On May 7, 2016, Global Affairs Canada (formerly known as DFATD
and DFAIT) made an announcement that Canada plans to
legally remove Belarus from the Area Control List. Belarus has been on the Area
Control List since December 14, 2006. When this occurs, only North
Korea will remain on the Area Control List.
The Area Control List is a Canadian regulation made pursuant to
the Export and Import Permits Act. As a
result, the removal of Belarus from the list (and the addition of
any country to the list) is made by the Governor-in-Council by way
of an amendment to Regulation, SOR/81-543. The Canadian Legislature
does not vote on regulations. When the Government of Canada
promulgates the regulations to remove Belarus from the Areas
Control List, the notice will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, which is released on
Wednesday, every two weeks.
Global Affairs Canada made the following statement concerning
the reasons for the removal of Belarus from the Area Control
This announcement is consistent with
actions taken by the United States and the European Union since
October 2015 (see links below). It also reflects Canada's
acknowledgment that the Government of Belarus has made progress in
key areas in recent months, including the release of political
prisoners and conducting a presidential election in October 2015,
which demonstrated greater adherence to international norms and was
not marked by the levels of violence and intimidation seen in past
elections. Canada also recognizes the constructive role played by
Belarus in facilitating negotiations toward a ceasefire and peace
agreement in Ukraine—the Minsk agreements—in September
2014 and February 2015.
Belarus is no longer in the penalty box.
The removal of Belarus from the Areas Control List means that
trade with Belarus will be significantly less restricted. This
means that there are opportunities for Canadian businesses and
exporters to sell goods to Belarus and businesses/persons in
Belarus. Such opportunities have not existed for the last 10 years
while the strict export controls have been in place. It was
uncommon for Global Affairs Canada to issue export permits to
Canadian businesses wishing to export to Belarus.
The Export and Import Permits Act prohibits the export
or transfer of all goods and technology to a country listed on the
Area Control List. Global Affairs Canada has announced that its
Export Controls Division will immediately (presumably any time
after May 7, 2016) "issue export permits for the export to
Belarus of goods and technology that are not specifically listed in
the Export Control List." Technically, the
CBSA may detain goods and technology exported to Belarus without an
export permit in the interim period.
After Belarus is removed from the Area Control List (that is,
the regulatory process is complete), goods and technology not
listed on Canada's Export Control List may be exported to
Belarus without an export permit. The Export Control List should be
reviewed in conjunction with A Guide to Canada's Export Controls. Goods
and technology on Canada's Export Control List may not be
exported or transferred to any country (with the exception for
certain goods and technologies exported or transferred to the
United States) without an export permit issued by Global Affairs
Canada does not currently impose additional economic sanctions
against Belarus pursuant to the United Nations Act or the
Special Economic Measures Act. Whether or not Canada
passes such economic and trade sanctions against Belarus by way of
regulations promulgated pursuant to these laws is yet to be seen.
There is no indication in the Global Affairs Canada announcement
that such plans exist. It is important to note that the current
restrictions (soon to be past export controls) were not economic
sanctions by name; but were de facto economic and trade
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