EU and U.S. relax some Belarus sanctions

EU and U.S. relax some Belarus sanctions

Taking effect at the end of October, the U.S. and EU have suspended some elements of the restrictive measures/sanctions regime against Belarus. Most notably for energy companies with their eyes on opportunities in Eastern Europe, the relief allows transactions with Belneftekhim State Concern for Oil and Chemistry, one of Belarus’ largest groups of companies.

The reason given for the suspension is that the EU and U.S. have declared themselves satisfied that recent elections – in which President Aleksandr Lukashenko was voted into his fifth term in office with an official count of over 83% of the vote – were conducted with less government intervention than in previous elections.

The EU has suspended the majority of its sanctions against Belarus, while the U.S. has also suspended many of its sanctions targeting certain Belarusian companies on its list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (‘SDN list’), effective 30 October. In announcing the suspension, a U.S. State Department spokesperson commented, ‘This limited reprieve from sanctions opens the door to expanded commercial ties for the Belarusian economy.’

Subject to a number of caveats, OFAC Belarus General License 2 provides: ‘All transactions otherwise prohibited by Executive Order 13405 involving the following named entities, or any entities that are owned, individually or in the aggregate, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more of the following named entities, are authorized:

  • Belarusian Oil Trade House
  • Belneftekhim(formally known as Belneftekhim State Concern for Oil and Chemistry)
  • Belneftekhim USA, Inc.
  • Belshina OAO
  • Grodno Azot OAO
  • Grodno Khimvolokno OAO
  • Lakokraska OAO
  • Naftan OAO
  • Polotsk Steklovolokno OAO.’


The key documents on the EU side include an implementing regulation are available at:


On the U.S. side, OFAC has issued Belarus General License No. 2 which can be found at:


WorldECR is grateful for the contribution of Glen Kelley, Michael Burton and Douglas Jacobson of Jacobson, Burton, Kelley PLLC to this news story.

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