On January 17, 2024, the U.S. Department of State announced the redesignation of the Yemen-based Ansarallah (commonly referred to as the “Houthis”) as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organization (SDGT). The decision to redesignate Ansarallah comes after several months of attacks by Houthi forces against international maritime vessels in both the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.
On February 22 and 23, 2022, President Biden announced further sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These sanctions build upon the U.S. sanctions issued on February 21, 2022. Specifically, the additional sanctions include (a) blocking two Russian financial institutions and their subsidiaries, as well as five Russian individuals associated with the Putin regime; (b) expanded sanctions targeting Russian sovereign debt and persons who support such transactions; and (c) sanctions on Nord Stream AG and its CEO.
The United Kingdom, European Union, Canada, Australia, and Japan have also issued or announced sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion. Further sanctions are likely if the situation in Ukraine continues to escalate.
On March 12, 2020, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued sanctions against a second affiliate of PJSC Rosneft Oil Company (Rosneft) related to its activities with Venezuela. OFAC added TNK Trading International S.A. of Switzerland (TNK) to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), and the Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List (SSI List) under Directives 2 and 4, pursuant to Executive Orders 13850 and 13662. Previously, on February 18, 2020, OFAC placed Rosneft Trading S.A. (Rosneft Trading), a Swiss subsidiary of Rosneft, on the SDN List for purchasing, transferring, brokering, and otherwise facilitating the shipment of crude oil from PdVSA. OFAC has authorized a wind down period for both companies through 12:01 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time on May 20, 2020.
Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 Presidential election put the Republican Party in charge of the White House and Congress for the first time in a decade. President-elect Trump ran as an anti-establishment candidate who departed from many traditional Republican positions and promised bold and in some respects controversial reforms. How his administration will govern and the extent to which its policies will be supported in Congress are key questions facing companies and investors.
This report comments on aspects of international trade, sanctions and export control policies that are currently at the forefront of discussion.
With “Implementation Day” came the lifting of certain key U.S. and EU sanctions on the civil aviation industry. However, many prohibitions still remain, and licensing requirements may attach to U.S. persons or non-U.S. persons who seek to do business in Iran or operate airline services to/from Iran. Companies must continue to navigate this complex sanctions framework if seeking to engage in Iran’s aviation sector.
On October 29, 2015, the U.S. and the EU took separate actions to ease their respective Belarus-related sanctions programs for six months. These measures follow the October 11, 2015 reelection of Alexander Lukashenko as President of Belarus, the regime’s decision to release certain political prisoners and hopes for an improvement of the political and economic relationship between Western countries and Belarus. While currently temporary in nature, the sanctions relief provided affords Western companies opportunities to engage in certain transactions in Belarus.
On October 18, 2015, both the United States and the European Union took action to prepare for future changes to sanctions policy which will be effective upon IAEA verification of Iran’s commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This was a required step under the JCPOA, termed “Adoption Day,” scheduled to occur ninety (90) days after the JCPOA was endorsed by the UN Security Council via resolution 2231.
Importantly, Adoption Day does not bring about any immediate sanctions relief. OFAC reminded companies again about potential violations related to arranging agreements and contingent contracts with Iranian parties prior to Implementation Day.
On Monday, September 21, 2015, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) took coordinated action to further ease U.S. restrictions on trade with Cuba and Cuban nationals.