RC: Could you outline some of the major developments in connection with economic sanctions imposed or maintained over the past 12-18 months?

Martin: The past 12 to 18 months have been hugely significant. While there has been little change in the restrictions in respect of Syria, activity in respect of Iran and the rapidly developing sanctions in respect of Ukraine have more than made up for this. In the case of Iran, we have seen international consensus on the benefit of targeted relief in encouraging Iran to engage in meaningful discussions with the P3+3, coupled with enforcement activity – including eye-watering fines – against those who infringe the restrictions which are still place. In the case of Ukraine, we have seen other national governments, notably those in Canada, Australia and Switzerland, support the EU and US in a package of rapidly escalating measures designed to put pressure on Mr Putin, and isolate Russia in a way unimaginable 18 months ago.

Lasoff: Two recent major trends in sanctions laws are the continued rise of coordinated, multilateral measures and the increased use of highly specific sanctions measures. The US has long been the leader in the imposition of trade and financial sanctions to achieve foreign policy objectives. While the EU and others maintain a variety of more limited sanctions, US sanctions programs have been unique in terms of their totality, their unilateralism, and their extraterritorial reach. The US currently maintains total or near-total trade embargoes against Iran, Syria, North Korea, Sudan and Cuba. It is therefore noteworthy that the EU and US have begun to coordinate their sanctions programs in highly specific ways. For example, the EU followed the US lead to impose broad sanctions against the Iranian financial and energy sectors. The recently imposed sanctions on Russia reflect an unprecedented degree of coordination in the imposition of economic sanctions, with the EU and US narrowly targeting specific individuals, companies and technologies to exert pressure on Russia while protecting Western business interests.

Oct-Dec 2014 Issue

Holman Fenwick Willan LLP

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

Navigant Consulting

Peters & Peters