In addition to its role in enforcing U.S. export control laws, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is charged with administering and enforcing the antiboycott laws under the Export Administration Act. These antiboycott laws were adopted to encourage and, in some circumstances, require U.S. companies to refuse to participate in foreign boycotts that the United States government does not sanction. According to BIS, the laws “have the effect of preventing U.S. persons from advancing foreign policies of other nations that run counter to U.S. policy.” Together, the Department of the Treasury (via the 1976 Tax Reform Act) and BIS’s Office of Antiboycott Compliance have oversight as to efforts to counteract the participation of U.S. persons and companies in other countries’ economic boycotts or embargoes.

Semi-annually, Treasury releases a notice to the public of countries that require or may require participation in, or cooperation with, an international boycott. In a Federal Register notice of February 16, 2024, the following countries were identified:

  • Iraq
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Syria
  • Yemen

For these listed countries, U.S. companies must report to BIS’ Office of Antiboycott Compliance any receipt of certain boycott-related requests such as a provision in a proposed agreement to refuse to do business with a boycotted country, requests to furnish information about any person’s business relationships with a boycotted country or with blacklisted persons, and requests for implementation (by U.S. banking entities) of letters of credit that include prohibited boycott-related terms or conditions. Examples of boycott requests are available here.