- EUROPEAN UNION
- On 13 September 2021, Council Decision (CFSP) 2021/1470 of 10 September 2021 amending Decision 2014/145/CFSP concerning restrictive measures with respect to actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine was published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
Decision 2014/145/CFSP is amended as follows: “[I]n Article 6, the second paragraph is replaced by the following: ‘This Decision shall apply until 15 March 2022′”.
EUROPEAN INVESTORS WARN THAT THEY ARE TURNING AWAY FROM VIETNAM BECAUSE OF RESTRICTIONS
10th September 2021
More European investors in Vietnam are considering relocating projects elsewhere if the country’s coronavirus restrictions continue for much longer, the European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham) said.
A sharp rise in coronavirus cases since late April has seen movement restrictions imposed widely, affecting workers and forcing many companies to suspend operations, which resulted in falls in August exports, industrial output and retail sales.
“What our members need now is a clear roadmap out of these current measures, one which resolves the roadblocks to their commercial operations and gives them a predictable path on which to plan the reopening of their businesses,” EuroCham chairman Alain Cany said in a statement.
Manufacturing, particularly electronics, garments and footwear for major global brands, is a vital part of Vietnam’s economy and a source of several million jobs.
The European businesses urged authorities to accelerate vaccinations, ensure free-flow of goods, ease movement of workers and expedite the processes for vaccinated business leaders and investors to enter the country. Vietnam has one of Asia’s lowest vaccination rates, with only 4.3% of its 98 million population inoculated.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said Vietnam’s difficulties were temporary.
“Vietnam will continue to listen to the opinions and proposals of European businesses … and is willing to meet their demands under permissible conditions,” Chinh said in a statement.
THE EU REJECTS REWORKING OF THE AGREEMENT WITH NORTHERN IRELAND.
10th September 2021
The European Union rejected a British demand to renegotiate their deal governing the trading position of Northern Ireland, saying that to do so would only bring instability and uncertainty. European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic, who oversees EU relations with post-Brexit Britain, said on Friday that the Northern Ireland protocol needed to be properly implemented.
“A renegotiation of the protocol – as the UK government is suggesting – would mean instability, uncertainty and unpredictability in Northern Ireland,” he said in a speech at Queen’s University in Belfast.
Under the protocol, Britain agreed to leave some EU rules in place in Northern Ireland and accept checks on goods arriving from elsewhere in the United Kingdom, in order to preserve an open land border with EU member state Ireland.
The arrangement has effectively placed a border in the Irish Sea, angering pro-British unionists who believe it divides them from the rest of the United Kingdom and complicating the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that ended three decades of violence. The commissioner said the two sides should continue discussions to limit the impact of the protocol on everyday life in Northern Ireland, while maintaining its special access to the EU’s internal market.
Under EU rules, imported food products are subject to certification and checks, while sausages and other chilled meat products cannot enter the bloc. For now, the EU has accepted British extensions to grace periods for such changes.
The commissioner said he recognised Britain was unlikely to accept the EU’s “ready-made” solution involving the alignment of agri-food rules that would remove most checks, but that with goodwill a fix could be found using the protocol’s flexibility. Britain has said it wants a “normal treaty framework” that is not policed by the European Court of Justice. Sefcovic said that would effectively mean cutting Northern Ireland out of the EU single market.
- UNITED STATES
- On 03 September 2021, OFAC, pursuant to Executive Order 13553, has added four (4) Iranian natural persons to the SDN List for, “[A]ttacks on a U.S. citizen in the United States and Iranian dissidents in other countries as part of a broad campaign to silence critics of the Iranian government”.
These designations imply that “[A]ll property and interests in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction of the designated persons are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with the designated persons or their blocked property”.
- On 16 September 2021, OFAC, pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act), added four (4) natural persons to the SDN List and two (2) entities of Colombian nationality for being part of an “[I]nternational drug trafficking organisation (DTO) with its principal place of business in Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia. This organisation controls strategically located maritime corridors in northern Colombia and collects a per-kilogram tax from drug traffickers for the protection and safe passage of multi-ton shipments of narcotics through the DTO’s zone of control”. All property and interests in property of the aforementioned person in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.
- On 16 September 2021, OFAC, pursuant to SDGT and Executive Order 13224, added one (1) natural person of Egyptian nationality to the SDN List for being a “[V]eteran Al Qaeda facilitator, i.e. a financial courier based in Turkey who used cash transfers to support Al Qaeda”.
- On 16 September 2021, OFAC, pursuant to SDGT and Executive Order 13224, added one (1) natural person of Turkish nationality to the SDN List for being “[A]n Al Qaeda extremist and financial facilitator”.
- On 16 September 2021, OFAC, pursuant to SDGT and Executive Order 13224, added one (1) natural person of Turkish nationality to the SDN List for being “[A]n Al Qaeda facilitator who worked with and provided material support to Al Qaeda”.
- On 16 September 2021, OFAC, pursuant to SDGT and Executive Order 13224, added one (1) natural person of Turkish nationality to the SDN List for being a “[F]inancial facilitator for Al Qaeda who maintained contact with Al Qaeda leadership. This individual worked to establish direct communications with Al Qaeda extremists”.
- On 16 September 2021, OFAC, pursuant to SDGT and Executive Order 13224, added one (1) natural person of Egyptian nationality to the SDN List for being “[O]ne of the principal facilitators of a range of Al Qaeda activities in Turkey, including acting as a financial courier within the Al Qaeda network in Turkey”.
- On September 17, 2021, OFAC, pursuant to SDGT and Executive Order 13224, added two (2) natural persons of Lebanese nationality, six (6) natural persons of Iranian nationality, two (2) natural persons of Kuwaiti nationality, one (1) natural person of Chinese nationality, seven (7) Chinese entities, and one (1) Emirati entity to the SDN List for “[B]eing members of a network of financial conduits based in Lebanon and Kuwait that finances Hezbollah. In addition, OFAC is designating members of an international network of financial facilitators and front companies operating in support of Hezbollah and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Iranian Qods Force (IRGC-QF)”.
Among other consequences, “[A]ll assets and interests in assets of these persons must be blocked and reported to the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). In addition, persons who engage in certain transactions with the persons designated today may themselves be subject to designation. In addition, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant financial transaction or provides significant financial services to designated persons could be subject to correspondent account sanctions or payable-through account sanctions in the United States”.
- On 21 September 2021, OFAC, pursuant to Executive Order 13694, added one (1) Czech entity to the SDN List for, “[I]ts involvement in facilitating financial transactions for ransomware authors. This entity has facilitated transactions involving illicit proceeds of at least eight ransomware variants. Analysis of known transactions shows that more than 40% of this entity’s known transaction history is associated with illicit actors. This entity is being designated for providing material support to the threat posed by ransomware criminal actors.” All assets and interests in assets of the sanctioned entity that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In turn, “[T]oday’s action against this entity does not imply a sanctions nexus with any particular ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) or variant”.
- On 22 September 2021, OFAC, pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act), has added eight (8) natural persons to the SDN List and two (2) entities of Mexican nationality for being, “[M]embers of a drug smuggling organisation responsible for the transportation and importation of multi-ton quantities of illicit drugs, including methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl, from Mexico into the United States”. All assets and interests in assets of the sanctioned persons that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.
- On 29 September 2021, OFAC, pursuant to SDGT and Executive Order 13224, added one (1) natural person and one (1) entity of Qatari nationality to the SDN List “[F]or having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support, or goods or services to or in support of Hezbollah”.
- On 16 September 2021, OFAC, pursuant to SDGT and Executive Order 13224, added one (1) natural person of Saudi nationality to the SDN List, one (1) natural person of Palestinian nationality, and one (1) natural person of Bahraini nationality “[F]or having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support, or goods or services to natural persons.” Mentioned in the previous point.
BIDEN ADMINISTRATION LISTS 21 COUNTRIES (17 IN WESTERN HEMISPHERE) AS “MAJOR DRUG TRANSIT OR MAJOR ILLICIT DRUG PRODUCING” AND CUBA IS NOT ON THE LIST
16th September 2021
The White House
Presidential Determination No. 2021-13
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE
ASUNTO: Presidential Determination on Major Drug Transit or Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries for Fiscal Year 2022
“By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 706(1) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003 (Public Law 107-228) (FRAA), I hereby identify the following countries as major drug transit or major illicit drug producing countries: Afghanistan, The Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Burma, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.”
A country’s presence on the foregoing list is neither a reflection of its government’s counterdrugs efforts nor level of cooperation with the United States. Consistent with the statutory definition of a major drug transit or major illicit drug producing country set forth in section 481(e)(2) and (5) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (Public Law 87-195) (FAA), the reason countries are placed on the list is the combination of geographic, commercial, and economic factors that allow drugs to be transited or produced, even if a government has engaged in robust and diligent narcotics control and law enforcement measures.
Pursuant to section 706(2)(A) of the FRAA, I hereby designate Bolivia and Venezuela as having failed demonstrably to make substantial efforts during the previous 12 months to both adhere to their obligations under international counternarcotic agreements and to take the measures required by section 489(a)(1) of the FAA. Included with this determination are justifications for the designations of Bolivia and Venezuela, as required by section 706(2)(B) of the FRAA. I have also determined, in accordance with provisions of section 706(3)(A) of the FRAA, that United States programs that support Bolivia and Venezuela are vital to the national interests of the United States.
The United States is committed to working together with the countries of the Western Hemisphere as neighbors and partners to meet our shared challenges of drug trafficking and use. My Administration will seek to expand cooperation with key partners, such as Mexico and Colombia, to shape a collective and comprehensive response and expand efforts to address the production and trafficking of dangerous synthetic drugs that are responsible for many of our overdose deaths, particularly fentanyl, fentanyl analogues, and methamphetamine. In Mexico, we must continue to work together to intensify efforts to dismantle transnational criminal organizations and their networks, increase prosecutions of criminal leaders and facilitators, and strengthen efforts to seize illicit assets. In Bolivia, I encourage the government to take additional steps to safeguard the country’s licit coca markets from criminal exploitation and reduce illicit coca cultivation that continues to exceed legal limits under Bolivia’s domestic laws for medicinal and traditional use. In addition, the United States will look to expand cooperation with China, India, and other chemical source countries in order to disrupt the global flow of synthetic drugs and their precursor chemicals”.
AMERICAN AIRLINES INVEST IN BRAZIL’S GOL AIRLINES WHICH HAS INTERLINE AGREEMENT WITH CUBANA DE AVIACION. OFAC PERMITS THIS TYPE OF NON-CONTROLLING INVESTMENT.
16th September 2021
Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines, Inc. (2019 revenues approximately US$45.7 billion) has purchased for US$200 million a 5.2% shareholding in Sao Paulo, Brazil-based GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes S.A. (2019 revenues approximately US$2.7 billion)
In December 2015, GOL reported including Jose Marti International Airport (HAV) in the Republic of Cuba among destinations. HAV is not currently listed among GOL destinations.
On GOL’s website:
““Interline: GOL has partnerships with many airlines that can issue your tickets and allow you to make one or more connections without you having to check-in or check your bags again. Learn about the partner airlines with which we have this agreement known as an interline agreement: Cubana de Aviación“
On 4 March 1994, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury in Washington DC issued an opinion which stated that a United States business or individual subject to United States jurisdiction may make a secondary market investment in a third-country business which has commercial dealings within the Republic of Cuba provided that the investment does not result in control-in-fact of the third-country business by the United States investor and the third-country company does not derive a majority of its revenues from business activity within the Republic of Cuba. Secondary market investment that falls short of a controlling interest in such a business is not prohibited.
THIRTEEN MONTHS AGO, 2020 DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM APPROVED POSITION ON CUBA. PRESIDENT BIDEN HAS THUS FAR IGNORED IT.
19th September 2021
2020 Democratic Party Platform
The platform was considered by the 2020 Platform Committee at its meeting on July 27, 2020, and was approved by the Democratic National Convention on August 18, 2020.
Page 87 (2020 Platform)
“Democrats will also move swiftly to reverse Trump Administration policies that have undermined U.S. national interests and harmed the Cuban people and their families in the United States, including its efforts to curtail travel and remittances. Rather than strengthening the regime, we will promote human rights and people-to-people exchanges, and empower the Cuban people to write their own future.”
“Democrats believe the Western Hemisphere is America’s strategic home base—a region bound together by common values, history, and vision of a more prosperous, democratic, and secure future. When the United States hosts the region’s leaders at next year’s Summit of the Americas—the first to be held here since the 1994 inaugural meeting in Miami—we will turn the page on the Trump Administration’s denigration and extortion of our neighbors, and we will chart a new era of cooperation based on partnership and shared responsibility for the region we all call home.
[…] We will work with our partners to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused the biggest economic decline in history across Latin America and the Caribbean.
Rather than coerce our neighbors into supporting cruel migration policies, we will work with our regional and international partners to address the root causes of migration—violence and insecurity, weak rule of law, lack of educational and economic opportunity, pervasive corruption, and environmental degradation […] and help vulnerable nations in the Caribbean and Central America adapt to the impacts of climate change. And rather than imitate populist demagogues, we will link arms with our neighbors to realize our shared aspirations for the region’s future
We will reject President Trump’s failed Venezuela policy, which has only served to entrench Nicolás Maduro’s dictatorial regime and exacerbate a human rights and humanitarian crisis. To rise to the occasion of the world’s worst refugee crisis and worst humanitarian crisis outside a warzone in decades, the United States will mobilize its partners across the region and around the world to meet the urgent needs of the people of Venezuela, and grant Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelans in the United States. Democrats believe that the best opportunity to rescue Venezuela’s democracy is through smart pressure and effective diplomacy, not empty, bellicose threats untethered to realistic policy goals and motivated by domestic partisan objectives.
Democrats will also move swiftly to reverse Trump Administration policies that have undermined U.S. national interests and harmed the Cuban people and their families in the United States, including its efforts to curtail travel and remittances. Rather than strengthening the regime, we will promote human rights and people-to-people exchanges, and empower the Cuban people to write their own future.
PRESIDENT BIDEN MENTIONS FIFTEEN COUNTRIES DURING HIS ADDRESS TO THE 193-MEMBER UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY; CUBA WAS ONE OF THEM.
21st September 2021
The White House
Remarks by President Biden before the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations Headquarters
New York, New York
“The future will belong to those who embrace human dignity, not trample it. The future will belong to those who unleash the potential of their people, not those who stifle it. The future will belong to those who give their people the ability to breathe free, not those who seek to suffocate their people with an iron hand. Authoritarianism — the authoritarianism of the world may seek to proclaim the end of the age of democracy, but they’re wrong.”
The truth is: The democratic world is everywhere. It lives in the anti-corruption activists, the human rights defenders, the journalists, the peace protestors on the frontlines of this struggle in Belarus, Burma, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, and everywhere in between.”
III. UNITED KINGDOM
- On 02 September 2021 the UK Government, pursuant to The Myanmar (Sanctions) Regulations 2021 has added one (1) natural person and one (1) entity of Burmese nationality to the UK Sanctions List (“UKSL List”) for having “[C]ommitted serious human rights violations in Myanmar over decades, including the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in 2017, ongoing attacks against other ethnic groups and the 2021 coup and associated repression of the civilian population and serious human rights violations, including killings, arbitrary detention and torture. He has supported these activities in his role as an arms dealer for the military, responsible for brokering arms deals with Russia. In addition, or alternatively, has provided funds or economic resources and/or is or has been involved in the supply of goods and/or technology, which could contribute to serious human rights violations. In addition, and/or alternatively, this person is associated with the military through his extensive links with the former and current junta regimes”.
Madrid, 31st August 2021
International Trade and Sanctions Department
Lupicinio International Law Firm