The Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC) has announced that it is issuing a general license for activities prohibited by the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations.  Effectively, that will make the sanctions’ prohibitions inoperative going forward, even as the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations themselves remain in place.  OFAC’s new rules, which become effective today, authorize all transactions that were prohibited under the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations and Executive Orders 13067 and 13412, including the processing of transactions involving persons in Sudan, the importation and exportation of goods, services, and technology to Sudan, and transactions involving property in which the Government of Sudan has an interest.  Specifically, the amendment to the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations has the following effect:

  • All property and interest in property blocked under the Sudanese Sanction Regulations will be unblocked;
  • All trade between the United States and Sudan that was previously prohibited by the Sudanese Sanction Regulations will be authorized;
  • All transactions by U.S. persons relating to the petroleum or petrochemical industries in Sudan that were previously prohibited by the Sudanese Sanction Regulations will be authorized; and
  • The facilitation of transactions between Sudan and third countries by U.S. persons previously prohibited by the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations will be permitted.

The amendment affects only the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations, found at 31 C.F.R. Part 538, and does not affect obligations under any other provision of 31 C.F.R. or requirements established by any other agency.

This amendment represents the U.S. Government’s utilization of sanctions not as a stick but as a carrot to encourage positive actions by foreign governments.  OFAC explained that it was amending the Sudanese Sanction Regulations “in connection with ongoing U.S.-Sudan bilateral engagement and in order to support and sustain positive developments in the country over the past six months.”  In doing so, the U.S. Government is acknowledging positive developments made by the Government of Sudan, including “its cessation of military offensives in Darfur and the Two Areas, its cooperative efforts to resolve the ongoing conflict in South Sudan and cease any activity to undermine stability there, to improve access for humanitarian assistance by reducing government obstruction and streamlining governing regulations, and to enhance bilateral counterterrorism and security cooperation, including efforts to counter the Lord’s Resistance Army.”

Additional information on the Sudanese Sanction Regulations, including the recent amendment, can be found on OFAC’s website here.