Washington DC Export Controls Sanctions Lawyer
Stewart and Stewart
U.S. Economic Sanctions and Embargoes
U.S. economic sanctions are imposed for a variety of reasons and take various forms but are generally targeted at foreign countries as well as individuals, banks and other organizations or entities that may be involved in activities that oppose U.S. national security interests and foreign policy objectives. In some cases, such sanctions restrict dealings with all nationals of specified countries as well as any person or organization that is “specially designated” as acting on behalf of the specified countries (e.g., Cuba, and Iran). Increasingly, however, sanctions are more narrowly drawn in order to target particular groups such as “Narcotics Kingpins” or “Foreign Terrorist Organizations” or “Senior Officials of the Government of X.”
The restrictions are spelled out in the Office of Foreign Assets Control Regulations (OFACR), which are based upon the statutory authority contained in a number of laws, including:
Trading With the Enemy Act
International Emergency Economic Powers Act
The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
International Security and Development Cooperation Act.
The Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC) is the principal agency responsible for implementing, administering, and enforcing U.S. economic sanctions, although OFAC relies on the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) to administer some parts of the economic sanctions programs and relies on the Justice Department in the context of criminal prosecutions. Other agencies are involved in the policy considerations associated with export license applications such as the Department of State, Defense, and Energy.
Because these laws are subject to frequent changes and impose very different restrictions on transactions with different countries and entities, U.S. companies and persons engaged in international commerce must exercise considerable care to ensure that they neither directly engage in any transaction nor indirectly facilitate any transactions by foreign persons if those transactions would run afoul of these complicated and shifting laws.
Violations of these sanctions programs may result in heavy penalties, both civil and criminal, including up to 20 years in prison for individuals or $1 million dollars for corporations.
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