Picking up where President Obama left off, the Trump administration has dropped most sanctions targeting Sudan. The country was also removed from the list of nations targeted by the White House’s controversial travel ban.
Late last month, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced the longstanding policy change with a Final Rule that was later published in the Federal Register. On July 1, OFAC officially removed Sudanese sanctions from the Code of Federal Regulations.
As a prelude to the U.S. decision, Sudan, long-accused of facilitating terrorism, cut business ties to North Korea. Sudan, divided by a long and bloody civil war, had been a buyer of missiles and other weaponry from Pyongyang.
Other demands by the United States were that the country take steps to address terrorism and human rights abuses connected to the ongoing civil war in South Sudan and atrocities in its Darfur region that were the initial catalyst for sanctions.
In November 1997, President Clinton issued Executive Order 13067, “Blocking Sudanese Government Property and Prohibiting Transactions with Sudan.” It declared a national emergency to deal with the “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the U.S. posed by the policies and actions of the Government of Sudan.”
The order prohibited U.S. imports and exports of goods, technology, or services. Also prohibited were financing contracts supporting an industrial, commercial, public utility, or governmental project by a U.S. person or entity. Loans to the government of Sudan and the transportation of cargo to or from the country were similarly blocked.
In January 2017, President Obama issued Executive Order 13761, “Recognizing Positive Actions by the Government of Sudan and Providing for the Revocation of Certain Sudan-Related Sanctions.” In it, he noted “Sudan's positive actions over the prior six months,” including “a marked reduction in offensive military activity, a pledge to maintain a cessation of hostilities in conflict areas, and steps toward the improvement of humanitarian access throughout Sudan. The White House also noted improving cooperation with the United States on “addressing regional conflicts and the threat of terrorism.”
The revocation of sanctions, which started with the Executive Order, came to a conclusion, after an extension, with the Trump administration’s recent OFAC edict.
U.S. persons and non-U.S. persons will still need to obtain any licenses required by the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) to export or reexport to Sudan commodities, software, and technology that are on the Commerce Control List. An OFAC license is still required for certain exports and reexports to Sudan of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices as a result of Sudan's continued (and being negotiated) inclusion on the State Sponsors of Terrorism List.