Overview of UN, EU and US Sanctions Regimes

The last few years have seen numerous new sanctions regimes introduced by the EU, UN and the U.S. Amongst the energy and commodity trading and the shipping communities, there has been a heavy focus on Iranian, and more recently, Syrian sanctions. It is important to understand, however, that there are now a whole host of countries facing sanctions from the EU, UN and U.S. Whilst sanctions measures in respect of countries such as Libya and Ivory Coast have been eased recently, it remains important that shipowners and charterers continue to remain alert, particularly in relation to asset-freezing measures, which generally prohibit making funds or economic resources directly or indirectly available to or for the benefit of designated persons.  Some of the sanctions measures introduced by the EU and US in respect of Iran and Syria also prohibit a variety of trading activities, as well as the provision of ancillary insurances and reinsurances.

The foundations of EU sanctions regimes are the lists of "designated persons". Those subject to the EU Regulations, which generally include any person inside or outside the territory of the Union who is a national of a Member State; any legal person, entity or body, inside or outside the territory of the Union, which is incorporated or constituted under the law of a Member State; and any legal person, entity or body in respect of any business done in whole or in part within the Union, cannot make funds or economic resources directly or indirectly available to or for the benefit of designated persons, who are also subject to an asset freeze. 

The U.S. has its list of Specially Designated Nationals ("SDNs"). "U.S. persons," defined as U.S. citizens, permanent resident aliens, persons physically in the U.S., U.S. organised entities and foreign branches, should not have any dealings with SDNs. Of course, even if not a "U.S. person", many entities, particularly non-US financial institutions, take the view that they should not in any event have business dealings with SDNs. US sanctions increasingly have extraterritorial effect, in which case even non-US persons can be subject to restrictive measures including loss of access to the US financial system, which can impact on their wider ability to trade.

The table attached below, which is reproduced with the kind permission of Reed Smith identifies the various sanctions regimes in place as at 16 April 2012, and includes links to the relevant list of "designated persons" for that country.