The Bass, Berry & Sims international trade team is actively monitoring the situation in Russia and Ukraine and providing real-time advice to clients on managing the situation. This post summarizes the evolving situation as of Monday, March 21 concerning current U.S. sanctions and export restrictions related to Russia and Ukraine. This post supplements our previous analysis all of which are linked at the end of today’s content.

On March 18, citing publicly available information, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued a notice (the Notice) identifying 100 commercial and private aircraft that have flown into Russia in apparent violation of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) since March 2, 2022. BIS noted that all listed aircraft are owned or controlled by, or under charter or lease to, Russia or Russian nationals. BIS identified the aircraft by owner/operator, tail number, serial number, and aircraft type.

In publicly listing the aircraft, BIS warned that servicing these aircraft without BIS authorization by any person, regardless of location, would violate part 736.2(b)(10) of the EAR. Also known as General Prohibition 10, this EAR provision covers the taking of virtually any action with respect to an item that has been exported in violation of the EAR. BIS emphasized that violations of the EAR can lead to enforcement action and possible criminal and/or civil fines, including jail time and loss of export privileges.

BIS Initially Allowed Russia Exports Related to Aircraft, but Subsequently Limited the Authorization

On February 24, BIS imposed expansive controls on exports, re-exports and in-country transfers of U.S. items and certain foreign-made items to Russia. (Read our February 24 post on the rule here).  Yet when imposing those controls, BIS allowed the continued use of license exception AVS related to exports and re-exports of commercial aircraft with certain limited restrictions.

Less than a week later, on March 2, when BIS expanded similar export controls to Belarus, BIS restricted the use of license exception AVS with respect to Russia. In particular, BIS eliminated the exception for aircraft registered in, owned, controlled by, or under charter or lease by Russia or a national of Russia from license exception AVS eligibility. The result was that any flight of such aircraft into Russia required BIS authorization after March 2.  (Read our March 3 post on the rule here).

Broad Prohibitions under EAR General Prohibition 10

The Notice is explicit fact that provision of services to a listed aircraft without BIS authorization would be contrary to General Prohibition 10 of the EAR. General Prohibition 10 is entitled “Proceeding with transactions with knowledge that a violation has occurred or is about to occur (Knowledge Violation to Occur).”  The language of the prohibition states that a person “may not sell, transfer, export, re-export, finance, order, buy, remove, conceal, store, use, loan, dispose of, transport, forward, or otherwise service, in whole or in part, any item subject to the EAR and exported or to be exported with knowledge that a violation of the Export Administration Regulations … has occurred, is about to occur, or is intended to occur in connection with the item …. There are no License Exceptions to this General Prohibition Ten.”  Thus even the most basic maintenance on a listed aircraft, or an attempt to manage any financial or other transaction related to a listed aircraft, would be prohibited under the terms of the General Prohibition. To date, there has been nothing released publicly by BIS about any process for obtaining the de-listing of an aircraft.

If you have any questions or need any assistance related to this evolving situation or other international trade matters, please contact the authors. To read our previous coverage concerning the Russia-Ukraine situation, click the links below:

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Photo of Mi-Yong Kim Mi-Yong Kim

Mi-Yong Kim has nearly 25 years of experience related to export controls and national security. Based on her extensive government service, she is uniquely well equipped to provide advice to help clients navigate the complex regulations related to export controls and national security…

Mi-Yong Kim has nearly 25 years of experience related to export controls and national security. Based on her extensive government service, she is uniquely well equipped to provide advice to help clients navigate the complex regulations related to export controls and national security, including matters related to compliance with the Export Administration Regulations (EAR); the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR); the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS); and foreign ownership, control, or influence (FOCI) mitigation by the Defense Security Service. Mi-Yong is also an Adjunct Professor at the National Chengchi University (NCCU) in Taipei, Taiwan. She teaches a graduate-level class on export controls and related topics at the College of International Affairs of NCCU.

Photo of Thad McBride Thad McBride

Thad McBride advises public and private companies on the legal considerations essential to successful business operations in a global marketplace. He focuses his practice on counseling clients on compliance with U.S. export regulations (ITAR and EAR), economic sanctions and embargoes, import controls (CBP)…

Thad McBride advises public and private companies on the legal considerations essential to successful business operations in a global marketplace. He focuses his practice on counseling clients on compliance with U.S. export regulations (ITAR and EAR), economic sanctions and embargoes, import controls (CBP), and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). He also advises clients on anti-boycott controls, and assists companies with matters involving the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Thad supports international companies across a range of industries, including aviation, automotive, defense, energy, financial services, manufacturing, medical devices, oilfield services, professional services, research and development, retail, and technology. Beyond advising on day-to-day compliance matters, Thad regularly assists clients in investigations and enforcement actions brought by government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the U.S. State Department Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Commerce Department Bureau of Industry & Security (BIS), and the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Photo of Sylvia Yi Sylvia Yi

Sylvia Yi represents businesses across a broad range of sectors as they move through the contracting process with federal, state and local governments, and when they engage in international transactions. Sylvia counsels public and private companies on day to day compliance challenges, and…

Sylvia Yi represents businesses across a broad range of sectors as they move through the contracting process with federal, state and local governments, and when they engage in international transactions. Sylvia counsels public and private companies on day to day compliance challenges, and supports clients in responding to criminal and government investigations. She is a regular contributor to the firm’s Government Contracts & International Trade Blog, where she provides insight on the demanding and ever-changing regulatory environment.