Sudan Sanctions – US revokes certain sanctions and issues a new General Licence

10 October 2017

Members will be aware from previous News Alerts (click here) that the US has since January 2017 issued a general licence authorising certain transactions that were previously prohibited under the US Sudanese Sanctions Regulations (SSR) and Executive Orders 13067 and 13412.  It was the intention that in/after July 2017 certain sanctions would be permanently revoked. 

Following an extension of the general licence for a further three months beyond July 2017, on 6 October 2017 the US Government announced the permanent revocation of those sanctions, namely Executive Orders 13067 and 13412. The lifting of the sanctions will become effective as of 12 October 2017. These had previously imposed broad trade and financial sanctions on Sudanese goods, persons and entities including wide prohibitions on the assistance/facilitation that can be given by a US person/entity.

It should be noted that the revocation only applies to certain Sudan sanctions covered by Executive Orders 13067 and 13412 only. Details as to how the lifting of sanctions will work are covered by OFAC’s FAQs, click here to access a copy. A brief overview from New York lawyers, Freehill Hogan & Mahar can be accessed by clicking here.

There are, however, a number of important issues that need to be taken into account before commencing Sudanese trade, including:

  1. As stated in OFAC’s FAQs, some transactions, including the export/re-export of certain agricultural commodities, medicine and medical devices, still require US and non-US persons to obtain an OFAC Licence. However, it appears that OFAC will be publishing a General Licence at the same time as the other sanctions are lifted.
  2. This does not lift the Darfur related sanctions, nor Executive Order 13400 (which lists further SDNs connected to Darfur) nor any other applicable US legislation. OFAC’s web page setting out the overview of the regulations with regard to Sudan, including FAQs, interpretative guidance and information on various licences can be accessed by clicking here.
  3. Certain Sudanese persons remain SDNs.
  4. EU and UN embargos on export of arms and certain strategic goods remain in place, although these are not as broad as the US sanctions were (click here for the current EU sanctions).
  5. Although transactions in US dollars will in theory be permitted, there is no indication from banks as to whether they will clear US dollar payments in relation to Sudan with immediate effect and, if not, the timescale for reimplementation of normal banking procedures. Given that there are still some ongoing sanctions, it is entirely possible that banking restrictions will remain.

In the meantime, given the above outline of ongoing issues and related sanctions, Members should continue to undertake full due diligence and negotiate appropriate sanctions protection in all contracts if considering engaging in Sudan related trade.