The UN Security Council has announced that the Libya sanctions listing of the vessel named ‘Nadine’ expired yesterday (previous blog here). As a result, the vessel will no longer be subject to a UN port ban or a prohibition from loading, transporting or discharging petroleum (including crude oil and refined products) from Libya aboard the ship.
Belgian authorities have announced that 3 Flemish companies – AAE Chemie (Belgian chemical group), Anex Customs and Danmar Logistics (2 handling companies) – are being prosecuted for the unlicensed export of chemicals to Syria.
It is alleged that between May 2014 and December 2016, the 3 companies had shipped 24 deliveries to Syria (without an export licence), containing 168 tonnes of isopropanol, 219 tonnes of acetone, 77 tonnes of methanol, and 21 tonnes of dichloromethane. The trial is set to commence in Antwerp on 15 May 2018.
At a meeting in Luxembourg on Monday, EU Foreign Ministers did not agree new sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missile programme and role in Syria, which had been considered to try to ensure that the US continues its commitment to the JCPOA.
The EU failed to agree new measures on Syria over its alleged chemical weapons attacks. Last week the EU issued a press release condemning the “repeated use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime”, stating that it had sanctioned a number of Syrian high-level officials and scientists in July 2017 and March 2018 for “their role in the development and use of chemical weapons”, and that it was “always ready to consider imposing further measures as appropriate”.
It is reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz will meet members of the US administration later this month to seek exemptions for German companies from the recent US sanctions on Russia, in which a number of Russian oligarchs, government officials and entities were added to the SDN list (previous blog here). Non-US persons can be liable for knowingly facilitating “significant transactions” for or on behalf of the individuals and entities sanctioned.
In light of the US imposing sanctions on a number of Russian oligarchs, government officials and entities (previous blog), the Russian Parliament was presented last week (13 April) with Draft Bill No. 441399-7 “On Measures (Countermeasures) in Response to Unfriendly Actions of the USA and (or) other Foreign States” (foreign states being those that have followed the decisions of the US on the adoption of Russia-related financial sanctions). The Draft Bill provides for the following measures (inter alia):
1. Prohibition/restriction on the import into Russia of agricultural products, raw materials and food products, alcohol and tobacco products, and some medicinal products, originating from the US and/or other foreign states;
2. Termination/suspension of international cooperation between Russia and the US and/or other foreign states* in the sectors of nuclear power, rocket and propulsion, and aircraft production;
3. Travel bans on US and/or other foreign persons working on the development and implementation of policy and legal actions in respect of the Russian Federation;
4. Prohibition/restriction on US and/or other foreign technological equipment and software for Russian state and municipal needs;
5. Prohibition/restriction on the provision of consulting, audit and legal services by entities under the jurisdiction of the US and/or other foreign states* for Russian state and municipal needs;
6. Prohibition/restriction on the participation in privatisations for US persons and/or persons of other foreign states*;
7. Prohibition/restriction on the provision of services related to the sale of public property owned by Russia by entities under the jurisdiction of the US and/or other foreign states*;
8. Exhaustion of the exclusive right to trademarks owned by US and/or other foreign states* in respect of certain goods;
9. Prohibition/restriction on the employment in Russia of citizens of the US and/or other foreign states, including highly qualified experts; and
10. Prohibition/restriction on the import of any other goods originating from the US and/or other foreign states (relevant list to be drawn up by the Russian Government).
The Russian Parliament is due to consider the Draft Bill on 24 April.
*including entities that are more than 25% directly or indirectly owned by entities under the jurisdiction of the US and/or other foreign states
In March 2017, we reported that Chinese telecoms company ZTE (Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd) had agreed to a combined civil and criminal penalty and forfeiture of $1.19bn after shipping telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea in violation of US sanctions, making false statements, and obstructing justice including through preventing disclosure to and misleading the US Government. In addition to those monetary penalties, ZTE also agreed a 7-year suspended denial of export privileges, which could be activated if any aspect of the agreement was not complied with.
Yesterday (16 April 2018), the US Department of Commerce announced that it had activated ZTE’s 7-year denial of export privileges order on the basis that the company had made false statements to the Department during settlement negotiations in 2016, and during the probationary period in 2017. Those statements had only been reported to the US Government after the Department had requested certain information from ZTE.
There were announcements last weekend that the US would impose further sanctions this week on Russians said to have assisted Syria with chemical weapons (see eg 15 April 2018 statement by the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley). However, yesterday (16 April) the White House press briefing said new measures were currently being evaluated, but that there was “nothing to announce right now” and reports suggest that President Trump has told national security advisers that he is uncomfortable imposing the planned new sanctions without another “triggering event” by Russia.
The House of Commons Defence Committee has published a report: Rash or Rational? North Korea and the threat it poses which analyses sanctions adopted in response to North Korea’s nuclear programme.
The report states that North Korea’s nuclear weapons testing began in 2006, and that UN sanctions have been imposed in 9 increasingly severe UNSC resolutions (the latest being in December 2017, see here). Countries “traditionally supportive” of North Korea, such as China and Russia had approved all 9 resolutions, and some imposed additional measures (including the US and the EU). The report concludes that the “inadequate enforcement of sanctions” and “lax enforcement on the part of certain countries”, has “significantly limited their impact on North Korea’s economy”. It recommends that the FCO should “set out what steps it has taken to encourage other countries to enforce – in full – the agreed sanctions against North Korea”.