OFAC, which is part of the Treasury Department, administers and enforces economic and trade (export/import) sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals. The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which is part of the Commerce Department, deals with export policy. Sometimes the export jurisdiction of these two agencies appear to overlap. OFAC is concerned with assets/financial transactions in addition to exports/imports, while BIS is more focused on export product classification. Also the primary expertise of OFAC is financial, while BIS has the engineering and product knowledge to make complex export classification determinations.
At the April 2008 National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America's Annual Conference, an Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) official discussed a variety of export-related issues. Highlights of her remarks include the following points:
OFAC Focusing More on Export Trade Compliance
OFAC is now focusing more on the exporting community, and has been conducting more audits of forwarders, carriers, exporters, etc.
Culpability Never Stops
With OFAC, culpability never stops; anyone in the chain of export is susceptible to OFAC regulations. OFAC often learns about potential violations from banks, as they are able to follow the chain of payment and can tip OFAC when potential violations occur.
(Banks are subject to OFAC regulations as they are part of the export chain.)
Personally, this is very interested in and important to note Banks are tipping the violation to OFAC!
(Source: International Trade Today - (Tue 05/20/08) by by Broker Power, Inc.)