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Federal Register 081313

Federal Register 081313

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 16351-01
COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION
 
17 CFR Part 50
 
RIN 3038-AD47Clearing Exemption for Certain Swaps Entered into by CooperativesAGENCY:
Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
ACTION:
Final rule.
SUMMARY:
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission
(“CFTC” or “Commission”) is
adopting final regulations pursuant to its authority under section 4(c) of the CommodityExchange Act (
CEA
) allowing cooperatives meeting certain conditions to elect not to submitfor clearing certain swaps that such cooperatives would otherwise be required to submit for clearing in accordance with section 2(h)(1) of the CEA.
 DATES:
Effective [INSERT DATE 30 DAYS AFTER PUBLICATION IN THE FEDERALREGISTER].
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Brian O’Keefe, Deputy Director, 202
-418-5658,  bokeefe@cftc.gov,Division of Clearing and Risk, or Erik F. Remmler, Deputy Director, 202-418-7630, eremmler@cftc.gov,Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street NW,Washington, DC 20581.
I.
 
Background
The CEA, as amended by Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer 
Protection Act (the “
Dodd-Frank Act
”)
,
1
establishes a comprehensive new regulatory framework 
1
See Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Pub. L. 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376 (2010).
 
 2for swaps. The CEA requires a swap: (1) to be submitted for clearing through a derivativesclearing organization (
DCO
) if the Commission has determined that the swap is required to becleared, unless an exception or exemption to the clearing requirement applies; (2) to be reportedto a swap data repository (
SDR 
) or the Commission; and (3) if such swap is subject to aclearing requirement, to be executed on a designated contract market (
DCM
) or swapexecution facility (
SEF
), unless no DCM or SEF has made the swap available to trade.Section 2(h)(1)(A) of the CEA establishes a clearing requirement for swaps, providing
that “
[i]t shall be unlawful for any person to engage in a swap unless that person submits suchswap for clearing to a [DCO] that is registered under [the CEA] or a [DCO] that is exempt from
registration under [the CEA] if the swap is required to be cleared.”
2
However, section 2(h)(7)(A)of the CEA provides that the clearing requirement of section 2(h)(1)(A) shall not apply to a swap
if one of the counterparties to the swap: “(i) is not a financial entity; (ii) is using swaps to hedge
or mitigate commercial risk; and (iii) notifies the Commission, in a manner set forth by theCommission, how it generally meets its financial obligations associated with entering into non-
cleared swaps” (referred to hereinafter as the “end
-
user exception”).
3
The Commission hasadopted § 39.6 (now recodified as § 50.50
4
) to implement certain provisions of section 2(h)(7).Accordingly, any swap that is required to be cleared by the Commission pursuant to section2(h)(2) of the CEA must be submitted to a DCO for clearing by the counterparties unless theconditions of § 50.50 are satisfied or another exemption adopted by the Commission applies.
2
See section 2(h)(1)(A) of the CEA, 7 U.S.C. 2(h)(1)(A).
3
See section 2(h)(7)(A) of the CEA, 7 U.S.C. 2(h)(7)(A).
4
77 FR 74284 (Dec. 13, 2012). The Commission re-codified the end-user exception regulations as § 50.50 so thatmarket participants are able to locate all rules related to the clearing requirement in one part of the Code of FederalRegulations. Because of this re-codification, all citations thereto in this final release will be to the sections asrenumbered.
 
 3Congress adopted the end-user exception in section 2(h)(7) of the CEA to permit certainnon-financial entities to continue using non-cleared swaps to hedge or mitigate risks associatedwith their underlying businesses, such as manufacturing, energy exploration, farming,transportation, or other commercial activities. Additionally, in section 2(h)(7)(C)(ii) of the CEA,
the Commission was directed to “consider whether to exempt
[
from the definition of ‘financialentity’
] small banks, savings associations, farm credit system institutions, and credit unions,including:(I) depository institutions with total assets of $10,000,000,000 or less;(II) farm credit system institutions with total assets of $10,000,000,000 or less; or (III) cre
dit unions with total assets of $10,000,000,000 or less.”
 In § 50.50(d), the Commission identifies which financial entities are small financialinstitutions and establishes an exemption
from the definition of “financial entity”
for these smallfinancial institutions pursuant to section 2(h)(7)(C)(ii)
(the “small financial institutionexemption”)
. The small financial institution exemption largely adopts the language of section2(h)(7)(C)(ii) in providing for an exemption
from the definition of “financial entity”
for the typesof section 2(h)(7)(C)(ii) institutions having total assets of $10 billion or less.On December 23, 2010, the Commission published for public comment a notice of  proposed rulemaking (
end-user exception NPRM
) to implement the end-user exception.
5
 Several parties that commented on the end-user exception NPRM recommended that theCommission extend relief from clearing to cooperatives.
6
These commenters primarily
5
See 75 FR 80747 (Dec. 23, 2010).
6
See, e.g., comments received on the end-user exception NPRM from: Agricultural Leaders of Michigan (ALM),The Farm Credit Council (FCC), Allegheny Electric Cooperative, Inc. (AEC), Garkane Energy Cooperative, Inc.(GEC), National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, Dairy Farmers of America, and National Rural UtilitiesCooperative Finance Corporation (CFC). Comments received on the end-user exception NPRM can be found on the
Commission’s web s
ite at http://comments.cftc.gov/PublicComments/CommentList.aspx?id=937.

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