China: Shanghai Customs launch an Action Plan for clearance facilitation against AEO enterprise

The actions are divided into 4 segments, total 33 items. They cover most of China customs clearance formalities in giving privileged measure priorities, reducing frequency of supervision, lowering customs clearance costs, shortening the processing time, and optimizing service level.  

EU amending Regulation (EU) 2021/821 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the list of dual-use items

Having regard to Regulation (EU) 2021/821 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2021 setting up a Union regime for the control of exports, brokering, technical assistance, transit and transfer of dual-use items (1), and in particular Article 17(1)(a) thereof, Whereas:

  1. Pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2021/821 dual-use items are to be subject to effective control when they are exported from or in transit through the Union, or are delivered to a third country as a result of brokering services provided by a broker resident or established in the Union.
  2. Annex I to Regulation (EU) 2021/821 establishes the common list of dual-use items that are subject to controls in the Union. Decisions regarding the items subject to such controls are taken within the framework of internationally agreed dual-use controls.
  3. The list of dual-use items set out in Annex I to Regulation (EU) 2021/821 needs to be updated regularly in order to ensure full compliance with international security obligations, to guarantee transparency, and to maintain the competitiveness of economic operators. The control lists adopted by the international non-proliferation regimes and export control arrangements have been changed during 2022, and therefore Annex I to Regulation  (EU) 2021/821 should be amended accordingly, in accordance with Article 17(1)(a) of that Regulation. In order to facilitate references for export control authorities and economic operators, Annex I to that Regulation should be replaced.
  4. In order to ensure full compliance with international security obligations as soon as possible, this Regulation should enter into force on the day following that of its publication.
  5. Regulation (EU) 2021/821 should therefore be amended accordingly

European Union: DG Trade expands online business support for EU service exporters

DG Trade has expanded the scope of its online Trade Assistant for Services and Investment to cover one hundred services sectors across four of the EU’s key trading partners: Canada, Japan, Switzerland, and the UK. EU businesses now have access to an even more comprehensive database of information – free of charge and in all 24 EU languages – detailing the requirements they need to fulfil when exporting their specific service or investment to a third country. The Trade Assistant tool helps to empower European firms, including small and medium enterprises, to export around the world by ensuring that they are clear on the rules to follow. DG Trade plans to further expand the Trade Assistant for Services and Investment tool to four more key trading partners by the end of 2024 and a total of 16 countries by 2026.

EU Access to EU market boosts sustainable growth in low-income countries

A new joint report confirms that the EU's Generalised System of Preferences continues to support economic stability and sustainable development in low-income countries. The current GSP regulation will be extended for the period 2024-2027.

EU amends terrorist sanctions & non-EU country alignments

The EU has amended its ISIL (Da'esh) and Al-Qaida sanctions list, adding the original Arabic script for 5 listings. The candidate countries North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, and Bosnia and Herzegovina and Armenia have aligned themselves with the EU’s renewal of sanctions concerning Türkiye’s unauthorised drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. In addition, the candidate countries North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Ukraine, Moldova and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the potential candidate country Georgia, and the EFTA countries Liechtenstein and Norway have aligned themselves with the EU’s amendment and deletions under its Libya, Burma/Myanmar and Guinea sanctions regime.

EU introduces humanitarian exceptions to 10 sanctions regimes

The EU has introduced humanitarian exceptions to 10 sanctions regimes, allowing certain categories of humanitarian actors to engage in transactions with listed individuals and entities without any prior authorisation, if the purpose is to deliver humanitarian assistance or to support basic human needs of people in need. The EU will regularly review these added exceptions to evaluate their adequacy.  The 10 sanctions regimes are: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Guinea, Lebanon, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Tunisia, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and in relation to cyber-attacks. Humanitarian exceptions already apply to UN sanctions regimes at EU level and UN/EU mixed sanctions regimes, in which EU measures complement UN sanctions.

European Union: German Khan’s EU designation upheld in EU court

The General Court of the EU has rejected German Khan’s challenge to his inclusion on the EU’s Russia sanctions list.  Judgment here. The Court rejected arguments that the listing criteria lacked legal basis or proportionality. The Court upheld his designation because it said the EU had adequately demonstrated that the Alfa Group, which includes Alfa Bank, operates in the banking sector which provides a substantial source of revenue to the Russian government, and because he is a prominent businessperson; the Court rejected his evidence that he had sold his shares in Alfa bank pre sanctions.

EU amends & renews various sanctions regimes

The EU has amended its Central African Republic sanctions regime by widening the arms embargo CAR government derogation, implementing UN Resolution 2693.  There is no longer a requirement that the provision of arms is for SSR (security sector reform) nor a requirement of pre-notification to the UN Sanctions Committee (Council Regulation (EU) 2023/2506). The EU has renewed until 30 November 2024 sanctions concerning Türkiye’s unauthorised drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean (Council Regulation (EU) 2023/2507).  Currently, 2 individuals are listed under this regime. The EU has amended 1 and deleted 3 listings under the Libya sanctions regime (Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2023/2501, Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2023/2504).

EU shortens Venezuela sanctions renewal period & amends sanctions list entries

In view of the situation in Venezuela, the Council decided exceptionally to extend its restrictive measures for six months only instead of one year, until 14 May 2024. These restrictive measures include an embargo on arms and on equipment for internal repression as well as a travel ban and an asset freeze on 54 listed individuals. In connection to the latest review of the measures, one deceased person was removed from the list.

EU updates Haiti and DPRK sanctions list entries

The EU updated the entry for Jimmy Cherizier on its Haiti sanctions list, adding that he is “one of Haiti’s most influential gang leaders and leads an alliance of Haitian gangs known as the “G9 Family and Allies”. The EU deleted 1 (O Kuk-ryol, deceased) and updated 44 entries on its DPRK sanctions list, including ministers, nuclear research directors, and bank officials.

EU renews Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) sanctions

The EU renewed its DRC sanctions regime for a year, until 12 December 2024 - 24 individuals are currently subject to an asset freeze and travel ban.

EU court rejects Russian businessman’s application for de-listing

The General Court of the EU has rejected the application for de-listing by a Russian businessman who was EU-designated on 15 March 2022 for being a “large shareholder in the Alfa Group conglomerate” and for having “ties with the Russian president”. The court rejected all grounds of challenge based on discrimination, foreseeability, good administration, and proportionality, reasons and error of assessment. 
On notification, the court said the EU Council did not breach its obligations to communicate the designation to the individual because they did not have his address. 

EU designates Hamas members

The EU has added 2 individuals linked to Hamas to its terrorist list, the first Hamas-related designations the EU has made since the 7 October 2023 attacks in Israel:

  • Mohammed Deif, Commander General of the military wing of Hamas (Brigades Ezzedin al-Qassam) since 2002; and
  • Marwan Issa, the deputy Commander of the military wing of Hamas.

EU Council and Parliament reach political agreement to criminalise violation of EU sanctions

The Spanish presidency of the Council and the European Parliament concluded their negotiations for an EU law which introduces criminal offences and penalties for the violation of EU sanctions. This directive ensures that those who violate or circumvent EU sanctions will be prosecuted. This gains particular importance in the context of the Russian war of aggresion against Ukraine.
The law lays down that member states will need to define certain actions as criminal offences. These include:

  • helping persons subject to EU restrictive measures to bypass a travel ban
  • trading sanctioned goods and running transactions with states or entities which are hit by EU restrictive measures
  • providing financial services or performing financial activities which are prohibited or restricted
  • covering up the ownership of funds or economic resources by a person, entity or body which is sanctioned by the EU

EU renews Mali & global human rights sanctions regimes

The EU has renewed its autonomous Mali sanctions regime until 14 December 2024. One individual was also de-listed.  Five individuals remain listed for obstructing the political transition in Mali. The UN ended its Mali sanctions regime in September 2023 after Russia exercised its veto to block the renewal. The EU has prolonged its global human rights sanctions regime until 8 December 2026.  Currently, 67 individuals and 20 entities are listed.

EU makes Burma/Myanmar designations

The EU has designated 4 individuals and 2 entities pursuant to its Burma/Myanmar sanctions regime:

  • a Union Minister, two other members of the State Administrative Council (SAC), and a commander allegedly responsible for airstrikes targeting civilians in Kayah state; and
  • Star Sapphire Group of Companies and Royal Shune Lei Company Limited, companies generating income for the military regime and providing arms and other equipment used by the armed forces.

EU: Third countries align with EU sanctions against Central African Republic and Venezuela

On 9 November 2023, the European Council adopted Decision (CFSP) 2023/2487 concerning restrictive measures against Central African Republic in relation to the supply of arms. The High Representative of the EU, Josep Borrell announced that the following countries have aligned themselves with the Council Decision and will implement national policies accordingly:

  • the candidate countries North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Ukraine, Republic of Moldova and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the potential candidate country Georgia; and
  • the EFTA countries Liechtenstein and Norway.

He also announced that the restrictive measures, including all designations, with the exception of one deceased person, set out in Decision (CFSP) 2023/2498 adopted on 10 November 2023 in relation to Venezuela should be renewed until 14 May 2024, and that the following countries have aligned themselves with the Council Decision:

  • the candidate countries North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Ukraine, Republic of Moldova and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the potential candidate country Georgia; and
  • the EFTA countries Liechtenstein.

EU provisional agreement to criminalise sanctions violations

The EU Council and Parliament have concluded their negotiations for an EU law which introduces criminal offences and penalties for the violation of EU sanctions for individuals and entities. The proposed law would require member states to define certain actions as criminal offences and provide for period within which legal action must be initiated. These include:

  • helping persons subject to EU restrictive measures to bypass a travel ban;
  • trading sanctioned goods and running transactions with states or entities subject to EU restrictive measures;
  • providing financial services or performing financial activities which are prohibited or restricted;
  • covering up the ownership of funds or economic resources by a person, entity or body which is sanctioned by the EU; and
  • inciting, aiding and abetting these offences will constitute a crime.

The provisional agreement will now be submitted to the member states’ representatives for endorsement.

France designates Hamas officials

France has added Mohammed Deïf and Marwan Issa to its national sanctions list, who are allegedly leaders of the Ezzedin al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas. The 2 individuals designated by France were also designated by the UK this week.

Switzerland update ordinance on measures against Venezuela

The Swiss Federal Department of Economic affairs has updated annex 1 of the ordinance on measures against Venezuela issued on March 28, 2018. These amendments include:

  • Modification of entries for 16 individuals
  • Deletion of the entry for 1 individual

The updated measures came into force at 6pm on 28 November 2023.

Switzerland updates Russia sanctions guidance

Switzerland has updated its interpretative aid for sanctions measures, adding points 2.1.5 and 2.3.5 and amending point 2.4.9:

  • Point 2.1.5 confirms that the 30 September 2023 ban on the import of iron and steel products from third countries, which contain Russian iron or steel inputs, does not apply to iron and steel products manufactured before 23 June 2023;
  • Point 2.3.5 outlines that the reporting obligation under Article 16 of the Switzerland Russia Ordinance applies to all existing entries in annex 8 (designated individuals) and all future entries in annex 8; and
  • Point 2.4.9 clarifies that payments from government agencies (such as tax refunds or pensions), including payments exceeding 100,000 Francs, are permitted, as they do not fall under Article 20 of the Ordinance.

United Kingdom: New UK iron and steel Russia general trade license & updated guidance

The UK Department for Business & Trade has introduced a new general trade licence for sanctioned iron and steel, which permits the import (and related services and actions) into the UK of goods that would otherwise be prohibited by the third country Russia-connected iron and steel ban where the goods:

  • are used as reuseable packaging;
  • were manufactured or produced before 21 April 2023; or
  • were previously in free circulation in the UK.

The licence may also be used where a trader is unaware of a good’s origin, such that the goods are potentially prohibited  The guidance on third country processed iron and steel measures has been updated to reflect this.

UK amends Russia listing and travel GL and Turkish aerospace licence

The UK Govt has amended the listing for Vadym Oleksandrovich Tregub, who is listed for being associated with Sergei Vadimovich Tregub. OFSI has amended the Russian travel general licence to make it clear that the GL only permits the purchase of tickets from a DP or subsidiary for passenger rail or passenger air journeys. The Department for Business & Trade has amended the open general export licence (exports in support of Turkish Aerospace Industries TF-X programme) to reflect that TF-X is also known as “KAAN”.

United Kingdom: New UK to levy to level carbon pricing

The UK is to implement a new import carbon pricing mechanism by 2027 to support the decarbonisation drive. Goods imported into the UK from countries with a lower or no carbon price will have to pay a levy by 2027, ensuring products from overseas face a comparable carbon price to those produced in the UK. The UK has a track record to be proud of on decarbonisation. We were the first major economy to legislate for net zero and we are reducing our emissions faster than any other G7 country. 

Decarbonising UK industry forms an important part of delivering the energy transformation needed to achieve net zero. But these efforts will not succeed if decarbonisation in the UK simply leads to higher emissions abroad. The carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) will ensure highly traded, carbon intensive products from overseas in the iron, steel, aluminium, fertiliser, hydrogen, ceramics, glass and cement sectors face a comparable carbon price to those produced here.

The new rules will tackle ‘carbon leakage’, reducing the risk of production and associated emissions being displaced to other countries because they have a lower or no carbon price. Carbon leakage undermines the country’s efforts to decarbonise as the world transitions to net zero. The charge applied by the CBAM will depend on the amount of carbon emitted in the production of the imported good, and the gap between the carbon price applied in the country of origin - if any - and the carbon price faced by UK producers. Taking this action will ensure the environmental integrity of our decarbonisation policies and will give industry in the UK the confidence to continue to invest in decarbonisation, with the knowledge that it will result in a true net reduction in global emissions.  

On 18th December, news comes as the government publishes its response to a consultation on a range of domestic carbon leakage mitigation measures – which found 85% of respondents said that carbon leakage is a current or future risk to their decarbonisation efforts. This is because not all jurisdictions are moving at the same pace with the risk that UK emissions reductions do not translate into global emissions reductions, but rather that UK emissions get displaced to other less climate ambitious countries. The action announced today will help address that risk. The design and delivery of the CBAM will be subject to further consultation in 2024, including the precise list of products in scope. The government will also engage with trade partners, including developing countries, and affected businesses and organisations, to minimise the impact on trade and the necessary compliance steps.

Alongside a CBAM, the government is also announcing its intention to work with industry to establish voluntary product standards that businesses could choose to adopt to help promote their low carbon products to customers; and to develop a framework which measures the carbon content of goods, that could support other decarbonisation policies in future. And today, in addition to the government announcing a UK CBAM, stakeholders including power, aviation and industrial sectors have been invited to offer their views on proposed changes to the UK Emissions Trading Scheme, that will ensure it continues to support the UK’s progress to net zero.

A CBAM will work alongside the UK Emissions Trading Scheme to mitigate the risk of carbon leakage. The ETS Authority is consulting how to better target free allocations of carbon allowances for industries most at risk of carbon leakage, under the ETS. The Authority will also review whether free allocation should be adjusted to reflect any changes to carbon leakage risk for given sectors. It is also setting out plans to ensure the ETS market continues to offer an effective financial incentive that drives its participants to decarbonise, following a call for evidence last year, with industries being asked for their view a range of potential measures – including on the design of a new Supply Adjustment Mechanism.

The government remains committed to supporting industry to decarbonise including with the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund, the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio and £20 billion investment in development of carbon capture and storage.

United Kingdom: Introduction of new trade sanctions against Iran

Restriction on export measures have been applied on the following commodity codes classified under tariff headings 8407, 8408, 8409, 8411, 8471, 8517, 8525, 8526, 8529, 8537, 8542, 8543, 8548, 8806 etc.,

United Kingdom: Update to a Sanctions General Trade Licence

A General Trade Licence is now in place which can be used in limited circumstances when importing certain iron and steel items falling to commodity codes 7206-29 and Chapter 73, subject to Russia sanctions.

UK government guidance on ownership and control

The UK FCDO and OFSI have issued guidance on the meaning of “owned or controlled” in the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. The guidance follows the Mints and Litasco judgments, which discuss ownership and control. The guidance says:

  • the Government does not generally consider designated public officials to exercise control over a public body in which they hold a leadership function, such that the affairs of that public body should be considered to be conducted in accordance with the wishes of that individual;
  • there is no presumption on the part of the UK government that a private entity is subject to the control of a designated public official simply because that entity is based in or incorporated in a jurisdiction in which that official has a leading role in economic policy or decision-making;
  • the Government does not consider that President Putin “controls” all entities in the Russian economy.

UK ECJU publishes new version of strategic export controls guidance

The UK Export Control Joint Unit has rewritten and published a new version of its guidance on strategic export controls. The guidance is for those who export or transfer in goods, software or technology (including data, information and technical assistance) which might be subject to strategic export controls.  It explains what control lists are, as well as who they apply to and when, to enable exporters to comply with the law.

UK and South Korea sign sanctions accord

During the state visit to the UK, a sanctions accord was signed between the South Korean President, Yoon Suk Yeol and UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, which includes a defence agreement between the UK and South Korea to jointly enforce UN sanctions on North Korea and other security and defence cooperation.

UK announces new unit to clamp down on evasion of Russian sanctions

UK Industry and Economic Security Minister announced that the UK government will be creating a new enforcement unit, the Office of Trade Sanctions Implementation (OTSI) to increase its power to clamp down on companies evading Russian sanctions. OTSI will be responsible for the civil enforcement of trade sanctions, investigating breaches, issuing penalties and referring cases for criminal enforcement.

The Department for Business and Trade will also help businesses comply with sanctions, and its remit will include activity by any UK national or UK-registered company that may be avoiding sanctions by sending products through other countries. The announcement comes as the UK is expected to introduce fresh sanctions targeting machine parts and electronics used in the war against the Ukraine, as well as products that raise revenue for the Russian war machine.

United Kingdom: Update to Simplified Procedure Value

The Simplified Procedure Value (SPV) has been updated. The update applies to the period between 08 December 2023 and 21 December 2023. If you import whole fruit or vegetables (Classified under tariff chapter 07 and 08) into the UK on a consignment basis you may be able to use a simplified procedure value using the method 4 valuation to declare the produce. Fruit or vegetable products that are cut and diced before they’re imported are excluded from the scheme.