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 late evening on Tuesday, March 8 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.

President Biden Issues Executive Order, Bans Imports of Russian Oil and Gas

On March 8, President Biden issued an Executive Order (EO) banning the importation into the United States of the following Russian-origin products:

  • Crude oil.
  • Petroleum
  • Petroleum fuels, oils, and products of their distillation.
  • Liquefied natural gas.
  • Coal and coal products.

The EO also prohibits U.S. persons from new investment in the energy sector in Russia.

In addition, the EO explicitly prohibits U.S. persons from facilitating any prohibited transaction by a non-U.S. person. This is the traditional prohibition against facilitation included in most U.S. sanctions regulations. It effectively prohibits a U.S. person from doing something indirectly that the person cannot do directly.

In connection with the EO, the U.S. Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) posted several Frequently Asked Questions pertaining to the scope of the EO. Among other things, these FAQs make clear that the focus is on products from and investment in Russia itself. For example, at least under the EO, it appears that non-Russian crude oil could be purchased from a Russian seller – so long as that seller was not itself subject to U.S. sanctions.

There is no effective date in the EO, so the prohibitions presumably take immediate effect. However, concurrent with issuance of the EO, OFAC issued Russia General License No. 16 (GL 16). Under the terms of GL 16, until 12:01 a.m. on April 22, 2022, all import transactions otherwise prohibited by the EO are permitted so long as those transactions are undertaken pursuant to written contracts or agreements that were in place prior to March 8, 2022.  Note that GL16 does not authorize transactions with blocked Russian entities, nor does it apply to new investment in the energy sector of Russia.

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.