In the world of sanctions and export controls, the only constant is that they are constantly changing. US sanctions and export controls most readily reflect the president’s prerogative and can easily change based on a given president’s agenda and the evolving geopolitical environment. Furthermore, US sanctions and export controls can present extraterritorial risks for non-US businesses, which, in certain cases, could be exposed to US sanctions or export controls for transactions that have no nexus to the US.

Monitoring and processing changes in this area can present significant compliance challenges, particularly under the current administration. Here, we discuss significant developments regarding US sanctions and export controls that have occurred over the past year and present guidelines for anticipating and adapting to such changes.

Key changes to US sanctions and export controls in 2018

On 8 May 2018, president Trump announced that the US would withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and re-impose sanctions previously lifted under the deal. As of 5 November 2018, all sanctions that had been removed became effective again. Importantly, non-US persons can now be subject to sanctions for engaging in transactions involving certain industries in Iran, including Iran’s energy, shipping and automotive sectors. Furthermore, US-owned or controlled non-US businesses are broadly prohibited from engaging in any transactions involving Iran.

Apr-Jun 2019 Issue

Venable LLP