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U.S. Department of Commerce Fines Forta, Google Reinstates 'No Thanks' App, and Estimated Costs of Israel-Hamas War

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Ayesha Mumtaz
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U.S. Department of Commerce Fines Forta, Google Reinstates 'No Thanks' App, and Estimated Costs of Israel-Hamas War

In a significant development, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has imposed a fine on Forta, a domestic synthetic fiber manufacturer, for violating anti-boycott regulations. The company has been penalized for agreeing to a boycott of the State of Israel. The fine, amounting to approximately $45,000, must be paid within thirty days of the November 3, 2023, order. Should Forta fail to comply, the company's export privileges may be revoked for a year, leading to substantial losses.

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Boycott Risks and Compliance Programs

Under the existing enforcement guidelines, companies are not allowed the option of 'no admit, no-deny' settlements. Instead, they are expected to integrate boycott risks into their export compliance programs. This move is intended to ensure that businesses are held accountable for their actions and decisions.

'No Thanks' App Reinstated by Google

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In related news, Google has reinstated the mobile application 'No Thanks', which assists users in identifying products from companies linked to the Israeli regime. The app enables customers to scan product barcodes and receive notifications if the items were produced by Israeli-associated firms. The app was initially removed from the Play Store on November 30 but was returned to availability on December 5. An Apple-compatible version of the app is reportedly in development and currently under review.

Projected Costs of Israel-Hamas War

Meanwhile, the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip is projected to cost as much as 200 billion shekels ($51 billion). This estimate presupposes a war duration of eight to 12 months, limited to Gaza, and assumes that approximately 350,000 Israelis drafted as military reservists will return to work promptly. The projected costs are expected to cover defense expenses, loss of revenue, business compensation, and rehabilitation. Israel's Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has stated that the government is preparing an economic aid package for those affected by Palestinian attacks, which will be 'bigger and broader' than the financial relief provided during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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