On September 14, 2016, President Obama issued an executive order terminating the national emergency with regard to Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire). Separately, on the same day, President Obama announced at a press conference that he intended to remove all economic sanctions against Burma. While the Ivory Coast sanctions were lifted effective September 14, 2016, the Burma sanctions program remain in effect until the President issues a similar executive order.
The Ivory Coast sanctions began in February 2006 with the issuance of Executive Order 13396, declaring a national emergency due to the violent unrest in the country. This followed the issuance of U.N. Security Council resolutions imposing an arms embargo on Ivory Coast. As we previously reported, due to the recent presidential election in Ivory Coast and the increased political stability, the U.N. Security Council and the U.S. Department of State terminated their arms embargoes against the country earlier this year. The issuance of this executive order means that no U.S. sanctions remain in force against Ivory Coast. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has removed the individuals and entities designated as Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) pursuant to the Ivory Coast sanctions from the SDN list. Additionally, OFAC will formally remove the applicable sanctions regulations in the near future.
The United States has imposed sanctions in some form against Burma since the late 1980s. The most stringent sanctions, including a ban on new investment in Burma and a ban on the import of Burmese-origin goods to the United States, were put into effect in 1997. Following political developments over the past few years, OFAC relaxed certain Burma-related sanctions in 2012 (as we previously reported), including authorization of certain new U.S. investment in Burma. Last week, President Obama announced that he intended to remove all outstanding economic sanctions against Burma at a press conference with Burma’s leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, appearing in Washington beside President Obama, stated that the removal of economic sanctions would bring much-desired economic development to Burma. OFAC has issued an FAQ stating that the removal of economic sanctions against Burma will not be legally effective until President Obama issues an executive order terminating the national emergency with regard to Burma. As with the Ivory Coast sanctions, at that time, no economic sanctions will remain against Burma, and all individuals and entities designated as SDNs under the Burma sanctions will be removed from the SDN list. Until then, the sanctions remain in effect.