Export Control as a measure against the Corona virus, and other news

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, governments and international organisations have been working 24/7, trying to contain it. As a measure to contain the virus, countries around the world impose export bans. More about this, at the end of this newsletter.

US & EU: Trade law sanction and enforcement regimes are evolving and increasing

On 17 January 2020, the EU published an information notice which shows the measures that individual Member States have adopted in conformity with Regulation 428/2009, the EU dual-use export control regulation.

A couple of days later, on the 20th of January 2020, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, said that the EU is finalising the EU Turkey sanctions regime, following the exploration and drilling for oil and natural gas in the Mediterranean Sea, by Turkey. According to Borrell, the EU Council Working Party RELEX, is finalising the listings of persons and entities involved in the Turkish oil and gas drillings off the coast of Cyprus. In November 2019, the EU agreed to set up a sanctions regime against Turkey, in order to be able to effectively impose restrictive measures on Turkey. These measures may include an asset freeze and a travel ban for people and entities determined to be responsible for these drilling activities. On 31 January 2020, the American Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, announced the US would renew four nuclear restrictions on Iran for an additional 60 days.

Brexit causing uncertainty

On 31 January 2020, the UK government published its sanctions policy after Exit Day. The UK issued its Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018, which is to enter into force on 1 January 2021. Following that date, European sanctions will no longer apply in the UK and the UK will apply its own sanctions regime. The British government has anticipated that there will be gaps between the UK and EU sanctions regimes. The UK sanctions regime may not cover all EU sanctions regimes.

Extensions of sanctions by the US, EU and UNSC for one year

In February 2020 the US announced it would extend the sanctions for Libya, for a year. According to the statement of US President Trump “the situation in Libya continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States”. A couple of weeks later, in March 2020, the US published two separate statements for the renewing of sanctions against Zimbabwe and Venezuela, also for a year. For Zimbabwe, the EU made a similar decision on 17 February 2020 when it decided to renew the Zimbabwe arms embargo. The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2511 (2020), which extends the sanctions for Yemen until 28 March 2021.

EU publishes update of correlation list between TARIC Codes and Dual-use List

On 9 January 2020, the EU has published an updated correlation list between TARIC Codes and the Dual-use List, Annex I to the Dual-use Regulation (Regulation 428/2009). This correlation list can be used to classify your products, with the use of your TARIC Codes used for customs purposes. Although not entirely waterproof, the list can be a useful tool to make a first analysis. As companies tend to have TARIC Codes in place, this is a much easier first step than trying to classify the goods by hand.

Corona virus & sanctions

In February 2020 the UN Security Council granted an exemption from international sanctions to the Red Cross. For now, the exemption only applies to UN sanctions, imposed to North Korea, allowing for the provision of life-saving support to protect people from the spread of the coronavirus. One of the countries affected most by the outbreak of the coronavirus is Iran, where, according to the New York Times, there are more than 2,300 confirmed cases and 77 declared deaths. On the 28th of February 2019, US Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote a letter to the US Secretaries of State and Treasury seeking assurances that the US is making “every reasonable effort” to ensure sanctions do not hinder efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Iran. If the American administration will make an exemption for Iran, remains to be seen.

Corona virus, export ban and travel ban

Some European countries, including France and Germany, have imposed limits on the sale of protective masks and other items. The EU warned member states not to do this and on 6 March 2020, the EU announced it would ensure a coordinated response to the coronavirus outbreak. Also countries outside of Europa, such as China and Russia, made similar restrictions, by imposing a no export ban on masks and related raw material. The Russian ban for example, applied to 17 types of equipment, including surgical masks (face masks), plastic shoe covers, gloves, surgical scrubs, gas masks, hazmat suits and “reusable anti-plague” suits. As a result of the bans, those wishing to export items such as these, require a licence from the relevant authorities.

On 12 March 2020, President Trump announced a 30-day travel ban from Europe to the US. The ban applies only to the 26 countries within the Schengen free-travel zone. Britain and Ireland are not included in the ban. Meanwhile, the European Commission has issued a statement condemning the travel ban. According to the Commission, the Coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action. The European Commission disapproves of the fact that the U.S. decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation. In a response to the travel ban, international stocks have plunged significantly.

If you want more information about the corona virus related bans and if these bans will affect your business, you can contact BenninkAmar Advocaten at: +31 (0)20 308 5918 or info@batradelaw.com

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