15 CFR Appendix Supplement No. 5 to Part 760 - Interpretation
The information outlined below may be furnished in response to boycott-related requests from boycotting countries or others. This information is, in the view of the Department, not prohibited by the Regulations. Thus, a person does not have to qualify under any of the exceptions to be able to make the following statements. Such statements can be made, however, only by the person indicated and under the circumstances described. These statements should not be used as a point of departure or analogy for determining the permissibility of other types of statements. The Department's view that these statements are not contrary to the prohibitions contained in antiboycott provisions of the Regulations is limited to the specific statement in the specific context indicated.
1. A U.S. person may always provide its own name, address, place of incorporation (“nationality”), and nature of business.
2. A U.S. person may state that it is not on a blacklist, or restricted from doing business in a boycotting country. A company may not make that statement about its subsidiaries or affiliates - only about itself. A U.S. person may not say that there is no reason for it to be blacklisted. To make that statement would provide directly or by implication information that may not be provided. A U.S. person may inquire about the reasons it is blacklisted if it learns that it is on a blacklist (see § 760.2(d) of this part example (xv)).
3. A U.S. person may describe in detail its past dealings with boycotting countries; may state in which boycotting countries its trademarks are registered; and may specify in which boycotting countries it is registered or qualified to do business. In general, a U.S. person is free to furnish any information it wishes about the nature and extent of its commercial dealings with boycotting countries.
4. A U.S. person may state that many U.S. firms or individuals have similar names and that it believes that it may be confused with a similarly named entity. A U.S. person may not state that it does or does not have an affiliation or relationship with such similarly named entity.
5. A U.S. person may state that the information requested is a matter of public record in the United States. However, the person may not direct the inquirer to the location of that information, nor may the U.S. person provide or cause to be provided such information.
Section 760.3(g), the Compliance With Local Law exception, permits U.S. persons, who are bona fide residents of a boycotting country, to take certain limited, but otherwise prohibited, actions, if they are required to do so in order to comply with local law.
Among these actions is the furnishing of non-discriminatory information. Examples (iv) through (vi) under “Examples of Bona Fide Residency” indicate that a company seeking to become a bona fide resident within a boycotting country may take advantage of the exception for the limited purpose of furnishing information required by local law to obtain resident status. Exactly when and how this exception is available has been the subject of a number of inquiries. It is the Department's view that the following conditions must be met for a non-resident company to be permitted to furnish otherwise prohibited information for the limited purpose of seeking to become a bona fide resident:
1. The company must have a legitimate business reason for seeking to establish a branch or other resident operation in the boycotting country. (Removal from the blacklist does not constitute such a reason.)
2. The local operation it seeks to establish must be similar or comparable in nature and operation to ones the company operates in other parts of the world, unless local law or custom dictates a significantly different form.
3. The person who visits the boycotting country to furnish the information must be the official whose responsibility ordinarily includes the creation and registration of foreign operations (i.e., the chairman of the board cannot be flown in to answer boycott questions unless the chairman of the board is the corporate official who ordinarily goes into a country to handle foreign registrations).
4. The information provided must be that which is ordinarily known to the person establishing the foreign branch. Obviously, at the time of establishment, the foreign branch will have no information of its own knowledge. Rather, the information should be that which the responsible person has of his own knowledge, or that he would have with him as incidental and necessary to the registration and establishment process. As a general rule, such information would not include such things as copies of agreements with boycotted country concerns or detailed information about the person's dealings with blacklisted concerns.
5. It is not necessary that documents prepared in compliance with this exception be drafted or executed within the boycotting country. The restrictions on the type of information which may be provided and on who may provide it apply regardless of where the papers are prepared or signed.