The Office of Foreign Assets Control as an Agency

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is the U.S. agency that oversees economic sanctions against nations and specific groups. It was formally founded in 1950 when the entry of China into the Korean War forced the U.S. to block all of its assets in the country. However, it had a predecessor with similar functions, the Foreign Funds Control, which was created to prevent Nazi Germany from using assets from the countries they occupied. Since then, the office’s duties have changed somewhat due to the general de-escalation of conflict throughout the world. Now, it fulfills a more economic function as a method of the nation’s influence on other countries.

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The OFAC applies economic sanctions to various nations and groups and lifts them after some time, depending on the interests of the United States. “Office of Foreign Assets Control” highlights narcotics, terrorism, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Russia, and Venezuela as prominent sanction targets at the moment. The United States opposes most of the nations listed geopolitically in some relevant conflicts and tense situations throughout the world. It also tries to use its economic influence to reduce crime that threatens the nation, such as drug production and transport, as well as terrorism. When conducting business between the U.S. and sanctioned nations, logistics companies should consider the restrictions and address them.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is an agency that oversees the people and objects that enter the United States. The nation’s first customs service emerged in 1789, but various aspects of entry into the country were under the direction of different agencies until CBP unified them into a single organization in 2003. The department conducts border inspections for passengers and cargo that arrive at the border and determines whether they represent a danger to the citizens. People and goods who do not pass the inspection are detained and not allowed to enter, with other potential repercussions depending on the severity of the reason.

The emergence of terrorist attacks in recent decades has made the CBP one of the nation’s methods to prevent bombings and the entry of dangerous individuals. It now has a screening program that identifies high-risk containers automatically, often before they are delivered to the border. With the advancement of technology, the agency has become capable of faster screening, reducing delays and improving the border’s throughput. CBP officials still conduct physical examinations of containers, and the country has partnered with some other countries that also actively oppose terrorism. Logistics companies that operate internationally and conduct international trade that involves the U.S. should review the agency’s regulations carefully and make sure that the cargo enables quick inspections.

Transportation Security Administration

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) works to ensure the security of passenger and cargo transport throughout the United States. Unlike the CBP, it governs transit within the nation as well as on incoming and outgoing routes. The agency was established in 2001 in response to the September 11th terrorist attack, which highlighted the inadequate security of airport security. As such, airborne transport has historically been its primary area for concern, and it has introduced many features that enhance safety. However, while TSA is best known for the presence of its officials at airports and their extensive security checks, it also works with railways, transit, highway, and pipeline sectors (“Transportation Security Overview”). As such, it works with logistics companies alongside passenger transport operators and ensures the security of cargo, as well.

The TSA’s purpose has not changed since its inception, and the agency has been working to improve at preventing terrorism and improving security. Like the CBP, the organization uses a risk-based approach and screens passengers and goods based on the information it obtains from transport providers and other government agencies. The TSA is more concerned about the safety of the transport than the goods on board and relegates the task to other government agencies. As such, logistics providers will have to pass the organization’s inspections of its transport vehicles and ensure that they are safe. Airplanes, in particular, will be subject to thorough analysis due to the various dangers associated with them.

Federal Maritime Commission

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) oversees sea transport, which constitutes much of the United States’ cargo imports and exports. Unlike the agencies above, it mostly focuses on the economic aspect rather than physical security. The current version of the agency was established in 1961, with its predecessor, the United States Shipping Board, founded in 1916. The Commission’s goal is to create competitive and reliable ocean transportation that supports the U.S. economy and protects the public. It monitors agreements, contracts, and rates between different carriers and marine terminal operators to confirm that there are no issues that surface from them. It also sets the rules for the operation of ocean transportation intermediaries and oversees other aspects of ocean trade.

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The FMC’s goals and practices have not changed much over the last twenty years, as ocean transit is usually stable. The agency attempts to make sure that the market remains just and beneficial to providers, customers, and the nation as a whole. Logistics companies that work in the United States have to cooperate with the institution and submit to its reviews and suggestions. Additionally, U.S.-based non-vessel-operating common carriers and ocean freight forwarders have to obtain licenses from FMC, and companies from other countries can apply for it (“Ocean Transportation Intermediaries”). As such, a logistics company that works with overseas shipments will almost necessarily have to cooperate with the agency closely. Overall, the agency values transparency from ocean freight providers, and they should provide it with information to show their commitment to fairness.

Department for International Trade

The Department for International Trade (DIT) is the United Kingdom’s governmental agency responsible for the movement of goods across the nation’s border. Previously the nation had not needed such a structure, as it followed the European Union’s trade policies, but the announcement of Brexit in 2016 has led the nation to require a separate authority. It can use much of the same framework as what worked in the EU, but many agreements have to be renegotiated in preparation for Britain’s independence. The DIT describes its missions as breaking down barriers to trade and investment, delivering a new trade policy framework, promoting British trade and investment, and building the global appetite for the UK’s goods (“About Us”). The organization is still in the process of establishing a system, and companies that trade with the United Kingdom should observe its efforts and try to protect their interests.

Brexit presents dangers as well as opportunities, both of which the DIT will have to address. The process will likely worsen the UK’s relationship with the European Union and bring about considerably higher tariffs than before. However, it will also free the nation to agreements with other countries that are interested in its robust economy, such as the United States. Logistics and transport companies should try and convince their governments to use the opportunity to establish profitable trade agreements. They should also prepare to take advantage of existing agreements between the UK and other nations and consider the nation’s likely needs following Brexit. The United Kingdom will likely need to substitute its former imports from the European Union due to their increased price, and logistics companies can benefit from the new transport routes.

Conclusion

The United States has a large number of agencies that cooperate to oversee logistics and see that no issues arise with the various aspects. Security is their biggest concern, and border authorities, organized under the CBP, check incoming and outgoing cargo thoroughly. The TSA is well-known for its strict and thorough checks of everything that goes on board any airplane in the country. However, the government is also concerned with the economic ramifications of transportation, both internally and externally. The FMC ensures that there is no collusion or price-fixing in the maritime logistics industry, as do its counterparts for other modes of transport. The OFAC regulates trade with various national partners via sanctions, and logistics companies have to be aware of its actions because these measures affect them directly. By comparison, the United Kingdom’s logistics control system is still mostly undeveloped due to its prior reliance on the European Union for the necessary controls.

Works Cited

“About Us.” GOV.UK, Web.

“CSI: Container Security Initiative.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2019, Web.

“Ocean Transportation Intermediaries.” Federal Maritime Commission, Web.

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“Office of Foreign Assets Control – Sanctions Programs and Information.” U.S. Department of the Treasury. 2019, Web.

“Transportation Security Overview.” Homeland Security. 2015, Web.

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