In July 2020, the European Union (“EU”) published a report on the progress of its member states regarding the implementation of the EU Toolbox on 5G Cybersecurity. The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, demanded sanctions of the EU against Turkey for violations of Greek and Cypriot waters and said the EU should act over the crisis in Libya. In the United States of America (“US”), a man was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for smuggling goods from the US to Iran. This, and more, in this newsletter.
1. European Union & United Kingdom
A. European Union
- Germany, Italy, France / Libya – On 18 July 2020, Angela Merkel (Germany), Giuseppe Conte (Italy) and Emmanuel Marcon (France) released a joint statement urging “all Libyan parties and their foreign supporters for an immediate cessation of fighting and for a stop of the ongoing military build-up throughout the country”. They also urged “all foreign actors to end their increasing interference and to fully respect the arms embargo established by the United Nations Security Council”. The three heads of state indicated they are “ready to consider the possible use of sanctions should breaches to the embargo at sea on land or in the air continue and look forward to the proposals the EU HR/VP will make to this end”.
- France / Turkey – According to an article, dated 23 July 2020 of news agency Reuters, the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, demanded sanctions of the EU against Turkey for violations of Greek and Cypriot waters and said the EU should act over the crisis in Libya. Marcron stands fully behind Cyprus and Greece in the face of Turkish violations of their sovereignty: “It is unacceptable that the maritime space of (EU) member states be violated and threatened”, Macron told reporters.
- EU – On 23 July 2020, EU Parliamentarians sent a letter to the High Representative of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, requesting for a timetable on the introduction of the EU Magnitsky Act for the imposition of sanctions on the leaders in charge of the human rights violations by China against Uighurs and the situation in Hong Kong. The letter urges “to make progress with the drafting of the proposal” of the EU’s global human rights sanctions regime.
- EU – On 24 July 2020, the EU published a report on the progress of its member states regarding the implementation of the EU Toolbox on 5G Cybersecurity.
B. United Kingdom
- UK / Sudan – On 20 July 2020, the United Kingdom (“UK”) published The Sudan (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, which will come into effect at the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020.
- UK / Hong Kong – On 20 July 2020, UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, announced that the UK will extend the arms embargo that applies to China to Hong Kong. The measures are in response to China’s new national security legislation.
- UK / Russia – On 21 July 2020, the Intelligence and Security Committee of the UK Parliament published a report commenting on Russia sanctions. According to the report, there is a “growing sense amongst countries who feel threatened by Russia that there is an opportunity both though intelligence and security cooperation and at diplomatic level to deliver real-world effects against Russia” (p. 38). Moreover, the National Crime Agency told the inquiry that sanctions have a “powerful impact” on members of the Russian elite and their professional enablers and “provide a significant primary disruption when imposed, and also open up a range of effective secondary disruptions through sanctions evasion offences” (p. 35).
- UK – In July 2020, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation published financial guidance for entities and individuals operating within the maritime shipping sector.
3. United States of America
A. US – China / Hong Kong Relations
- On 20 July 2020, the US District Court for the District of Rhode Island unleased a grand jury indictment charging a California-based electronics company, its company president and an employee on the basis of conspiracy to export US-origin chemicals to a Chinese-state owned chip manufacturing company, which is subject to export controls under the US Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) for its ties to the Chinese military.
- On 21 July 2020, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued a guidance page on Hong Kong-related sanctions. The page provides for interpretive guidance related to the sanctions programs, how to apply for a specific OFAC license, guidance on OFAC licensing policy and it sets out the legal framework for Hong Kong-related sanctions.
- On 22 July 2020, The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) has officially added eleven Chinese companies to the entity list for being “implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labour and high-technology surveillance against Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR)”. As such, these companies will become subject to licence requirements for the export, re-export or transfer of all items subject to the EAR.
- On 23 July 2020, the Directorate of Defence Trade Controls of the Department of State of the US issued a Notice and FAQs regarding Hong Kong defence exports.
B. US – Russia Relations
- On 20 July 2020, the US Department of State designated Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation due to his “involvement in gross violations of human rights in the Chechen Republic […] dating back more than a decade, including torture and extrajudicial killings”. Kadyrov was already subject to targeted sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act. Now, the US has imposed a travel ban on him and his direct family.
C. US – Iran Relations
- On 16 July 2020, a man from Massachusetts (US) was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for smuggling goods from the US to Iran. The man is a citizen of Iran and a naturalized citizen and resident of the US. According to a news release of the US Department of Justice, the man smuggled goods from the US to Iran, between December 2016 and February 2017: “the goods included motors, pumps, valves, and other items that were valued at more than USD 100,000”.
- US – On 17 July 2020, the Bureau of Industry & Security of the US Department of Commerce (“BIS”) published a Notice. In this notice, BIS seeks public comments on the list of items on the EAR’ Commerce Control List that are controlled for crime control and detection reasons to promote human rights throughout the world. Comments must be received no later than 15 September 2020.
- US / Nicaragua – According to a 17 July 2020 press release, OFAC sanctioned “Juan Carlos Ortega Murillo, son of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega; Jose Jorge Mojica Mejia; and two companies they use in an effort to distribute regime propaganda and launder money”.
- US – On 22 July 2020, President Trump declared the continuation of the national emergency with respect to transnational criminal organizations and thus extended the sanctions with respect to those organisations for 1 year. The measures target organisations that are “becoming increasingly sophisticated and dangerous to the United States”
- US / Mali – On 23 July 2020, President Trump declared the continuation of the national emergency with respect to Mali and thus extended the sanctions in respect of Mali for those responsible for actions that threaten the peace, security or stability in Mali for 1 year.
- US – On 24 July 2020, President Trump eased US export rules on the sale of Unmanned Aerial Systems (commonly known as drones).
4. Around the Globe
- India – In June/July 2020, the government of India made several amendments to its Special Chemicals, Materials and Technologies List, which came into force in the beginning of July 2020. Additions have been made to the list of items subject to export controls, including certain nuclear materials to specified countries, toxic chemical agents and related technology and software.
- Canada / China, Hong Kong – On 3 July 2020, the government of Canada announced that: “Effective immediately, Canada will treat exports of sensitive goods to Hong Kong in the same way as those destined for China. Canada will not permit the export of sensitive military items to Hong Kong”.
- Switzerland / Iran – According to a 27 July 2020 article of news agency Reuters, a Swiss pharmaceutical company has completed the first transaction under a new humanitarian trade channel with Iran: “The Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement channel to bring food and medicine to Iran started trial operations in January, helping supply Swiss goods to the struggling population without tripping over US sanctions”.
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