On 15 June 2012, the Council of the European Union (Council) approved Council Regulation (EU) No 11222/12, enhancing EU sanctions on luxury and dual use goods exported to Syria. These regulations entered into force on 17 June 2012. These measures are the latest in a series of Regulations and Decisions, beginning on 9 May 2011, which have increased the scope of sanctions against designated government officials and agencies of Syria, in response to the current political and humanitarian situation arising from repression by the Assad regime. Council Regulation (EU) No 11222/12 follows the expansion of EU restrictions, discussed in a prior advisory, against Syria and the Government of Syria.
The key new developments prohibit the export to Syria of certain categories of luxury and dual use goods, and subject other dual use goods to prior authorization by the EU. The restrictions apply irrespective of the origin of the regulated goods, and to any person, entity, or body in Syria, or for use in Syria. The Council also allows for the waiver of the restriction where a license is first obtained and exported goods and technology are for food, agricultural, medical and other humanitarian purposes.
- Prohibition on Exports of Luxury Goods to Syria. Examples include:
- Caviar, truffles, and cigars, exceeding 10 Euros per item in sales price;
- Wines and spirits, exceeding 50 Euros per liter in sales price;
- Leather goods, exceeding 200 Euros per item; Garments and shoes, exceeding 600 Euros;
- Jewelry, gems, and pearls;
- Tableware, clocks, and watches, exceeding 200 Euros, lead crystal glassware, exceeding 200 Euros; and
- Luxury vehicles, planes and boats, and new vehicles exceeding 25,000 Euros.
- Prohibition on Exports of Dual Use Goods to Syria. Examples include:
- Protection and detection equipment, including gas masks and protective suits;
- Chemical manufacturing facilities, including reaction vessels and storage tanks;
- Chemicals that may be used as precursors for toxic chemical agents; and
- Human, animal and plant pathogens, including certain viruses, bacteria, and toxins.
- Dual Use Goods Subject to Authorization Prior to Export to Syria. Examples of dual use goods that require prior authorization under the most recent EU regulation include:
- Certain chemicals and toxins;
- Laboratory equipment and chemical manufacturing facilities, such as valves or vacuum pumps; and
- Technology and software required for the development, production or use of goods requiring authorization for export to Syria.
Status of US Sanctions on Syria Compared to EU Regulations
Like the EU, the United States has implemented increasing sanctions against Syria targeting those responsible for the political and humanitarian situation. US export controls and sanctions are currently broader than the EU trade embargo. Since 2004, the United States has imposed an export license requirement, and a policy of general denial, for the export and re-export to Syria of all US-origin commodities, software, and technology, i.e., subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), including but not limited to luxury and dual use goods, other than food and medicine designated “EAR99.”
On August 18, 2011, President Obama imposed more expansive economic sanctions on Syria, restricting US persons from providing “services” to Syria and making new investments in Syria. Although these sanctions do not directly prohibit US persons from exporting or reexporting non-US-origin goods from third countries to Syria, the restriction on services could prevent US persons from engaging in such business dealings, unless a license is first obtained from the US Government or an applicable exemption, exception, or general authorization can be used. There is some risk that the US Government could, in certain circumstances, view activities by a US person to support, finance, or broker sales of a non-US origin good as an unlawful export of services to Syria.