On July 11, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order allowing additional time to consider actions by the Government of Sudan before lifting US sanctions on Sudan (“July Executive Order”).
As outlined in our previous blog post, former President Obama had issued Executive Order 13761 on January 13, 2017, (“Sudan Executive Order”), which called for termination in six months the sanctions provisions of certain executive orders that serve as the basis for US sanctions targeting Sudan, implemented through the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations (“SSR”), provided that the Government of Sudan continued to sustain certain positive actions. Such “positive actions” include maintaining a cessation of hostilities in areas in Sudan, improving humanitarian access throughout Sudan, and maintaining cooperation with the United States on addressing regional conflicts and the threat of terrorism. As further described below, a general license by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) was also issued at that time so that in the interim, US persons could engage in Sudan-related transactions in anticipation of the termination. The termination of such executive orders would have had the effect of not only eliminating the SSR, but also the de-listing of Specially Designated Nationals currently listed under the [SUDAN] tag on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List. The provisions of the Sudan Executive Order that would have terminated US sanctions against Sudan were set to go into effect on July 12, 2017. The July Executive Order amends the Sudan Executive Order such that termination of the sanctions is now set to go into effect on October 12, 2017, extending the review period for an additional three months.
A press statement issued concurrently by the State Department further explained that the US Government will terminate sanctions on Sudan in three months if the Government of Sudan continues to sustain the positive actions that gave rise to the Sudan Executive Order, as outlined above. Importantly, the press statement clarifies that OFAC’s general license, which was issued in conjunction with the Sudan Executive Order to broadly authorize US persons to engage in most prohibited transactions under the SSR with respect to Sudan, remains in place. To that end, on July 12, 2017, OFAC also issued FAQ 506, which reiterates that both the SSR and the general license will remain in place until the extended review period is complete.