On 18 February 2015, the United States Departments of Commerce and Treasury adopted new rules easing restrictions on telecommunications exports to Sudan. These changes are intended to further the US government’s stated commitment to promote the advancement of the free flow of information in Sudan. The newly expanded rules are modelled after the approach adopted in Iran General License D-1 in respect of telecommunications exports to Iran.

The Department of Commerce adopted changes to the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) expanding the scope of authorised telecommunications-related exports to Sudan. Exports for the development of civil telecommunications in Sudan were previously subject to a policy of general denial but now will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The licence exception allowing exportation of consumer communications devices to Sudan has been expanded to include additional devices, including GPS devices. Additionally, the licence requirement for re-export to Sudan of certain telecommunications software has been removed.

At the same time, the Department of the Treasury made corresponding changes to the Sudan Sanctions Regulations. These regulations cover aspects of telecommunications transactions with Sudan that are beyond the scope of the EAR. For example, US persons are now authorised to export certain communications-related hardware that is not subject to the EAR from third countries to Sudan. However, the leasing of satellite or terrestrial network transmission capacity to persons in Sudan remains forbidden without a specific licence.