On March 8, 2022, President Biden issued Executive Order 14066 which prohibits the following actions:
-The importation into the United States of any “crude oil; petroleum; petroleum fuels, oils, and products of their distillation; liquefied natural gas; coal; and coal products” of “Russian Federation origin”;
-New investment in the Russian energy sector by U.S. persons, wherever located; and
-Any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a U.S. person, wherever located, of any transaction conducted by a non-U.S. person that would be prohibited by Executive Order 14066 if performed by a U.S. person or within the United States.
The Executive Order further prohibits any transaction by anyone (whether a U.S. person or a non-U.S. person) that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of Executive Order 14066’s prohibitions, as well as conspiracies to violate the prohibitions.
In a Fact Sheet, the Biden Administration stated that the Executive Order is intended to “further deprive President Putin of the economic resources he uses to continue his needless war of choice”. A press release from the U.S. Department of the Treasury also stated that “[t]he United States continues to take severe action to hold the Russian Federation accountable for its brutal, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Treasury has targeted the infrastructure supporting President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine”.
Executive Order 14066 is immediately effective. However, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of the Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) has issued General License 16 authorizing all transactions that are “ordinarily incident and necessary to the importation into the United States” of certain products of “Russian Federation Origin”, if performed pursuant to written contracts or written agreements entered into prior to March 8, 2022. The products of “Russian Federation Origin” authorized for import into the U.S. under General License 16 are:
-Oils, and products of their distillation;
-Liquified natural gas; and
General License 16 will remain effective until April 22, 2022, at which time all such transactions will be fully prohibited. General License 16 does not authorize any other actions that are prohibited under the existing Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations or transactions with persons who are otherwise subject to blocking sanctions unless such actions or transactions are separately authorized by OFAC.
OFAC also issued new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) guidance and updated existing FAQ guidance in order to clarify certain aspects of the Executive Order. Among other things, these FAQs establish definitions for the terms “Russian Federation origin”, “new investment in the energy sector in the Russian Federation” and “energy sector”. The FAQs also clarify that the Executive Order’s prohibitions do not extend to products that are not of Russian Federation origin “even if such products transit through or depart from the Russian Federation”.
Additionally, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) issued Cargo Systems Messaging Service Number 51260049 indicating that it will “be requiring filers of entries or admissions to Foreign Trade Zones for shipments of [the Russian Federation origin banned products] to provide purchase orders and/or executed contracts and/or any other documentation showing when the order and/or contract went into effect” through the expiration of General License 16 on April 22, 2022. CBP also stated it will require the documentation prior to unlading and it “should include conveyance information, bill of lading number(s) and entry number(s) or FTZ admission information.”
Anyone reviewing Executive Order 14066 should also be aware of the significant sanctions and export controls that the U.S. government imposed on Russia prior to Executive Order 14066.
Grant Leach is an Omaha-based partner with the law firm Husch Blackwell LLP focusing on international trade, export controls, trade sanctions and anti-corruption compliance.