Sanctions Top-5 for the week ending 6 November 2020

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  1. The European Union joined the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom in imposing a travel ban and asset freeze on Belarusian President Alexandr Lukashenko. In addition to Lukashenko, the EU sanctioned 14 other officials, including Lukashenko’s son, Viktor, who is also his father’s national security advisor. The sanctions follow a hotly disputed presidential election in August 2020.


Well, it’s settled (almost). What will a Biden administration mean for US sanctions and export controls? The Washington Post is reporting that the president-elect intends to issue a “flurry of executive orders to undo some Trump-era policies. No mention of sanctions in the article. Personally, I doubt we’ll see any immediate changes, although the consensus among prognosticators is that Biden will take a multilateral and more predictable approach to foreign affairs than his soon-to-be predecessor. One thing does seem certain: after the vote in Florida, the Cuba and Venezuela sanctions aren’t going anywhere soon.

A lot can happen between now and Inauguration Day on 20 January 2021. Expect the Trump administration to try to lock in some of its favorite sanctions and export controls changes. Speaking of, the State Department just announced sanctions against another four PRC and Hong Kong government officials under the Hong Kong-related sanctions program (Executive Order 13936). Meanwhile, The Financial Times reported that Hong Kong regulators are signaling that financial institutions will not face retaliation for complying with US sanctions. (Sound familiar?) More on this next week.

Did I miss something? Send me a message or comment on LinkedIn.

(The views expressed are my own and do not constitute legal advice. Photo from Vladislav Reshetnyak.)



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Nicholas Turner

US attorney in Hong Kong specializing in economic sanctions, financial crimes. Sign up for emails: LinkedIn at: