In light of the substantial lifting of EU sanctions on Iran under the JCPOA nuclear deal signed in 2015, the UK’s Export Control Organisation (ECO) has withdrawn its Iran List. The list provided information about certain entities, companies, and organisations in Iran for exporters concerned about the possible end-use of their goods. In future, exporters may use the end user advice service, which can be accessed via the SPIRE export licensing system.
The ECO’s notice is here.
The UK’s Export Control Organisation has amended its rules on the export of goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture, or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, implementing changes made to the EU’s export controls in November 2016 (see Regulation 2016/2134). The goods in question are found in Annexes II and III of the Export Control Order 2008. As a result of the changes, there are new prohibitions on:
- transit of Annex II, and in some circumstances Annex III, goods within the customs territory of the union;
- the provision of brokering services related to Annex II goods;
- the provision of training related to Annex II goods;
- the display or offering for sale of any Annex II goods at an exhibition or fair within the EU; and
- the sale or purchase of advertising time or space for Annex II goods.
It also introduces more flexible licensing for Annex III goods, which are goods with potentially legitimate uses. The ECO’s notice to exporters is here.
The House of Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee has published a report on the legality of the EU sanctions listing procedure (link here). The purpose of its inquiry was to understand why EU targeted sanctions were being struck down by the EU courts, and whether improvements could be made to the sanctions listing process.
The committee heard evidence (written and oral) from Maya Lester QC of this blog, Senior Legal Adviser to the EU Council Michael Bishop, and three Foreign & Commonwealth Office officials, including the Deputy Head of International Organisations Mathew Findlay. Our previous blog on the inquiry is here.
The report’s recommendations are that:
- The EU should codify the standard of proof it applies when it adopts sanctions listings, for the sake of transparency and consistency.
- The EU Council should ensure that listings are better substantiated and bear in mind the need for an effective remedy before re-listing successful applicants.
- The EU should ensure that it has robust but fair procedures to allow the EU courts to assess confidential evidence underpinning sanctions listings.
- The UK Government and EU Council should consider whether to appoint an Ombudsperson for sanctions listings.
- The time taken for the EU Council to respond to correspondence from listed people and companies should be reduced as a matter of urgency, in particular cases of mistaken identity.
- The Government should provide open-source information justifying sanctions listings to select committees, to allow for effective scrutiny.
- The UK should remain able to align itself with EU sanctions post-Brexit, and legislate to this effect.
In October 2016, UK bank NatWest informed state-owned Russian news channel RT (formerly Russia Today) that it would no longer be providing it with banking services in the UK. NatWest is now reported to have changed its position, following discussions with RT.
At the end of last year, UK jet-engine manufacturer Rolls Royce defended itself against allegations that it had exploited a “loophole” in US sanctions to sell industrial turbines and related products to Iran between 1975 and 1995, by conducting the business through a UK division with no US management. In a statement, Rolls Royce acknowledged that it did business with Iran, but said that it complied with all relevant sanctions and export controls.
The UK has proscribed neo-Nazi group National Action under the Terrorism Act 2000, making membership of or support for the group a criminal offence. It is the first far-right group to be proscribed as a terrorist organisation in the UK. In the Home Office’s press release, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said that “National Action is a racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic organisation…proscribing it will prevent its membership from growing, stop the spread of poisonous propaganda, and protect vulnerable young people at risk of radicalisation”. National Action is also said to have promoted and encouraged acts of terrorism following the murder of UK MP Jo Cox in June 2016.
The UK’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation has updated its sanctions guidance to include a section on travel to the UK. The new guidance states that all designated people planning to visit the UK, and people being funded by a designated person, must possess an appropriate licence to support themselves while in the country which must be applied for at least 4 weeks before travelling or applying for a visa. The updated guidance is here.
HM Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions has renewed for a year the UK asset freeze that applies to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC), imposed under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010. The OFSI notice is here.