Regulatory Compliance updates 03/22

March 21, 2022

Australia: Russia sanctions regime

Australia imposes autonomous sanctions in relation to Russia in response to the Russian threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. They were first imposed in 2014 and extended in 2015 and 2022. Australia imposes other autonomous sanctions in relation to Crimea and Sevastopol, and in relation to Ukraine, in response to the Russian threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Australia will also extend to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine the sanctions measures already applied to Crimea and Sevastopol. These sanctions measures target exports and commercial activity in relation to the transport, telecommunications, energy and exploitation of oil, gas and mineral reserve sectors; and prohibit all imports.

These sanctions measures will apply to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine from 28 March 2022. This will allow Australians and Australian entities with interests in those regions to consider whether their activities are captured by the sanctions measures; and if they are, either to cease their activities, or to apply to the Minister for Foreign Affairs for a sanctions permit to continue their activities.  The Regulations also include a power for the Minister to specify other areas of Ukraine, should they fall under Russian influence, to which these sanctions measures would then apply.

Canadian Sanctions Related to Russia

  • On February 24, 2022, Canada further amended the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations twice. In the first instance, amendments were made in response to the Russian recognition of the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine’s Donetsk so called people’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk people’s Republic (LNR) regions and added 351 members of the State Duma to Schedule 1, three (3) entities to Schedule 3.1, two (2) entities to Schedule 1, new prohibitions on Russian sovereign debt, and new criteria for listing targets. In the second instance, amendments were made in response to the Russian military attack against Ukraine’s territory in the so called DNR and LNR regions and added 31 new individuals and 19 new entities to Schedule 1 of the Regulations. These are subject to a broad dealings ban. In addition, five (5) entities were moved from Schedule 2 to Schedule 1 and three (3) entities were moved from Schedule 3 to Schedule 1, which resulted in broader prohibitions imposed on these entities. 
  • On February 28, 2022, Canada further amended the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations to add eighteen members of the Security Council of the Russian Federation responsible for these actions, including President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu, Minister of Justice Konstantin Chuychenko, and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. The amendments also moved three entities from Schedule 3.1 to Schedule 1. 
  • On March 4, 2022, Canada further amended the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations to add 10 executives in the energy sector, working for the state-owned or controlled oil entities Rosneft or Gazprom. 
  • On March 6, 2022, Canada further amended the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations to add 10 current or former senior government officials and their close associates, as well as agents of disinformation. Canada also prohibited any ship that is registered in Russia or used, leased or chartered, in whole or in part, by or on behalf of or for the benefit of Russia, a person in Russia or a designated person from docking in Canada or passing through Canadian waters. 
  • On March 10, 2022, Canada further amended the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations to add 32 defense entities, most of which are owned by the state or have contracts with the Government of Russia; to add five (5) individuals who are current and former senior officials and associates of the regime; as well as to prohibit any person in Canada and any Canadian outside Canada from importing specific petroleum products listed in a new Schedule 5. 
  • On March 14, 2022, Canada further amended the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations to add 15 senior officials of the Government of Russia, who are now subject to a broad dealings ban.

China updates its import-permitted retail list for E-commerce

Recently China Ministry of Finance and other eight departments announced that they have revised and
Updated the import-permitted retail list for E-commerce from March 1, 2022.
Based on the 2019 version, 29 items such as ski appliances, household dishwashing machines and tomato
juice, have been added to the list. Meanwhile, according to the changes of tariff items in China in recent years, the HTS of some commodities have been adjusted, and the remarks of some commodities on the list have been adjusted and optimized according to regulatory requirements. In summary:

  • Add 29 new commodities
  • Delete 1 existing commodity
  • Adjust the HTS of commodities in the list according to the revision of tariff rules and adjustment of tariff items in recent years:
    • Add 115 new HTS for 2022
    • Deletion of 80 invalidated HTS
  • Adjust the remarks of 206 commodities

EU adopts fourth package of sanctions against Russia

On 15 March 2022, the EU decided to impose a fourth package of economic and individual sanctions in response to Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. The new measures include a prohibition on:

  • all transactions with certain state-owned enterprises
  • the provision of credit rating services to any Russian person or entity
  • new investments in the Russian energy sector

The Council expanded the list of persons connected to Russia’s defence and industrial base, on whom tighter export restrictions were imposed regarding dual-use goods, and goods and technology which might contribute to Russia’s technological enhancement of its defence and security sector. The EU also introduced:

  • trade restrictions for iron, steel and luxury goods
  • sanctions on an additional 15 individuals and 9 entities

EU extends sanctions over territorial integrity for a further six months

The Council decided to extend the sanctions targeting those responsible for undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine for a further six months until 15 September 2022. The existing restrictive measures provide for travel restrictions, the freezing of assets, and a ban on making funds or other economic resources available to the listed persons and entities. Sanctions will continue to apply to 862 individuals and 53 entities. 

EU imposes restrictive measures on an additional 160 individuals

The Council decided to impose restrictive measures on an additional 160 individuals in respect of the ongoing unjustified and unprovoked Russian military aggression against Ukraine and of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. The listed individuals include:

  • 14 oligarchs and prominent businesspeople involved in key economic sectors providing a substantial source of revenue to the Russian Federation
  • 146 members of the Russian Federation Council

Altogether, EU restrictive measures now apply to a total of 862 individuals and 53 entities. 

EU agrees new measures targeting Belarus and Russia

In response to the involvement of Belarus in the unjustified and unprovoked Russian military aggression against Ukraine, the Council has adopted additional measures targeting the Belarusian financial sector. The agreed measures will:

  • restrict the provision of specialised financial messaging services (SWIFT) to three Belarusian banks
  • prohibit transactions with the Central Bank of Belarus
  • prohibit the listing and provision of services in relation to shares of Belarusian state-owned entities on EU trading venues
  • significantly limit the financial inflows from Belarus to the EU
  • prohibit the provision of euro-denominated banknotes to Belarus

Furthermore the Council has introduced further restrictive measures with regard to the export of maritime navigation goods and radio communication technology to Russia. 

EU imposes sanctions on Russian state-owned outlets Russia Today and Sputnik

The EU has approved the suspension of the broadcasting activities in the EU of the outlets Sputnik and Russia Today until the aggression against Ukraine is brought to an end and until the Russian Federation and its associated outlets cease conducting disinformation and information manipulation actions against the EU and its member states. Sputnik and Russia Today are under the permanent direct or indirect control of the authorities of the Russian Federation and are key to promoting and supporting the military aggression against Ukraine and to destabilising its neighbouring countries.

EU introduces a SWIFT ban for certain Russian banks

The EU has excluded seven Russian banks from SWIFT. This will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally. The seven banks are Bank Otkritie, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank, Rossiya Bank, Sovcombank, Vnesheconombank (VEB), and VTB Bank. The EU has also introduced a ban on:

  • investing, participating or otherwise contributing to future projects co-financed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund
  • selling, supplying, transferring or exporting euro banknotes to Russia or to any natural or legal person or entity in Russia

EU adopts new measures in response to Russia’s invasion

The EU has approved new measures to respond to the unprovoked and unjustified military aggression carried out by the Russian Federation against Ukraine. The new measures include:

  • a ban on transactions with the Russian Central Bank
  • € 500 million support package to finance equipment and supplies to the Ukrainian armed forces
  • a ban on the overflight of EU airspace and on access to EU airports by Russian carriers
  • new sanctions on additional 26 persons and one entity

EU imposes sanctions against Vladimir Putin and Sergey Lavrov

The EU has decided to freeze the assets of Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, and of Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. In addition, it has imposed restrictive measures on the members of the National Security Council of the Russian Federation and on the remaining members of the Russian State Duma who supported Russia’s immediate recognition of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk ”republics”. The Council has also agreed on a further package of individual and economic measures to respond to the unprovoked and unjustified military aggression carried out by the Russian Federation against Ukraine. These sanctions cover the finance, energy, transport and technology sectors, as well as visa policy. 

EU: New package of sanctions against Russia (23 Feb 2022)

The Council agreed on a package of measures to respond to the decision by the Russian Federation to proceed with the recognition of the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in Ukraine as independent entities, and the ensuing decision to send Russian troops into these areas. The agreed package includes:

  • targeted sanctions against the 351 members of the Russian State Duma and an additional 27 individuals
  • restrictions on economic relations with the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts
  • restrictions on Russia's access the EU’s capital and financial markets and services

EU imposes new Iron and Steel import restrictions from Russia and denies Russia Most Favoured Nation status

The EU introduced, on 15 March 2022, a number of additional sanctions measures including in particular on the direct or indirect import of certain iron and steel products if they originate in or have been exported from Russia. In accordance with the European Commission’s (“EC“) press release on the new measures that the ban on steel products currently under EU safeguard measures will amount to approximately € 3.3 billion in lost export revenue for Russia. In order to compensate, increased import quotas will be distributed to other third countries. 

Japan introduces sanctions against 49 Russian organizations, companies

The government of Japan approved export sanctions against 49 Russian organizations and companies, including the Federal Security Service of Russia, the Foreign Intelligence Service, Rostec and Rosoboronexport companies," the Japan’s Foreign Ministry said.  Sanctions are imposed on the Central Bank of Russia, VEB and Promsvyazbank. Admiralty Shipyard, Irkut, Progress Rocket and Space Center and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology are also in the list. Also the government of Japan approved sanctions against six Russian senior government officials, including President Vladimir Putin, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, Secretary of the Security Council Nikolay Patrushev, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov, Kyodo news agency said. This means the asset freeze, the news agency said. At the same time, Kyodo did not indicate details of presence of Japanese assets with Russian officials under sanctions. Measures to freeze all export deliveries to these organizations will be effective from March 8. Asset freeze for banks, except the Central Bank, will be effective from March 31. 

The UK issues new sanctions against Russia

The UK issued sanctions against Russia on various fronts such as Shipping sanctions, financial sanctions, and general licenses. Here are some of the kinds of sanctions being applied:

  • UK prohibits access to their ports to Russian ships and will detain Russian ships or specified ships at UK ports or anchorages and prohibits the registration of ships on the UK Ship Register where they are affiliated to Russia.
  • On the financial side, the UK prohibits the provision of financial services for foreign exchange reserve and asset management to ‘The Central Bank of the Russian federation the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation; ‘the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.’
  • The UK also issued two new General Licenses (GLs) they are: Russia: Regulatory Authorities – Prudential Supervision or Financial Stability” (Notice) and  the Russian Banks – UK subsidiaries – Basic needs, routine holding and maintenance and the payment of legal fees.

UK denies Russia access to Most Favoured Nation status and announces the imposition of new import tariffs on hundreds of Russian products

The UK announced on 15 March 2022 that it will impose import tariffs on hundreds of key Russian products. In addition to banning the export of luxury goods to Russia, the UK government has also published an initial list of goods worth £900 million – including vodka – which will now face additional 35 percent tariff, on top of any tariffs that are currently applicable. These relevant products are as follows: Iron, steel, fertilisers, wood, tyres, railway containers, cement, copper, aluminium, silver, lead, iron ore, residue/food waste products, beverages, spirits and vinegar (this includes vodka), glass and glassware, cereals, oil seeds, paper and paperboard, machinery, works of art, antiques, fur skins and artificial fur, ships and white fish. 

Turkish Ministry of Trade amends import control and inspection requirements for certain goods

The Turkish Ministry of Trade introduced the following changes regarding the control and inspection of certain imported goods, which are effective immediately:

  • Medicinal products for human use and intermediates used only for human health, pharmaceutical products to facilitate treatment and protect health (except those that need special permission, products within the scope of the Medical Device Regulation and those that will be used for analysis in laboratories or for drug research) with HS code 3002.49.00.0000 are now added to the list of products subject to compliance inspections for human health and safety within the scope of the Communiqué on the Import Control of Certain Products Inspected by the Ministry of Health (Product Safety and Inspection: 2022/20).
  • Processed asbestos (fiber), asbestos or mixtures based on asbestos and magnesium carbonate are included in the list of chemicals whose import is controlled as per the Communique on the Import Control of the Chemicals Kept under Control for the Protection of the Environment (Product Safety and Inspection: 2022/6).
  • Returned goods, marine fishery products and other products extracted from the sea, that are in free circulation in accordance with the Articles 168-171 of the Customs Law No. 4458 are no longer subject to the inspection requirements of Communiqué No: 2022/1 (Communique on the Implementation of Surveillance in Imports).

U.S. Treasury Announces Unprecedented & Expansive Sanctions Against Russia, Imposing Swift and Severe Economic Costs

Targeting Russia’s Two Largest Financial Institutions

Treasury has taken unprecedented action against Russia’s two largest financial institutions, Public Joint Stock Company Sberbank of Russia (Sberbank)and VTB Bank Public Joint Stock Company (VTB Bank), drastically altering their fundamental ability to operate. On a daily basis, Russian financial institutions conduct about $46 billion worth of foreign exchange transactions globally, 80 percent of which are in U.S. dollars. The vast majority of those transactions will now be disrupted. By cutting off Russia’s two largest banks — which combined make up more than half of the total banking system in Russia by asset value — from processing payments through the U.S. financial system. The Russian financial institutions subject to today’s action can no longer benefit from the remarkable reach, efficiency, and security of the U.S. financial system. 

Blocking Other Major Russian Financial Institutions

OFAC has imposed blocking sanctions on three additional major Russian financial institutions: Otkritie, Novikom, and Sovcom. These three financial institutions play significant roles in the Russian economy, holding combined assets worth $80 billion. These designations further restrict the Russian financial services sector and greatly diminish the ability of other critical Russian economic sectors from accessing global markets, attracting investment, and utilizing the U.S. dollar. 

Debt and equity prohibitions against major state-owned and private entities

In a move to limit Russia’s ability to finance its invasion against Ukraine or other priorities of President Putin, OFAC expanded Russia-related debt and equity restrictions to additional key aspects of Russia’s economy. To implement this action, OFAC issued Directive 3 under E.O. 14024, “Prohibitions Related to New Debt and Equity of Certain Russia-related Entities” (the “Russia-related Entities Directive”) to prohibit transactions and dealings by U.S. persons or within the United States in new debt of longer than 14 days maturity and new equity of Russian state-owned enterprises, entities that operate in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy, and other entities determined to be subject to the prohibitions in this directive.
These 13 major firms, which are listed in Annex 1 to the Russia-related Entities Directive, include companies critical to the Russian economy and six of Russia’s largest financial institutions. They are now heavily restricted from raising money through the U.S. market — a key source of capital and revenue generation, which limits the Kremlin’s ability to raise money for its malign activity — including to support the further invasion of Ukraine. 

General Licenses

To ensure that these sanctions and prohibitions have an impact on the intended targets and to minimize unintended consequences on third parties, OFAC has also issued several general licenses in connection with these actions. In particular, payments for energy are from production to consumption. The sanctions and license package has been constructed to account for the challenges high energy prices pose to average citizens and doesn’t prevent banks from processing payments for them. Specifically, OFAC issued eight general licenses authorizing certain transactions related to:

  • international organizations and entities;
  • agricultural and medical commodities and the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • overflight and emergency landings;
  • energy;
  • dealings in certain debt or equity;
  • derivative contracts;
  • the wind down of transactions involving certain blocked persons; and
  • the rejection of transactions involving certain blocked persons.

United States: US ECCN country controls update

US BIS has updated the ECCN country controls to includes the sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus. 

United States: CBP issues guidance on petroleum imports from Russia

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued guidance to implement Part A of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) General License No. 16, Authorizing Transactions Related to Certain Imports Prohibited by Executive Order of 8 March 2022 Prohibiting Certain Imports and New Investments With Respect to Continued Russian Federation Efforts to Undermine the Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity of Ukraine (“GL16“). GL16 expires at 12:01 am Eastern daylight time on 22 April 2022. After 22 April, Executive Order 14066, signed by President Biden on 8 March, prohibits crude oil; petroleum; petroleum fuels, oils, and products of their distillation; liquefied natural gas; coal; and coal products from the Russian Federation from entering the United States. Through 22 April, filers of entries or admissions to Foreign Trade Zones for shipments of crude oil; petroleum; petroleum fuels, oils, and products of their distillation; liquefied natural gas; coal; and coal products of Russian Federation origin will be required to provide to CBP purchase orders and/or executed contracts and/or any other documentation showing when the order and/or contract went into effect. Filers are required to provide this documentation prior to unlading at the US port of entry, and preferably prior to arrival. Documentation should include conveyance information, bill of lading number(s) and entry number(s) or FTZ admission information. CBP will place holds on both unlading and cargo pending verification of the required information. 

Vietnam: New extended producer responsibility regime – recycling and waste treatment obligations for certain producers and importers

Vietnam has introduced a new extended producer responsibility (EPR) regime that places responsibility on producers and importers to manage waste associated with the full life-cycle of their products. EPR in Vietnam is implemented via Decree No. 08/2022/ND-CP implementing some Articles in the Law on Environmental Protection ("Decree No. 08"), and Circular No. 02/2022/TT-BTNMT on the Detailed Implementation of some Articles in the Law on Environmental Protection ("Circular No. 02"), both effective 10 January 2022. EPR in Vietnam is introduced in the form of the following mandatory frameworks:

  • Recycling framework for packaging waste management ("Packaging Recycling Obligations")
  • Recycling framework for products ("Product Recycling Obligations")
  • Waste management framework for products that are difficult to recycle or that cannot be recycled ("Waste Treatment Obligations")

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