United States: Checklists Of Foreign Countries For U.S. Firms Engaged In International Transactions

Countries Subject to Various Restrictions by the U.S., EU, and UN

Following are checklists of countries that are subject to a variety of U.S. and EU-imposed restrictions affecting international trade. The countries are grouped into different categories based upon their nature; several of the countries are subject to more than one category of restriction. Although there is considerable overlap between the U.S. and EU checklists, the restrictions applicable to a particular country may differ significantly. Explanatory notes following the two checklists describe the different categories of restrictions for each.

The last page describes sanctions mandated by UN Security Council resolutions and also sets forth information regarding sanctions implemented by certain other countries.

Please note: The attached checklists are intended to alert users to possible issues involving transactions with the named countries or designated persons. They are not intended to constitute, or substitute for, legal advice. Because sanctions programs are subject to change, it is important to review, in advance, any planned dealings with sanctioned countries or persons.

Recent Sanction News

March 17, 2014 The U.S. issued Executive Order 13660 authorizing sanctions such as asset freezes on persons or entities contributing to the situation in Ukraine.
March 17, 2014 The EU adopted Council Regulation 269/2014 imposing financial sanctions against certain persons, entities and bodies in view of the situation in Ukraine.
March 10, 2014 The EU adopted Council Regulation 224/2014 extending sanctions on the Central African Republic to include travel restrictions and asset freezes.
March 6, 2014 The U.S. issued Executive Order 13660 authorizing sanctions such as asset freezes on persons or entities contributing to the situation in Ukraine.
March 6, 2014 The EU adopted Council Regulation 208/2014 which imposed financial sanctions, including asset freezes, against certain persons, entities and bodies in view of the situation in Ukraine.
February 19, 2014 The EU suspended the operation of its restrictive measures against all individuals and entities in its Zimbabwe sanctions list, except for Robert and Grace Mugabe and Zimbabwe Defense Industries.
January 20, 2014 The U.S. and EU implemented temporary sanctions relief per the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) between the P5 + 1 and Iran. The changes are limited, targeted, and reversible. U.S. persons and U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities continue to be generally prohibited from conducting transactions with Iran, including any transactions of the types permitted pursuant to the JPOA, unless licensed to do so by OFAC.
December 23, 2013 The EU adopted Decision 2013/798 which imposed sanctions on the Central African Republic, including an embargo on arms and related materiel and ban on the provision of certain services.
December 5, 2013 The UN Security Council adopted resolution 2127, which imposed an arms embargo on the Central African Republic.

U.S. Checklist: Trade and Other Restrictions Affecting Foreign Countries

Please note: This list is intended to alert users to possible issues involving transactions with the named countries. It is not intended to constitute, or substitute for, legal advice.

*/ The U.S. eased sanctions on Burma by issuing general licenses authorizing the exportation of U.S. financial services to Burma, new investment in Burma and importing into the U.S. products of Burma, subject to certain restrictions. New investment with the Burmese Ministry of Defense and other armed groups, activities with certain sanctioned parties and importation of jadeite or rubies mined or extracted from Burma is still prohibited.

**/ The U.S. has amended the Iranian sanctions to prohibit certain transactions by foreign subsidiaries owned or controlled by a U.S. person and to require public companies to provide disclosure of certain Iran-related activities in their annual and quarterly reports filed after February 6, 2013. The amendment also expanded the scope of the sanctions to encompass any person determined by OFAC to have assisted or supported certain entities of or activities by the Government of Iran, and requires Issuers of securities in the U.S. to report certain Iranian transactions to the SEC.

***/ Effective July 9, 2011, the U.S. formally recognized the Republic of South Sudan as a sovereign state. The controls that continue to apply to Sudan do not apply to the Republic of South Sudan. 76 Fed. Reg. 41046 (July 13, 2011).

****Executive Order 13660 (March 6, 2014); Executive Order issued March 17, 2014.

EU Checklist: Trade and Other Restrictions Affecting Foreign Countries

Please note: This list is intended to alert users to possible issues involving transactions with the named countries. It is not intended to constitute, or substitute for, legal advice.

*/ The EU has agreed to suspend, in large part, sanctions issued in the past. This does not include Arms and Related Materiel (April 23, 2012).

**/ The EU significantly broadened financial sanctions against Iran to include a ban on all transactions between European and Iranian banks without authorization, short term export credits, the export of materials relevant to the Iranian nuclear program, importing, purchasing or transporting natural gas from Iran, providing shipbuilding technology and oil storage, and flagging and classification services to Iranian vessels.

***/ The sanctioned persons include Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

****/ The EU lists the measures under current names of regions of the former Yugoslavia: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro. The restrictions apply only to specific individuals indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

*****/ On 2/18/13, 3/27/13 and 2/13/14 the EU suspended most sanctions that freeze Zimbabwe's funds and economic resources and impose travel restrictions on certain individuals, entities and bodies. Nevertheless, some assets remain frozen and some individuals remain subject to travel restriction.

******Council Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 of March 17, 2014.

U.S. Checklist – Further Information

Summary of Categories:

  1. Comprehensive Sanctions: These countries are subject to far-reaching economic sanctions implemented by the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC"). The restrictions potentially affect nearly all dealings by U.S. persons in property of the listed countries, including limitations on imports, exports and financial transactions. Further information can be found at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Pages/Programs.aspx.
  2. Trade Restrictions: These countries are subject to relatively broad trade restrictions affecting exports, imports or both. These restrictions are not limited to strategic, dual-use or defense items but generally extend to nearly all goods.
  3. Financial Sanctions: U.S. persons may not conduct financial transactions with these countries and their entities. All of these restrictions are implemented by OFAC.
  4. Specially Designated Nationals (Individuals and Organizations): U.S. persons are restricted in their ability to engage in transactions with specially designated nationals, or SDNs (a group that includes specified individuals and entities and vessels), wherever they may be located. The countries listed are those countries in which SDNs are specifically referenced. In addition to persons linked to these countries, the SDN list also includes individuals, entities and vessels, wherever located, that are regarded as terrorists, narcotics traffickers or proliferators of weapons of mass destruction or as contributing to these activities. An up-to-date list of SDNs is maintained by the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control. See http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/SDN-List/Pages/default.aspx.
  5. Anti-Boycott Concerns: U.S. persons are subject to civil and criminal penalties, or in some cases to the denial of tax advantages, if they participate in foreign boycotts that the U.S. does not support. The foreign economic boycott that is of principal concern to U.S. companies is the Arab League boycott of Israel. The Department of the Treasury (Office of the International Tax Counsel/Tax Policy) publishes a quarterly list of "boycotting" countries, on which the named countries are found.
  6. Restricted Trade in Defense Articles/Weapons: The Department of State's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls ("DDTC") maintains a list of countries for which it has adopted specific policies—generally highly restrictive—relating to the export of defense articles and defense services. See www.pmddtc.state.gov/embargoed_countries/index.html. These countries are also indicated as country group D:5 in The Export Administration Regulations ("EAR"), See 15 CFR Part 740 Supp. 1; and are subject to restrictions with regard to the exportation of 600 series items.

    Though there are no current embargoes on the Kyrgyz Republic and the Republic of Guinea, DDTC has issued a "Notice to Exporters" for each country stating that license applications for the export of U.S. Munitions List (USML) items to these countries may be delayed and approval should not be assumed.

    Additionally, DDTC issued a "Notice to Exporters" regarding the issuance of export licenses for major defense equipment (defined in 22 U.S.C. 2794(6)) to be exported to Pakistan. Currently, the issuance of licenses is prohibited absent an appropriate certification or waiver under Section 203 of the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-73) in fiscal years 2012–14.

Non-Country Based Lists to Check:

The Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security ("BIS") maintains links to several other lists, compiled by various U.S. government agencies, that can be checked prior to engaging in exports or re-exports. (See http://www.bis.doc.gov/complianceandenforcement/liststocheck.htm) Among these are the following, all of which are compiled by the Department of Commerce and apply to specific individuals or entities:

  1. The Denied Persons List, which includes individuals and entities that have been denied export privileges;
  2. The Unverified List, which includes parties for which BIS has been unable to verify the end-user in prior transactions;
  3. The Entity List, which includes parties whose presence in a transaction can trigger a license requirement under the Export Administration Regulations; and
  4. The Consolidated Screening List, which combines export screening information from the Departments of Commerce, State, and Treasury.

Please note: This information is intended to alert users to possible issues involving transactions with the named countries. It is not intended to constitute, or substitute for, legal advice.

EU Checklist – Further Information

  1. Broad Sanctions: This category generally does not encompass the same kind of comprehensive sanctions programs typically imposed by the U.S., which affect nearly all economic sanctions with the named country. Inclusion of a country here does indicate, however, that the EU has imposed a variety of restrictions on trade (including, but extending beyond, an arms embargo), dealings with certain named individuals or entities, and, sometimes, diplomatic sanctions.
  2. Trade/Investment Restrictions: This category may encompass restrictions on exports of certain types of services or technology, investment in particular sectors and imports of certain items. Generally the restrictions are more limited than those in the "Trade Restrictions" category in the U.S. checklist.
  3. Asset Freeze/Travel Restrictions: The EU typically imposes a freeze of assets or restrictions on travel (admission) to the EU only with respect to specified individuals or entities. For example, in the case of Moldova, the sanctions in this category are applied only to persons responsible for the campaign against Latinscript schools in the Transnistrian region and are valid until September 30, 2014. See p. 58/111.
  4. Arms and Related Materiel Embargo: The EU often imposes restrictions in this category in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolutions, as is the case with respect to Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia and Sudan. Sometimes the restrictions apply only to certain individuals or groups, as in the case of Liberia, where the arms embargo is applicable only to nongovernmental entities and individuals operating in the territory of Liberia.

Resource for EU Restrictions: http://eeas.europa.eu/cfsp/sanctions/index_en.htm

Note regarding Germany:

Germany makes available extensive materials on its export control regime. (See web site reference below.) In addition to observing the EU-wide restrictions, it establishes special license requirements for export items that (1) are intended for conventional military end use and (2) are to be sent to a "Country List K" destination. The Country List K currently consists of Cuba and Syria.

Germany also requires specific authorization if (1) the export items are intended for use in a nuclear plant and (2) a purchasing country or destination is one of the following:

Algeria
India
Iran
Iraq
Israel
Jordan
Libya
North Korea
Pakistan
Syria

Resource for German Restrictions: www.bafa.de/bafa/en/export_control/index.html

Note regarding Canada:

Canada typically imposes sanctions mandated by UN Security Council resolutions. In addition, although it is not an EU member, Canada often follows the EU in adopting non-UN based sanctions, such as those imposed on Belarus or Zimbabwe. It has not, however, followed the EU in adopting sanctions against Moldova.

Resource for Canadian restrictions: www.international.gc.ca/sanctions/index.aspx

Please note: This information is intended to alert users to possible issues involving transactions with the named countries. It is not intended to constitute, or substitute for, legal advice.

UN Checklist – Security Council Mandated Sanctions

The UN Security Council can impose mandatory non-military sanctions under Chapter VII of the UN Charter in furtherance of its mission to maintain or restore international peace and security. While the substance of the relevant Security Council resolutions varies, all of the following countries and groups, except Lebanon, are currently subject to at least some restrictions on the supply of arms and related materiel; additional restrictions, including travel restrictions and asset freezes applicable to named individuals, may also apply.

Central African Republic
Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Eritrea
Guinea-Bissau
Iran*
Iraq
Lebanon**
Liberia
Libya
North Korea
Somalia
Sudan
Terrorists (includes Al-Qaeda and the Taliban)

*/ In a resolution adopted on June 9, 2010, the UN Security Council imposed additional sanctions on Iran, expanding the arms embargo and tightening restrictions on financial and shipping enterprises relating to "proliferation-sensitive activities."

**/ Restrictions on individuals involved in the killing of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

Resource for UN sanctions: www.un.org/sc/committees

Asian Countries: Our research has found little information on country-based export control regimes currently available online, at least in English, from official Chinese or Japanese sources. By contrast, Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, maintains an easily accessed list of restrictions it enforces against countries that are subject to UN sanctions. Hong Kong's list mirrors the UN checklist set forth above.

Resource for Hong Kong restrictions: www.tid.gov.hk/english/import_export/uns/uns_countrylist.html

Singapore also publishes helpful information online. It sets forth the specific restrictions on various countries and persons it implements in accordance with UN sanctions. Singapore also supplies links to information on U.S., EU and Japanese restrictions under the title, "Unilateral Sanctioned Lists or Embargoes."

Resource for Singapore restrictions and links: www.customs.gov.sg/stgc/leftNav/san

South Africa: Although most of South Africa's official online governmental materials appear to be published in English, we have not found any specific discussion of economic sanctions. As a long-standing UN member, however, South Africa presumably implements mandatory economic sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council. It should be noted that Zimbabwe—which is not currently subject to UN sanctions—raises special issues for South Africa, a neighboring country that has received numerous refugees from Zimbabwe. South Africa's current President, Jacob Zuma, has called for the lifting of sanctions imposed against Zimbabwe. The U.S., EU and Canada are among those imposing the sanctions.

A considerable amount of trade-related information (although not currently covering economic sanctions or similar trade restrictions) can be found at the web site of the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa: www.itac.org.za.

Australia: www.dfat.gov.au/un/unsc_sanctions/index.html

Please note: This information is intended to alert users to possible issues involving transactions with the named countries. It is not intended to constitute, or substitute for, legal advice.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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