15 CFR Appendix Supplement No. 12 to Part 760 - Interpretation
The Department has taken the position that a U.S. person as defined by § 760.1(b) of this part may not make use of an agent to furnish information that the U.S. person is prohibited from furnishing pursuant to § 760.2(d) of this part.
Example (v) under § 760.4 of this part (Evasion) provides:
“A, a U.S. company, is negotiating a long-term contract with boycotting country Y to meet all of Y's medical supply needs. Y informs A that before such a contract can be concluded, A must complete Y's boycott questionnaire. A knows that it is prohibited from answering the questionnaire so it arranges for a local agent in Y to supply the necessary information.”
“A's action constitutes evasion of this part, because it is a device to mask prohibited activity carried out on A's behalf.”
This interpretation deals with the application of the Regulations to a commercial agent registration requirement imposed by the government of Saudi Arabia. The requirement provides that nationals of Saudi Arabia seeking to register in Saudi Arabia as commercial agents or representatives of foreign concerns must furnish certain boycott-related information about the foreign concern prior to obtaining approval of the registration.
The requirement has been imposed by the Ministry of Commerce of Saudi Arabia, which is the government agency responsible for regulation of commercial agents and foreign commercial registrations. The Ministry requires the agent or representative to state the following:
“Declaration: I, the undersigned, hereby declare, in my capacity as (blank) that (name and address of foreign principal) is not presently on the blacklist of the Office for the Boycott of Israel and that it and all its branches, if any, are bound by the decisions issued by the Boycott Office and do not (1) participate in the capital of, (2) license the manufacture of any products or grant trademarks or tradeware license to, (3) give experience or technical advice to, or (4) have any other relationship with other companies which are prohibited to be dealt with by the Boycott Office. Signed (name of commercial agent/representative/distributor).”
It is the Department's view that under the circumstances specifically outlined in this interpretation relating to the nature of the requirement, a U.S. person will not be held responsible for a violation of this part when such statements are provided by its commercial agent or representative, even when such statements are made with the full knowledge of the U.S. person.
Nature of the requirement. For a boycott-related commercial registration requirement to fall within the coverage of this interpretation it must have the following characteristics:
1. The requirement for information imposed by the boycotting country applies to a national or other subject of the boycotting country qualified under the local laws of that country to function as a commercial representative within that country;
2. The registration requirement relates to the registration of the commercial agent's or representative's authority to sell or distribute goods within the boycotting country acquired from the foreign concern;
3. The requirement is a routine part of the registration process and is not applied selectively based on boycott-related criteria;
4. The requirement applies only to a commercial agent or representative in the boycotting country and does not apply to the foreign concern itself; and
5. The requirement is imposed by the agency of the boycotting country responsible for regulating commercial agencies.
The U.S. person whose agent is complying with the registration requirement continues to be subject to all the terms of the Regulations, and may not provide any prohibited information to the agent for purposes of the agent's compliance with the requirement.
In addition, the authority granted to the commercial agent or representative by the U.S. person must be consistent with standard commercial practices and not involve any grants of authority beyond those incidental to the commercial sales and distributorship responsibilities of the agent.
Because the requirement does not apply to the U.S. person, no reporting obligation under § 760.5 of this part would arise.
This interpretation, like all others issued by the Department discussing applications of the antiboycott provisions of the Export Administration Regulations, should be read narrowly. Circumstances that differ in any material way from those discussed in this notice will be considered under the applicable provisions of the Regulations. Persons are particularly advised not to seek to apply this interpretation to circumstances in which U.S. principals seek to use agents to deal with boycott-related or potential blacklisting situations.