15 CFR Appendix Supplement No. 6 to Part 760 - Supplement No. 6 to Part 760—Interpretation
The antiboycott regulations prohibit knowing agreements to comply with certain prohibited requests and requirements of boycotting countries, regardless of how these terms are stated. Similarly, the reporting rules require that a boycott related “solicitation, directive, legend or instruction that asks for information or that asks that a United States person take or refrain from taking a particular action” be reported. Questions have frequently arisen about how particular requirements in the form of directive or instructions are viewed under the antiboycott regulations, and we believe that it will add clarity to the regulations to provide a written interpretation of how three of these terms are treated under the law. The terms in question appear frequently in letters of credit, but may also be found on purchase orders or other shipping or sale documents. They have been brought to the attention of the Department by numerous persons. The terms are, or are similar to, the following: (1) Goods of boycotted country origin are prohibited; (2) No six-pointed stars may be used on the goods, packing or cases; (3) Neither goods nor packing shall bear any symbols prohibited in the boycotting country.
(a) Goods of boycotted country origin prohibited. This term is very common in letters of credit from Kuwait and may also appear from time-to-time in invitations to bid, contracts, or other trade documents. It imposes a condition or requirement compliance with which is prohibited, but permitted by an exception under the Regulations (see § 760.2(a) and § 760.3(a)). It is reportable by those parties to the letter of credit or other transaction that are required to take or refrain from taking some boycott related action by the request. Thus the bank must report the request because it is a term or condition of the letter of credit that it is handling, and the exporter-beneficiary must report the request because the exporter determines the origin of the goods. The freight forwarder does not have to report this request because the forwarder has no role or obligation in selecting the goods. However, the freight forwarder would have to report a request to furnish a certificate that the goods do not originate in or contain components from a boycotted country. See § 760.5, examples (xii)–(xvii).
(b) No six-pointed stars may be used on the goods, packing or cases. This term appears from time-to-time on documents from a variety of countries. The Department has taken the position that the six-pointed star is a religious symbol. See § 760.2(b), example (viii) of this part. Agreeing to this term is prohibited by the Regulations and not excepted because it constitutes an agreement to furnish information about the religion of a U.S. person. See § 760.2(c) of this part. If a person proceeds with a transaction in which this is a condition at any stage of the transaction, that person has agreed to the condition in violation of the Regulations. It is not enough to ignore the condition. Exception must affirmatively be taken to this term or it must be stricken from the documents of the transaction. It is reportable by all parties to the transaction that are restricted by it. For example, unlike the situation described in (a) above, the freight forwarder would have to report this request because his role in the transaction would involve preparation of the packing and cases. The bank and exporter would both have to report, of course, if it were a term in a letter of credit. Each party would be obligated affirmatively to seek an amendment or deletion of the term.
(c) Neither goods nor packaging shall bear any symbols prohibited in the boycotting country. This term appears from time-to-time in letters of credit and shipping documents from Saudi Arabia. In our view, it is neither prohibited, nor reportable because it is not boycott-related. There is a wide range of symbols that are prohibited in Saudi Arabia for a variety of reasons, many having to do with that nation's cultural and religious beliefs. On this basis, we do not interpret the term to be boycott related. See § 760.2(a)(5) and § 760.5(a)(5)(v) of this part.