On 25 January 2023, Switzerland implemented the EU’s 9th sanctions package adopted on 16 December 2022, and is now again by and large in alignment with EU sanctions against Russia. Switzerland thereby also introduced new measures, consisting, among others, of the following:
Extension of the scope of prohibitions:
- The sale, transport and transit of petroleum products of customs tariff number 2710 obtained from crude oil from or originating in the Russian Federation imported into Bulgaria after 5 December 2022 are prohibited. The respective EU rules in this respect are more detailed and also cover Croatia.
- Inclusion of the mining sector in the existing prohibition concerning enterprises in the energy sector.
- The direct and indirect provision of services in the fields of market and opinion research, technical, physical and chemical examination, and advertising for the Government of the Russian Federation or legal persons, enterprises or organisations established in the Russian Federation is prohibited.
- Addition of 166 entities in Annex 2 (end recipients of dual use goods or goods for military and technological reinforcement or for the development of the defence and security sector). Their involvement in transactions under Arts. 4 and 5 would preclude SECO from granting any licence under Art. 6.
- Addition of goods for aerospace use (Annex 3), in the description of certain banned iron and steel products (Annex 17), addition of an exception in the description of certain crude oil and petroleum products (Annex 24), and new list of banned mining sector materials (Annex 30).
- Addition of 1 entity as state-owned enterprise for the purposes of Annex 15.
Introduction of several new licensing grounds:
- Demining equipment and material for use in demining operations intended solely for humanitarian purposes, with regard to the existing prohibitions concerning arms.
- Aerospace goods with customs tariff numbers 8517 71 00, 8517 79 00 and 9026, if these are required for medical, pharmaceutical or humanitarian purposes, with regard to the existing prohibitions on aerospace goods; and the provision of technical assistance in connection with the use of aerospace goods and technologies if this is necessary to prevent collisions between satellites or their unintentional re-entry into the atmosphere.
- Goods for strengthening the industry of customs tariff numbers 8417 20 and 8438 10, and of tariff heading 8419 81 00, if they are used by natural persons in their households for cooking.
Related to divestment from Russia:
SECO may grant exemptions from the prohibitions on dual-use goods, goods for military and technological reinforcement or for the development of the defence and security sector, goods for the aerospace industry, maritime goods and technologies, aviation turbine fuels and fuel additives, goods for oil refining and natural gas liquefaction, goods for the energy sector, goods to strengthen the industry, luxury goods, and iron and steel products concerning transactions carried out until 30 September 2023, provided that the following cumulative conditions are met:
- Said activities are strictly necessary for the withdrawal of investments from the Russian Federation or the termination of business activities in the Russian Federation;
- The goods and technology are owned by Swiss or EEA persons, or by Russian persons owned or controlled, solely or jointly, by a Swiss or EEA person;
- The goods and technology in question were physically present in the Russian Federation before the respective prohibitions entered into force; and
- SECO does not have sufficient grounds to think that the goods could be intended for military end users or a military end use in the Russian Federation.
- SECO may grant exemptions from the prohibition of transactions with state-owned enterprises of Annex 15, if the transaction is strictly necessary for the withdrawal of investments and the disengagement from a legal person, entity or body established in Switzerland or an EEA member state by the state-owned enterprises listed in Annex 15 or their branches in Switzerland or an EEA member state until 30 June 2023.
SECO may authorise the release of certain frozen funds or economic resources belonging to the organisations listed in Annex 8 under SSID numbers 175-58307 (Credit Bank of Moscow) and 175-58343 (JSC ‘Far Eastern Bank’), or the making available of certain funds or economic resources to such organisations:
- if such funds or economic resources are necessary to complete transactions, contracts or other arrangements, including the relevant banking relationships, entered into with such organisations prior to 24 January 2023, no later than 26 July 2023; or
- if it has determined that such funds or economic resources are necessary for the purchase, importation or transport of agricultural and food products, including wheat and fertilisers.
SECO may authorise the release of certain frozen funds or economic resources belonging to natural persons listed in Annex 8 who, prior to their listing, played a significant role in international trade in agricultural and food products, including wheat and fertilisers, or exceptionally authorise the making available to such persons of certain funds or economic resources, where it has determined that such funds or economic resources are necessary for the purchase, supply, transport or export of agricultural products and foodstuffs, including wheat and fertilisers, to third countries in the interest of food security.
The prohibition in paragraph 1 of Article 28b concerning the mining sector shall not apply to activities in which the highest financial return is derived from, or the primary objective of which is, the production of any of the materials listed in Annex 30.
Introduction of new reporting obligations:
All exempted transactions for the purchase, if Switzerland is the destination, import or transport to Switzerland of natural gas condensates listed under customs tariff number 2709 00 10 from the Russian Federation or originating in the Russian Federation must be reported to SECO within two weeks indicating the quantities purchased, imported or transported.
The latest alignment of Switzerland with EU sanctions follows one month prior to the excepted adoption of the 10th EU sanctions package. It further demonstrates the increasing complexity of and interplay between existing and new restrictions.