In case you missed it, we ended 2019 with a webinar on current topics in U.S. economic sanctions.  Below are key points from the webinar:

  1. Types of sanctions vary. Broad country-based sanctions prohibit transactions between a U.S. individual or company and a party or company located in certain countries (current examples include Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria). These types of sanctions involve U.S. individuals wherever they are located, any company based or headquartered in the United States, subsidiaries of non-U.S. companies, and any person in the United States regardless of nationality.
  2. Targeted sanctions are common and prohibit U.S. persons from doing certain business with designated entities or individuals. Be aware that targeted U.S. sanctions can change regularly: for example, on February 6, the U.S. government issued its targeted sanctions regulations related to Mali.
  3. Secondary sanctions extend very broadly. Under the U.S. secondary sanctions regime, even non-U.S. companies doing business with parties subject to U.S. sanctions can be designated as sanctioned parties, and therefore be rendered off-limits to U.S. companies.
  4. Venezuela and Russia present particular challenges. Both are subject to targeted sanctions that cover many, but not all, transactions with parties in or from these countries.  As a result, it is essential to review each transaction in or involving Russia or Venezuela on a case-by-case basis.
  5. Aggressive enforcement is continuing. The U.S. government continues to enforce its sanctions programs aggressively.  Penalties can be significant, and thus it is essential for companies to maintain compliance programs tailored to their particular operations and risks.  This goes beyond relying on freight forwarders or other third-party representatives to screen transaction parties against the Specially Designated Nationals List – as seen in OFAC’s recent penalty against ship management company Eagle Shipping International.

For more details on these and other takeaways from the webinar, you can watch the webinar on demand.  Likewise, feel free to contact Thad McBride or any other member of the Bass, Berry & Sims International Trade Practice if we can help you address economic sanctions or other international trade questions.