On 23 November 2022, the Federal Council adopted the substantive measures within the eighth EU sanctions package, revising the Ordinance on Measures connected with the Situation in Ukraine (the “Ordinance“) accordingly. The revised Ordinance entered into force on 23 November 2022 at 18:00 CEST.
This follows the implementation of additional designated parties to Annex 8 of the Ordinance in accordance with the EU designations on 12 October 2022 and subsequently 1 November 2022, whereby one entity was removed from Annex 8 with the amendment.
In summary, the substantive amendments adopted to align with the latest EU sanctions namely include:
- A price cap (yet to be determined) and restrictions on the maritime transport of Russian crude oil and petroleum products to third countries.
- Amendments to the restrictions on aerospace goods and in particular on iron and steel products and goods of economic importance to Russia.
- Expansion of the scope of the existing prohibition on services.
- Further additions of goods in various annexes.
- An arms embargo which is now expressly set out in the Ordinance, but already applied under the War Materials Act and the Goods Control Act previously.
This latest version of the Ordinance also unexpectedly includes carve-outs for UK citizens and residents under certain financial restrictions and the services prohibition.
Transportation of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products
The Ordinance introduced a prohibition on the transport, including transhipment, as well as its brokering and financing, of crude oil and petroleum products listed in Annex 24 from or originating in Russia to countries outside of Switzerland and the EEA in Articles 12(1) and (2). It also introduced a price cap (yet to be determined) related to the maritime transport of such products to third countries in Article 12(3). There are specific exceptions to these prohibitions in Article 12(4).
Restrictions on Goods
The purchase, import, etc. prohibitions on (i) iron and steel products (as listed in Annex 17) from or originating in Russia in Article 14a, and (ii) goods of economic importance to Russia (as listed in Annex 20) from or originating in Russia in Article 14c were amended. In particular, the prohibitions under Article 14a do not apply to the purchase of goods subject to EU import quota or their import, transit or transport into or through Switzerland, whereas the prohibitions under Article 14c do not apply to the purchase of goods listed in Annex 21 subject to EU import quota or destined for third countries outside Switzerland or the EU. Moreover, the purchase of goods listed in Annex 21 destined for Switzerland and their import, transit or transport into or through Switzerland are subject to authorization, which shall be granted if within the Swiss import quota set out in Annex 21.
The amendment included a prohibition on providing IT (except for software updates for non-military purposes and to non-military end-users) and legal consultancy, architectural and engineering services to the Russian government and to Russian legal persons, entities or organizations (subject to a wind-down period). Article 28e contains specific exceptions to and possible exemptions from this prohibition.
Articles 2 and 3 restricting the import of firearms, etc. and the sale, supply, export, transit and transport of special military items listed in Annex 3 to the Goods Control Ordinance, were removed and replaced with a complete arms embargo on Russia in Article 2a. This embargo was partially extended to Ukraine in order to comply with Switzerland’s neutrality under public international law.
The amendments extended the geographic carve-outs in Article 20 (Prohibition on taking deposits and crypto-based assets), Article 22 (Prohibition on the provision of certain services for Central Securities Depositories), Article 23 (Prohibition on the sale of securities), and Article 28d (Prohibition in relation to Trusts) as well as Article 28e (Prohibition on services) to citizens and temporary or permanent residents of the United Kingdom.
Designated Parties and goods under Annex 1 and 23
This latest amendment removed the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RMRS) from the list of designated parties under Annex 8. RMRS still remains listed under Annex 15.
New goods were added to Annex 1 regarding items which may contribute to Russia’s military and technological enhancement or the development of its defense and security sector as well as to Annex 23 regarding the strengthening of the Russian Industry.
Switzerland took six weeks to implement the eighth EU sanctions package. By unilaterally extending geographic carve-outs in particular under the deposit ban and the services ban, the Swiss government has signaled that it is free to treat another important trading partner, the UK, differently from the EU, i.e. regardless of their relations. It thereby also stresses the significance of its relations with the UK post Brexit.
The latest version of the Ordinance is here.
The updated list of sanctioned individuals and entities is here.
An updated FAQ on the Interpretation of Articles 12, 14a, 14c, 15, 20, 21, 23, 28b and 28d is here.