The U.K. government is set to establish a new agency to enforce trade sanctions and provide compliance guidance to businesses regarding the country’s sanctions regimes.
The Office of Trade Sanctions Implementation (OTSI) is expected to be ready to enforce trade sanctions in 2024, said U.K. Industry and Economic Security Minister Nusrat Ghani in a speech delivered Monday.
“The office will build up our trade sanctions capability and make sure our sanctions regimes are as impactful as possible,” she said. “It will also crack down on companies that breach trade sanctions and so help to facilitate warmongers and tyrants to cling to power.”
Ghani said the new office is being formed in response to calls from businesses seeking more information to ensure compliance with sanctions, particularly those against Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. The United Kingdom has levied sanctions targeting more than 1,900 individuals and entities linked to supporting Russia, Ghani said.
OTSI, which will sit within the Department for Business and Trade, will aim to help clarify the U.K. government’s expectations and lend support to businesses, she said. It will lead the civil enforcement of trade sanctions and “have a range of enforcement tools available, including levying monetary penalties on those that break the rules and sanctions dodgers,” Ghani said.
OTSI’s work will complement that of the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), which will remain responsible for financial sanctions. OFSI has also received increased powers in response to Russia’s war.
Ghani added that the government will soon put forward a new trade sanctions package to ban the export of goods including machine parts, chemicals, and products that raise revenue for Russia.
“We’ve seen how well sanctions can work, and we’re getting even better at using them,” she said. “That’s why I’ve no doubt that the Office of Trade and Sanctions Implementation will be a game-changer for the U.K. on the international stage, allowing us to move in lockstep with our allies on economic sanctions as they’re needed.”