Last month on June 21st the EU governments agreed to an 11th package of sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
The main purpose of the new EU sanctions is to strengthen the existing sanctions framework, by minimising the risk of its circumvention through third countries. This summary of the new sanctions has been taken from ESPO
Broader vessel ban on access to EU ports
To address the sharp increase in deceptive practices by vessels transporting crude oil and petroleum products, the EU decided to prohibit as of 24 July 2023 access to EU ports and locks to any vessels that engage in ship-to-ship transfers, if the competent authorities have reasonable cause to suspect that the vessel is either in breach of the ban on importing seaborne Russian crude oil and petroleum products into the EU or is transporting Russian crude oil or petroleum products purchased above the price cap agreed by the Price Cap Coalition.
In addition, the prohibition to access EU ports will be imposed on vessels, that do not notify the competent authority at least 48 hours in advance about a ship-to-ship transfer occurring within the Exclusive Economic Zone of a Member State or within 12 nautical miles from the baseline of that Member State’s coast.
The same prohibition will apply to vessels when competent authorities have solid reasons to suspect that they illegally interfere, switch off or otherwise disable their navigation system when transporting Russian crude oil and petroleum products in breach of international agreements, rules and standards. To enhance the enforcement of the prohibitions the competent authorises will use the integrated maritime information available in the Union Maritime Information and Exchange System (SafeSeaNet).
Transit ban/dual-use goods and technologies
The new sanctions extend the transit prohibition for certain sensitive goods (e.g. advanced technology, aviation-related materials) exported from the EU to third countries, via Russia.
In addition, the EU decided to further tighten the export restrictions concerning dual-use goods and technologies, by adding additional 87 entities (including Iranian entities providing drones to Russia) to the list of entities directly supporting Russia’s war against Ukraine (new entities registered in China, Uzbekistan, the United Arab Emirates, Syria and Armenia).
Furthermore, this decision expands the list of restricted items that could contribute to the technological enhancement of Russia’s defence sector to include: electronic components, semiconductor materials, manufacturing and testing equipment for electronic integrated circuits and printed circuit boards, precursors to energetic materials and precursors to chemical weapons, optical components, navigational instruments, metals used in the defence sector and marine equipment.
The EU also decided to tighten up on imports of iron and steel goods by requiring importers of sanctioned iron and steel goods that have been processed in a third country to prove that the inputs used do not come from Russia.
To better identify goods subject to export bans and reduce circumvention of sanctions by misclassification, the EU simplified the structure of the industrial goods annexe, by listing products subject to restrictions in one single section and with broader product definitions.
Far-reaching tool to limit circumvention risks through a third country
The EU decided to introduce a new ”anti-circumvention tool”, that will allow the EU to restrict the sale, supply, transfer or export of specified sanctioned goods and technology to third countries considered to be at continued and particularly high risk of circumvention. This new “anti-circumvention” tool will be an exceptional and last resort measure when other individual measures and outreach by the EU to concerned third countries have been insufficient to prevent circumvention. In practice, this measure may lead to trade restrictions on goods covered already by sanctions against Russia, however, now imposed directly on a third country (this will require a unilateral decision by MSs).
The relevant legal acts have been published in the Official Journal of the EU.
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