June 8, 2016
During the past month, the United States has removed certain restrictions on the export of defense articles and defense services destined to particular countries. Below is a brief synopsis of the arms embargoes or sanctions regimes that have recently been terminated.
While the U.S. lifted sanctions on Liberia in November 2015, the United Nations Security Council still imposed an arms embargo on the country. Section 126.1(c) of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) generally prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions prohibited by a UN Security Council arms embargo, including trade in defense articles or services.
On May 25, 2016, the UN Security Council terminated the remaining sanctions on Liberia, including the arms embargo, citing the country’s political and economic progress following its civil war that ended over a decade ago. On May 27th, the U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) announced that pursuant to the termination of the UN arms embargo on Liberia, DDTC will now review applications for licenses to export or temporarily import ITAR-controlled defense articles and defense services on a case-by-case basis.
On May 23, 2016, President Obama announced in a joint press conference with President Quang of Vietnam that the U.S. was “lifting the ban on the sale of military equipment to Vietnam,” which had been in place for nearly five decades. During the press conference, President Obama extoled both countries’ commitment to deepen defense cooperation and increase bilateral trade, including through the implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. On the same day, DDTC announced that it lifted the ban on the sale or transfer of lethal weapons to Vietnam, including restrictions on exports to and imports from Vietnam of arms and related materiel.
Consequently, DDTC will now review applications for licenses to export or temporarily import ITAR-controlled defense articles and defense services to or from Vietnam on a case-by-case basis.
On April 28, 2016, the UN Security Council terminated the sanctions regime imposed on Cote d’Ivoire, including the arms embargo, citing, among other reasons, the stabilization of the country and the successful presidential election in October 2015. DDTC subsequently announced that it will review applications for licenses to export or temporarily import ITAR-controlled defense articles and defense services to or from Cote d’Ivoire on a case-by-case basis.
The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, a government funding act, and previous appropriations acts, included text that generally prohibited the export of military equipment or technology to Sri Lanka. However, those restrictions were not carried forward in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016. Consequently, on May 4, 2016, DDTC announced that it will now review applications to export or temporarily import ITAR-controlled defense articles and defense services to or from Sri Lanka on a case-by-case basis.
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