Here are five things that happened this week in the world of economic sanctions that I think you should know about.
This week’s briefing covers the weeks ending 7 and 16 July 2021.
- The US Departments of Treasury, State, Commerce, and Homeland Security published an advisory called “Risks and Considerations for Businesses Operating in Hong Kong” giving the US government’s opinions on recent political developments and summarizing Hong Kong-related US sanctions. (The advisory is not a regulation and does not impose any new obligations on US persons.)
- In conjunction with the advisory, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) named seven PRC and Hong Kong officials as Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) under Executive Order 13936. (The initial notice said the individuals were subject to secondary sanctions risk under the Hong Kong Autonomy Act (HKAA). OFAC retracted that a little while later. Oops!)
- A few days before, the Departments of Treasury, State, Commerce, Homeland Security, Labor, and the Office of the US Trade Representative published an updated advisory on supply-chain risks related to China’s Xinjiang Province.
- Meanwhile, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) added 34 entities in 13 countries to the Entity List, including 14 companies added in connection with China’s Xinjiang Province. According to a Commerce Department news release, other targets include entities involved in procuring items for the Chinese and Russian militaries and end users in Iran in violation of US sanctions and export controls.
- OFAC published General License №40 (GL-40) authorizing US persons to engage in transactions involving the exportation or reexportation of liquified petroleum gas to Venezuela. OFAC issued two new FAQs to accompany the license, including FAQ 914 confirming that non-US persons will not be sanctioned for engaging in activities described in GL-40.
For those of us who are actually in Hong Kong, the US government’s advisory doesn’t say much that we haven’t heard before. For another perspective, you should read Kurt Tong’s editorial in Foreign Affairs, “Hong Kong and the Limits of Decoupling.” (Tong is the former US Consul General in Hong Kong.) The takeaway: “Foreign governments have few tools to specifically punish China . . . without simultaneously hurting their own national interests and damaging the livelihoods of innocent bystanders in the territory.”
Looking for a primer on all things sanctions? Check out the second edition of the Guide to Sanctions from Global Investigation Review (GIR) with a forward by Sigal Mandelker, former Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, and an updated introduction by Rachel Barnes, Paul Feldberg, and me. The second edition features more than 20 chapters authored by some of the world’s leading sanctions and export control gurus. Download or purchase a copy here.