the cessation of the United States’ participation in the JCPOA. For a complete list of targets sanctioned today, please click here.

    As of today, significant transactions with most persons moved from the E.O. 13599 List to the SDN List (other than those Iranian financial institutions identified solely pursuant to E.O. 13599) could be sanctionable. Such persons will have a notation of “Additional Sanctions Information – Subject to Secondary Sanctions” in their SDN List entries.

    This action targets the Iranian regime, not the Iranian people. OFAC continues to maintain humanitarian authorizations and exceptions to our Iran sanctions that allow for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices to Iran.

    OVERVIEW OF TODAY’S ACTION

    On May 8, 2018, the President ceased the United States’ participation in the JCPOA. That same day, the President issued National Security Presidential Memorandum–11, instructing the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury to begin taking steps to re-impose all U.S. sanctions lifted or waived in connection with the JCPOA, including to prepare to relist persons removed from U.S. sanctions lists in connection with the JCPOA as appropriate. The President directed that these steps be accomplished as expeditiously as possible, and in no case later than 180 days from May 8, 2018.

    Yesterday marked the end of the 180-day wind-down period. As of today, all U.S. sanctions lifted or waived in connection with the JCPOA are re-imposed and in full effect. OFAC has published additional frequently asked questions (FAQs) with respect to the re-imposition of these sanctions here.

    As part of the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions and the relisting of persons removed from U.S. sanctions lists in connection with the JCPOA, hundreds of targets were designated or identified and added to the SDN List today. Among those identified are 92 entities owned or controlled by Ghadir Investment Company, which OFAC previously identified as an investment firm affiliated with the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO).

    Additionally, persons and associated blocked property that were previously included on the E.O. 13599 List have been moved to the SDN List. OFAC has removed the E.O. 13599 List, which was created on January 16, 2016 to denote the continued status as blocked of persons solely identified pursuant to E.O. 13599 as meeting the definition of the terms “Government of Iran” or “Iranian financial institution.”

    Moreover, an amendment to the Iranian Transactions Sanctions Regulations (ITSR) takes effect today that reflects the re-imposition of sanctions pursuant to certain sections of Executive Order 13846 and the changes to the SDN List and E.O. 13599 List.

    BANKING SECTOR Today marks the largest single-day OFAC action targeting the Iranian regime’s abuse of Iran’s banking sector to fund its destabilizing activities. For example, the Iranian regime has funneled the equivalent of billions of dollars for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) through the banking sector. The action targets, in particular, Iranian banks that have provided support to, or are owned or controlled by, persons designated in connection with the Iranian regime’s support to international terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or their means of delivery, and human rights abuses. Some of the banks designated today have served as financial conduits for the IRGC-QF, the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL), the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), the Martyrs Foundation, Mahan Air, and Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) — all entities that remained designated throughout the JCPOA. “As the Iranian people suffer from fiscal mismanagement and a plummeting rial, the Iranian regime abuses the country’s banking system to enrich its elite and finance repressive state institutions. The IRGC and other destabilizing entities leverage their access to the global financial system to fund proxies fighting in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, subsidize the proliferation of WMD or their means of delivery, and arm those who abuse the human rights of Iranian citizens,” said Treasury Under Secretary Sigal Mandelker. “This action is aimed at cutting off Iranian banks that facilitate Iran’s domestic repression and foreign adventurism from the international financial system, and will highlight for the world the true nature of the regime’s abuse of its domestic banking system.” Today, more than 70 Iran-linked financial institutions and their foreign and domestic subsidiaries were designated or identified and placed on the SDN List. Bank Melli is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for assisting in, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, the IRGC-QF, which was previously designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 on October 25, 2007. As of 2018, the equivalent of billions of dollars in funds have flowed through IRGC-QF controlled accounts at Bank Melli. Bank Melli has acted as a conduit for payments to the IRGC-QF. The IRGC-QF has used Bank Melli to dispense funds to Iraqi Shia militant groups, and Bank Melli’s presence in Iraq was part of this scheme. Since the mid-2000s, Bank Melli increasingly provided services to Iranian military-related e
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  • U. S. Department of Agriculture Announces Receipt of 136 Expressions of Interest in Hosting Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture

    U. S. Department of Agriculture Announces Receipt of 136 Expressions of Interest in Hosting Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture




    (Washington, D.C. - - (October 22, 2018) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has received 136 expressions of interest from parties in 35 states interested in becoming the new homes of the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). In August, Perdue announced that most ERS and NIFA personnel would be moving to outside the National Capital Region by the end of 2019 and invited interested parties to submit proposals, with a deadline which had been extended to October 15, 2018. USDA intends to select the new location or locations by January 2019 and will retain a consultant with expertise in relocations.

    “The interest from across the country has been overwhelming as localities, universities, private entities, and elected officials realize the potential for their communities in become the new home for these two agencies,” Perdue said. “It is an old saying that not all wisdom resides in Washington, D.C., but it is gratifying to see so many folks step forward wanting to prove that to be the case. We look forward to working with Ernst & Young in examining all of the proposals and selecting the new locations.”

    States represented in the expressions of interest are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.

    The entities expressing interest in hosting ERS and NIFA include educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, state development agencies, county development agencies, municipalities, and for-profit entities. USDA has also received letters of support from a number of governors, members of Congress, farm-related organizations, and state and local officials. It is possible that ERS and NIFA will be co-located when their new homes are found. A yet-to-be-determined amount of staff from the two agencies will remain in the National Capital Region.

    USDA is undertaking the relocations for a variety of reasons. The move will place important USDA resources closer to many stakeholders, most of whom live and work far from the Washington, D.C. area. Additionally, taxpayers will realize significant savings on employment costs and rent, which will allow more employees to be retained in the long run, even in the face of tightening budgets. Finally, the plan will improve USDA’s ability to attract and retain highly qualified staff with training and interests in agriculture, many of whom come from land-grant universities.

    Under the plan, no ERS or NIFA employees will be involuntarily separated. Every employee who wants to continue working will have an opportunity to do so, although that will mean moving to a new location for most. Employees will be offered relocation assistance and will receive the same base pay as before, and the locality pay for the new location. For those who are interested, USDA is seeking approval from the Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget for both Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments.

    Perdue also noted that 91 percent of USDA’s approximately 108,000 employees currently work outside of the Washington, D.C. region.

    As part of the changes, ERS will be aligned with the Office of the Chief Economist under the Office of the Secretary. This represents a return to its previous positioning when ERS was aligned under the Assistant Secretary for Economics within the Office of the Secretary.

    Perdue previously announced other significant reorganizations at USDA. In May 2017, USDA created the first-ever Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs and reconstituted and renamed the new Farm Production and Conservation mission area, among other realignments. In addition, in September 2017, Perdue realigned a number of offices to improve customer service and maximize efficiency. Those actions involved innovation, consolidation, and the rearrangement of certain offices into more logical organizational reporting structures.




    Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture...
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  • U.S. Department of Labor Announces Funding Availability for Trade and Economic Transition National Dislocated Worker Grants

    U.S. Department of Labor Announces Funding Availability for Trade and Economic Transition National Dislocated Worker Grants




    Washington, DC - - (August 8, 2018) - - The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) today announced the availability of up to $100 million for Trade and Economic Transition National Dislocated Worker Grants to provide training and career services to dislocated workers affected by major economic dislocations.

    Supported by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Trade and Economic Transition grants provide funding to states, outlying areas, eligible tribal governments and other entities to address one or more of the following events:
    • the economic and workforce impacts associated with job loss or employer/industrial reorganization due to trade or automation;
    • the loss, significant decline, or major structural change/reorganization of a primary or legacy industry, such as a manufacturing downturn due to technological advances, including impacts on the agricultural industry due to trade or other economic trends;
    • other economic transition or stagnation that may disproportionately impact mature workers, putting them at risk for extended unemployment, lower wages, and underemployment.

    Applications must be received by 11:59:59 PM EDT on September 7, 2018; however, ETA will fund applications that meet all requirements based on the order ETA receives them, until all funds are depleted. ETA plans to award funds by September 30, 2018. Information is available at grants.gov.



    Courtesy U.S. Department of Labor
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  • U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available in North Carolina Following Secretary of Agriculture Drought Disaster Declaration for April Freeze

    U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available in North Carolina Following Secretary of Agriculture Drought Disaster Declaration for April Freeze




    July 24, 2018


    Atlanta, GA - - (July 23, 2018) - - The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced today that Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and private nonprofit organizations located in Cherokee and Clay counties in
    North Carolina as a result of the freeze on April 17, 2018.

    “These counties are eligible because they are contiguous to one or more primary counties in Georgia. The Small Business Administration recognizes that disasters do not usually stop at county or state lines. For that reason, counties adjacent to primary counties named in the declaration are included,” said Kem Fleming, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East.

    Under this declaration, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible
    farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. With the exception of aquaculture enterprises, SBA cannot provide disaster loans to agricultural producers, farmers and ranchers.

    The loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations of all sizes and 3.58 percent for small businesses, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.

    Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at Disasterloan.sba.gov.

    Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@s ba.gov (link sends e-mail). Loan applications can be downloaded from Disasterloan.sba.gov. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

    Submit completed loan applications to SBA no later than March 4, 2019.
    Internet Address:
    http://www.sba.gov


    Courtesy: U.S. Small Business Administration

    Note: The SBA says similar loans are available for similar entities in certain counties in Georgia and Tennessee

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  • U.S. Small Business Administration Hails Signing of the Economic Growth - - Regulatory Relief - - and Consumer Protection Act as a Major Boost for Small Businesses and Job Creation

    U.S. Small Business Administration Hails Signing of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act as a Major Boost for Small Businesses and Job Creation



    U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) leader joins President at White House signing ceremony



    Washington, DC - - (May 24, 2018) - - Linda McMahon, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, voiced enthusiastic support for the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act signed into law by President Trump Thursday morning.

    McMahon attended the bill signing at the White House, surrounded by fellow Cabinet members and a bipartisan group of lawmakers who supported the legislation.

    “I applaud President Trump for delivering on his promises to make regulatory reform and tax cuts key pillars of his pro-growth agenda,” McMahon said. “As I meet with small business owners and community lenders all over the country, I constantly hear concerns that overly burdensome regulations like Dodd-Frank hinder their growth and stop them from creating jobs. This legislation removes a stranglehold from smaller community banks and credit unions that have been limited in their ability to provide funding to individual and small business borrowers. This is a major step forward that will better enable small businesses to start and expand.”

    This legislation is the first major change to the Dodd-Frank Act since its passage in 2010. The bill had bipartisan support in the Senate and House.

    “Access to capital is a critical factor in whether small businesses succeed or fail,” McMahon said. “Relieving lenders of some of these regulatory restrictions will give them more freedom to work with borrowers and get funding into the hands of those who need it.”

    The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act provides regulatory relief for banking institutions by raising the threshold at which annual risk oversight measures such as stress tests and regulatory compliance measures apply, increasing it to $250 billion from the current $50 billion. For those institutions with total assets between $50 billion and $100 billion, the regulatory relief is immediate. For those with total assets between $100 billion and $250 billion, the relief is phased in over 18 months. The legislation also provides relief from the Volcker Rule, which banned proprietary trading by commercial banks, for banking institutions with assets under $10 billion.

    The legislation also waives some Consumer Finance Protection Bureau mortgage reporting requirements for banks with assets under a certain threshold. Consumers will be allowed to freeze credit files with credit reporting companies, protecting their data. Active members of the military will get free credit monitoring.







    Courtesy: U.S. Small Business Administration
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  • Statement by U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin on Passage of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act

    Statement by U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin on Passage of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act


    Sec'y Mnuchin



    Washington, DC - - (May 22, 2018) - - Today, after the U.S. House of Representatives passed S.2155, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin issued the following statement:


    "The House of Representatives acted on a bipartisan basis today to provide relief for America’s small, midsize, community, and regional banks, while maintaining important protections for consumers and taxpayers. I would like to thank Chairmen Crapo and Hensarling for leading this legislative effort to pass critical regulatory reform for the financial sector. This legislation will lead to increased investment in communities across the United States and foster greater economic growth for our country. The reforms in this bill align with key recommendations from Treasury’s Core Principles Reports on financial regulation and will more appropriately tailor our system of financial regulation to ensure that small businesses and consumers have access to credit."





    Courtesy: U.S. Department of the Treasury
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  • U.S. Census Bureau Begins Conducting Economic Census

    U.S. Census Bureau Begins Conducting Economic Census

    U.S. Census Bureau Begins Conducting Economic Census




    (May 1, 2018) - - The 2017 Economic Census is officially underway today as the U.S. Census Bureau began notifying businesses nationwide by mail with instructions on how to complete the survey online. Conducted once every five years, this is the first time the Census Bureau will conduct the survey almost entirely online. Only small businesses in U.S. territories will receive a paper form.

    The economic census collects data for approximately 3.7 million business locations. U.S. businesses nationwide, including those in U.S. territories, are asked to report their 2017 year-end numbers for each business location, including sales or revenue, employment, payroll, and industry-specific information. Classification initial mailings went out Feb. 1 to selected single-location businesses requesting industry classification information.

    The economic census serves as the most comprehensive source of data related to business activity and serves as the foundation for the measurement of U.S. businesses and their economic impact.

    The deadline for response is June 12 with the first set of data to be released in September 2019. All data will be released by December 2021. See this graphic for reference.





    Courtesy: U.S. Census Bureau
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  • U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available in North Carolina Following Secretary of Agriculture Disaster Declaration for Drought

    U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available in North Carolina Following Secretary of Agriculture Disaster Declaration for Drought


    Counties: Buncombe, Burke, Catawba, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Gaston, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Iredell, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, Mecklenburg, Rutherford, Transylvania, Swain and Yancey






    Atlanta, GA - - (March 3, 2017) - - The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced today that federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and private nonprofit organizations located in North Carolina as a result of the drought that began on Nov. 1, 2016.

    The SBA’s disaster declaration includes the following counties: Buncombe, Burke, Catawba, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Gaston, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Iredell, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, Mecklenburg, Rutherford, Transylvania, Swain and Yancey in North Carolina.

    Under this declaration, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. With the exception of aquaculture enterprises, SBA cannot provide disaster loans to agricultural producers, farmers, or ranchers. Nurseries are eligible to apply for economic injury disaster loans for losses caused by drought conditions.

    The loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 3.125 percent for small businesses, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.

    Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

    Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@s ba.gov(link sends e-mail). Loan applications can be downloaded from the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

    Completed loan applications must be returned to SBA no later than October 23, 2017.




    Information source: U.S. Small Business Administration...
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