The EU Commission adopted another package of sanctions on 21 July 2022. The measures include new import bans, expanded restrictions on the export of certain sensitive technologies, as well as adjustments and corrections to existing bans and exemptions. The new provisions come into effect on 22 July 2022. Transitional provisions or privileges for existing contracts are not included (with the exception of a short transitional period for the new prohibition in Art. 3ea).
Measures of the sanctions package in detail
1. Gold embargo
The new Article 3o of Regulation (EU) 833/2014 imposes a comprehensive import ban on Russian gold. Accordingly, after 22 July 2022, the purchase, import, and direct or indirect transfer of gold will be prohibited in the EU if the gold originated in Russia and was exported from there to the EU or to a third country. This prohibition also applies to jewellery. There are no transition periods or clauses with respect to already existing contracts.
2. Export of sensitive technologies
The package also expands the list of controlled items that could contribute to Russia's military and technological improvement or the development of its defence and security sector. It tightens export controls on dual-use and high technology goods. For example, Annex II of Regulation (EU) 833/2014 will include certain data processing technologies, additional oil extraction technologies, and selected chemical and pharmaceutical substances.
3. Access restrictions and control of deposits
The new measures extend the existing ban on access to EU ports by Russian ships that is contained in Article 3ea Regulation (EU) 833/2014 to include locks from 29 July 2022. In addition, the scope of applicability of the prohibition on accepting deposits contained in Article 5b Regulation (EU) 833/2014 is being extended to deposits from legal persons, entities or bodies established in third countries, in which Russian nationals or natural persons resident in Russia hold the majority ownership. The acceptance of deposits for non-prohibited cross-border trading is subject to prior approval by the competent national authorities.
4. Measures to secure the supply of food and energy
The EU has decided to exceptionally allow business with certain Russian state-owned entities in the future insofar as this relates to agricultural products and the transportation of oil to third countries. The expansion of the existing exemption is intended to mitigate potential negative impacts on global food and energy security.
5. Inclusion of additional individuals on the sanctions list
The EU has imposed financial sanctions on additional individuals and entities. In particular, Russia's Sberbank has been added to the sanctions list, significantly tightening the sanctions already existing against the bank. Thus, with this sanctions listing, funds and economic resources of Sberbank can now also be frozen. Exceptions apply only to transactions relating to food and agricultural goods trade. Sberbank has already been excluded from the international financial communications network SWIFT since the beginning of June.
6. Adjustments and clarifications
Finally, the EU is also introducing a number of clarifications with respect to existing measures, for example in the areas of public procurement, aviation and justice. For example, Russia's technical assistance in aviation goods and technologies will be permitted to the extent necessary in order to secure the technical industry standards of the International Civil Aviation Organisation. The ban on business with Russian public entities is being slightly modified to ensure access to justice.
What should now be done?
In order to comply with the new sanctions, companies doing business with Russia need to check in particular whether the products they export are listed in the recast annexes to Regulation (EU) 833/2014 and could be subject to an export ban.
With a view to the new financial sanctions, companies should also check whether they have business relationships with the natural persons and legal entities now added to the sanctions list.
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.