Major Update Announced in U.S. Sudan Sanctions
Earlier today, President Obama signed an Executive Order that would lift most of the current U.S. trade and financial sanctions against Sudan on July 12, 2017, provided that the Sudanese government sustains until that time its recent “positive actions” in military reduction, humanitarian improvement and cooperation with the U.S.
In accordance with this order, the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced that effective January 17, 2017, it is amending the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations (“SSR”) to add a general license authorizing U.S. persons to conduct all transactions currently prohibited by those regulations. Such transactions include trade and financial dealings with persons in Sudan, including those involving the government of Sudan and those in the petroleum and petrochemical industries; export and re-export of goods, technology and services to Sudan that do not require a license from another agency; and import of goods and services from Sudan. As the amendment is scheduled to take effect on January 17, the general license will become available on that date even though the Sudan sanctions would not be formally removed until July 12.
Importantly, OFAC’s action today does not affect the export and re-export licensing requirements of other agencies. Under the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”), nearly all items that are not EAR99 continue to require a license for Sudan. The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) continue to prohibit export and re-export of defense articles and services to Sudan. Additionally, persons and entities blocked under other OFAC sanctions programs, including the Darfur sanctions and the South Sudan sanctions, remain blocked. Finally, it should be noted that the lifting of sanctions will not take effect, and the general license may be revoked, if the Sudanese government is determined not to have sustained the positive actions that gave rise to today’s action. That determination will be made under a new incoming administration whose policies on Sudan remain unclear.
The President’s Executive Order may be found at https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/13/executive-order-recognizing-positive-actions-government-sudan-and.
OFAC’s announcement, including a Fact Sheet and FAQs on the changes, may be found at https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20170113.aspx.