August 24, 2021

President Biden signs new Russia-related EO, OFAC issues new general license and FAQs

On August 20, 2021, President Biden signed a new Executive Order, “Blocking Property with Respect to Certain Russian Energy Export Pipelines” to take additional steps regarding certain Russian energy export pipelines to address the national emergency declared in Executive Order 14024 of April 15, 2021 (Blocking Property With Respect to Specified Harmful Foreign Activities of the Government of the Russian Federation).  The EO blocks the property and interests in property of foreign persons identified by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, in a report to the Congress pursuant to the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act of 2019, as amended by section 1242 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (PEESA).  The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control issued Russia-related General License 1A, published new frequently asked questions 919, 920, and 921, and updated FAQ 894.

According to FAQ 921, the new EO authorizes the Secretaries of Treasury and State to impose sanctions in accordance with PEESA, that requires sanctions to be imposed on parties that provide vessels engaged in certain specified activities related to the construction of Russian energy export pipelines, including the Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream projects.  The new EO also enables the Treasury Department to promulgate regulations and impose blocking sanctions without the exception related to the importation of goods in section 7503(e) of PEESA. 

GL 1A authorizes US persons to engage in transactions that are otherwise prohibited by the new EO or PEESA, that involve the Federal State Budgetary Institution Marine Rescue Service (MRS) or any entity in which MRS owns a 50 percent or greater interest, as long as the transaction is not related to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, TurkStream pipeline project or successor projects. GL 1A effectively replaces and supersedes GL 1 of May 21, 2021.  FAQ 894, as revised, provides a general overview of the provisions in GL 1A.

FAQ 919 provides that sanctions related to US bank loans imposed on Russia pursuant to Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Act of 1991 (CBW Act) have the same scope as those announced by the State Department on August 20, 2021, and FAQ 920 explains how import restrictions imposed under the CBW Act will be implemented by the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Department of Treasury Press Release | New Executive Order | General License 1A | FAQ 894 | FAQ 919 | FAQ 920 | FAQ 921