Take for example the announcement by the European Council earlier this week regarding its adoption of a new set of regulatory measures to curtail the proliferation of chemical weapons and the components to make them.
The council concluded the necessity for this policy in late June. The urgency for these measures have since been amplified across the continent following the alleged nerve agent-based attacks on Russian exiles in the U.K. and more recent concern that Iran and Syria may do the same to anti-government nationals living in Europe.
Under the council’s new regulatory measures, the European Union member countries will impose sanctions on persons and entities involved in the development and use of chemical weapons anywhere, regardless of their nationality and location.
According to a European Council statement, “The restrictive measures target persons and entities who are directly responsible for the development and use of chemical weapons as well as those who provide financial, technical or material support and those who assist, encourage or are associated with them.”
The new sanctions also will include a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze on persons and entities found to be in violation.
What does this mean for U.S. exporters? The answer is a lot, especially if you’re involved in the chemical industry in any shape or form, including those manufacturers of laboratory equipment.
The EU’s action will result in another sanctions list for U.S. corporate export compliance staff to constantly monitor, and make no mistake, these EU sanctions will have an impact on the exports of U.S. companies with branches or affiliates in Europe.
On the U.S. side, Export Administration Regulations (EAR) section 744.4(a), which is enforced by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), already “imposes a licensing requirement on the export, re-export, or transfer (in country) of any item subject to the EAR if the exporter or re-exporter has knowledge that the item may be used, directly or indirectly, in the design, development, production, stockpiling or use of chemical or biological weapons in or by any country or destination worldwide.”
BIS is mindful of the nerve agent attacks that occurred in the U.K. and will be closely monitoring any U.S. exports that may directly or indirectly support the Moscow-based State Scientific Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology (GOSNIIOKhT), which is considered by European intelligence agencies as the source of the nerve agent used in the attacks.
U.S. exporters in the chemicals industry must be vigilant to how the new EU sanctions against chemical weapons are rolled out and what compliance measures they will need to take within their global operations to ensure compliance. Otherwise, they risk getting burned.