In a notification published in the Federal Register on August 26, 2019, the State Department provided additional information on restrictions on exports to Russia that were initially described by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on August 2, 2019 when he announced the second round of targeted sanctions on Russia under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (the “CBW Act”). Our blog post on the August 2, 2019 announcement (“Announcement”), which described sanctions measures concerning multilateral bank assistance and lending to or participation in debt offerings by the Russian sovereign, in addition to restrictions on exports to Russia described in further detail below, is available here.
On July 23, 2019, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued an Iran-Related Civil Aviation Industry Advisory (the “Advisory”) that provides cautionary guidance to the civil aviation industry on compliance with US sanctions measures targeting Iran. The Advisory articulates the following key messages: (i) both US and non-US parties in the civil aviation industry remain at risk of US enforcement actions and economic sanctions for engaging in or supporting unauthorized transfers of aircraft or related goods, technology, or services to Iran or to designated Iranian airlines; (ii) the international civil aviation industry stakeholders – including airlines, charter operators, travel distributors and ticket agents, OEMs, suppliers, and service providers – must be on alert for certain deceptive practices used by Iran-related parties to circumvent US sanctions; and (iii) parties should be aware of certain aspects of US sanctions targeting Iran that relate specifically to the civil aviation industry.
On May 24, 2019, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) issued a final rule amending the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) to (i) remove Venezuela from Country Group B, which affords favorable treatment for certain exports of national security-controlled items, and (ii) add Venezuela to Country Group D:1, which includes countries of national security concern, and to Country Groups D:2, D:3, and D:4, which include countries of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and missile technology concern, respectively. BIS also made other conforming changes to the EAR, including adding (i) nonproliferation column 2 (NP 2) and (ii) chemical and biological weapons column 3 (CB 3) reasons for control for Venezuela. Venezuela had previously been part of Country Group D:5 as a US arms embargoed country, meaning that exports and reexports to Venezuela for items classified under 9×515 and “600 series” ECCNs were already subject to a policy of denial, and Venezuela has been included in the military end-use and end-user control in Section 744.21 of the EAR. BIS noted that the final rule better protects US national security and better aligns the Country Group designations for Venezuela with other EAR national security-related provisions that already apply to Venezuela.
On April 22, 2019, the Trump Administration announced that the US government will not reissue the significant reduction exceptions (“SREs”) that have allowed energy companies in China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey to purchase Iranian oil without being subject to relevant US sanctions. The current waivers will expire on May 2, 2019.