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18°c Los Angeles CA, US

Restrictions & Sanctions

US sanctions against Cuba (USA)

On 16 January 2015 the amended Cuban Assets Control Regulations (31 C.F.R. § 515) came into effect upon publication in the Federal Register implementing policy changes as announced by the President on 17 December 2014. One of the amendments is to section 515.550 Certain vessel transactions authorized which broadened the definition of vessels permitted to engage in trade with Cuba, subject to specific licensing requirements.

§515.550 was updated 17 October 2016 to read:

§ 515.550 Certain vessel transactions authorized.

(a) Unless a vessel is otherwise engaging or has otherwise engaged in transactions that would prohibit entry pursuant to § 515.207, § 515.207 shall not apply to a vessel that is:

(1) Engaging or has engaged in trade with Cuba authorized pursuant to this part;

Note to paragraph (a)(1):

The authorization in this paragraph includes, for example, trade with Cuba authorized pursuant to § 515.533, § 515.559, or § 515.582, or by specific license.

(2) Engaging or has engaged in trade with Cuba that is exempt from the prohibitions of this part (see § 515.206);

(3) Engaging or has engaged in the exportation or re-exportation to Cuba from a third country of agricultural commodities, medicine, or medical devices that, were they subject to the Export Administration Regulations (15 CFR parts 730 through 774) (EAR), would be designated as EAR99;

(4) A foreign vessel that has entered a port or place in Cuba while carrying students, faculty, and staff that are authorized to travel to Cuba pursuant to § 515.565(a); or

(5) Carrying or has carried persons between the United States and Cuba or within Cuba pursuant to the authorization in § 515.572(a)(2) or, in the case of a vessel used solely for personal travel (and not transporting passengers), pursuant to a license or other authorization issued by the Department of Commerce for the exportation or re-exportation of the vessel to Cuba.

(b) Unless a vessel is otherwise engaging or has otherwise engaged in transactions that would prohibit entry pursuant to § 515.207, § 515.207(a) shall not apply to a foreign vessel that has engaged in the exportation to Cuba from a third country only of items that, were they subject to the EAR, would be designated as EAR99 or would be controlled on the Commerce Control List only for anti-terrorism reasons.

[81 FR 71376, Oct. 17, 2016]”

§515.207 is set out below:

§515.207 Entry of vessels engaged in trade with Cuba.

Except as specifically authorized by the Secretary of the Treasury (or any person, agency or instrumentality designated by him), by means of regulations, rulings, instructions, licenses or otherwise,

(a) No vessel that enters a port or place in Cuba to engage in the trade of goods or the purchase or provision of services, may enter a U.S. port for the purpose of loading or unloading freight for a period of 180 days from the date the vessel departed from a port or place in Cuba; and

(b) No vessel carrying goods or passengers to or from Cuba or carrying goods in which Cuba or a Cuban national has an interest may enter a U.S. port with such goods or passengers on board.

NOTE TO §515.207: For the waiver of the prohibitions contained in this section for vessels engaged in certain trade and travel with Cuba, see §515.550.
[58 FR 34710, June 29, 1993, as amended at 66 FR 36687, July 12, 2001; 80 FR 2292, Jan. 16, 2015; 80 FR 56918, Sept. 21, 2015]

Cuba is listed as a "non-entrant country". Hence, Cuban vessels are not permitted to enter US ports, internal waters, or territorial seas except when engaged in innocent passage, under the conditions of force majeure, or distress situations involving a medical emergency.

Non Cuban registered, owned, operated or chartered vessels are governed in part by the "Cuban Democracy Act 1992" (CDA) and the "Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996"

The "Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996" (also known as the Helms-Burton Act) is aimed at discouraging foreign investment in Cuba in former U.S. property nationalised by the Cuban government in 1959. The legislation has been drafted in such broad and ambiguous terms that it is very difficult to interpret the effects of this Act on international shipping.

However, Title IV provides for the exclusion from the United States, either through denial of a visa or exclusion at the port of entry, of any foreign national who the Secretary of State determines is a person who, "traffics" in "confiscated" property in Cuba, a claim to which is owned by a US national. Title IV requires the exclusion of corporate officers, principals or controlling shareholders of companies that engage in such trafficking, as well as the spouse, minor child or agent of persons excluded.

Title IV defines "traffics" to include: transfers, distributes, dispenses, brokers or otherwise disposes of confiscated property; purchases, receives, obtains control of, or otherwise acquires confiscated property; or improves or invests in (other than for routine maintenance) or begins to manage, lease, possess, use or hold an interest in confiscated property. The term "traffics" also covers entry into a commercial arrangement using or otherwise benefiting form confiscated property, as well as causing, directing, participating in or profiting from trafficking by or through another person or entity.

Information about e.g. the “180-day rule” and the “goods/passengers-on-board rule” can also be found in the “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) to Cuba sanctions. Please refer to the below link to the U.S. Department of the Treasury – Frequently Asked Questions – Cuba Sanctions


US sanctions against Yemen (USA)

On 9 November 2012, the Office of Foreign Assets Control issued the new Yemen Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 552, to implement Executive Order 13611 of 16 May 2012, “Blocking Property of Persons Threatening the Peace, Security, or Stability of Yemen.” These regulations were published as a final rule at 77 FR 67276 on 9 November 2012.


US sanctions against Sudan (USA)

On January 13, 2017 EO 13761 lifted the US sanctions against Sudan for 6 months, with the potential for a revocation of those sanctions on July 12, 2017. After a further  6 months extension, the sanctions are now being revoked, effective October 12, 2017

The revocation applies to Sections 1 and 2 EO 13067 of November 3,1997 to all of EO 13412 of October 13, 2006. Sections 1 and 2 of EO 13067 blocked all property of Government of Sudan in the US and banned the importation of any goods or services from Sudan to the US as well as the exportation of any goods or services from the US to Sudan. In addition, US people were prohibited from facilitating or brokering the exportation of goods or services to Sudan from any location from financing certain projects in Sudan from extending loans or credit to the Government of Sudan or from transporting any cargo to or from Sudan. EO 13412 prohibited US people from engaging in all transactions relating to the petroleum or petrochemical industries in Sudan. All of these prohibitions have now been revoked and US people are free to engage in all transactions with Sudan.

Despite the revocation of sanctions against Sudan that country remains on the State Sponsors of Terrorism List (“SSI List”). As a result, under the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 the export and reexport to Sudan of certain agricultural commodities, medicine and medical devices still require an OFAC license. To address legislative requirement, OAFC has issued General License A which authorizes said shipments without the need to obtain specific licenses.


US sanctions against Iraq (USA)

Trading restrictions are administered and enforced by the OFAC. On 13 September 2010, OFAC removed the Iraqi Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 575, from 31 C.F.R. chapter V, and added the Iraq Stabilization and Insurgency Sanctions Regulations ("ISISR") as new part 576 to 31 C.F.R. chapter V. The ISISR implement Executive Order 13303 of 22 May 2003, Executive Order 13315 of 28 August 2003, Executive Order 13350 of 29 July 2004, Executive Order 13364 of 29 November 2004, and Executive Order 13438 of 17 July 2007.


Terminated US sanctions (USA)


  • Myanmar sanctions ended as of 7 October 2016
  • Ivory Coast sanctions ended as of 14 September 2016.