Today the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Controls issued a general license that effectively removes US sanctions against Sudan (North) effective January 17, 2017. This new general license is an amendment to the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations (SSR), 31 C.F.R. part 538, that broadly authorizes all prohibited transactions, including transactions involving property in which the Government of Sudan has an interest. Newly authorized transactions include the processing of transactions involving persons in Sudan; the importation of goods and services from Sudan; the exportation of goods, technology, and services to Sudan; and transactions involving property in which the Government of Sudan has an interest.

A number of Sudanese entities and individuals remain blocked under other Executive Orders not impacted by the new general license, so it will still be important to screen all parties to any transaction to ensure no sanctioned parties are involved.

Wrinkle for agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices: The new general license includes a little wrinkle that is important for exporters of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices to Sudan. Section 906 of the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000, as amended (22 U.S.C. 7201 et seq.), requires exporters to obtain one-year licenses for the export of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices to Sudan. Accordingly, in the general license issued today, OFAC requires that any export or reexport of agricultural commodities, medicine, or medical devices to the Government of Sudan, to any individual or entity in Sudan, or to any person in a third country purchasing specifically for resale to Sudan, be shipped within the 12-month period beginning on the date of the signing of the contract for export or reexport.

The new general license was issued in conjunction with Executive Order, “Recognizing Positive Actions by the Government of Sudan and Providing for the Revocation of Certain Sudan-Related Sanctions." The EO, which has not been assigned a number yet, provides for the revocation of portions of EO 13067 and all of EO 13412 relating to Sudan sanctions effective July 12, 2017 provided that the Government of Sudan has sustained certain positive actions, including the cessation of hostilities in conflict areas, continued improvement of humanitarian access throughout Sudan, and maintaining cooperation with the United States on addressing regional conflicts and the threat of terrorism. This assessment is to be conducted by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Administrator of the US Agency for International Development, with a report and recommendations provided to the President.

Thus, there remains some question as to how long the General License will be in effect and there could be a re-imposition of some or all sanctions in six months. Therefore, companies are advised to keep this in mind when considering longer term projects or investments.