On October 29, 2015, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued Belarus-related General License No. 2, authorizing transactions otherwise prohibited by, and involving Belarusian entities blocked pursuant to, Executive Order 13405. The general license is effective only from October 30, 2015 through April 30, 2016, unless extended or revoked.

General License No. 2 applies to all Belarusian entities currently identified as specially designated nationals (“SDNs”) pursuant to Executive Order 13405, and any entities owned, directly or indirectly, 50% or more by one or more of those SDNs, as follows:

  1. Belneftekhim
  2. Belneftekhim USA, Inc.
  3. Lakokraska OAO
  4. Polotsk Steklovolokno OAO
  5. Belarusian Oil Trade House
  6. Belshina OAO
  7. Grodno Azot OAO
  8. Grodno Khimvolokno OAO
  9. Naftan OAO   

All property and interests in property of the entities described above that were blocked prior to October 30, 2015 remain blocked unless authorized by OFAC. General License No. 2 also does not authorize transactions with any other person blocked pursuant to Executive Order 13405 or the Belarus Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 548, whether directly or indirectly, even if they otherwise involve SDNs covered by General License No. 2.

In addition, General License No. 2 requires that U.S. person engaging in any transaction or series of transactions in excess of $10,000 involving any of the above SDNs file a report with the US State Department’s Office of Eastern European Affairs within 15 days of the transaction’s execution. The reports must include (1) estimated or actual dollar value of the transaction(s), (2) the parties involved, (3) the type and scope of activities conducted, and (4) the dates or duration of the activities.

According to a State Department press briefing, the general license represents a “limited reprieve” from sanctions in response to the Belarusian Government’s release of six political prisoners on August 22, 2015. OFAC may extend General License No. 2 beyond April 30, 2016 or revoke it before that date in response to additional actions by the Belarusian Government. It is not clear or known whether a wind-down or grandfathering period would be included with a revocation. In 2008, OFAC issued a similar general license authorizing transactions with Lakokraska OAO and/or Polotsk Stoklovolokno OAO, in response to the Belarusian Government’s release of political prisoners. OFAC extended that general license five times before revoking it effective February 11, 2011, with a brief wind-down period.