July 9, 2020

Volume X, Number 191

July 09, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

July 08, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

July 07, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

Food Exports Allowed to Iran and Sudan Under New General License

On October 12, 2011, the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued two important General Licenses (GLs) authorizing the export and reexport of “food” to Iran and Sudan, respectively. The new GLs effectively eliminate for certain items the one-year OFAC license requirement administered under the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000, as amended (TSRA) (22 USC 7201 et seq.). The GLs are effective immediately.

The new GLs are limited in scope, and are available only for items that meet the definition of “food,” which is defined as “items that are intended to be consumed by and provide nutrition to humans or animals in Sudan or Iran — including vitamins and minerals, food additives and supplements, and bottled drinking water — and seeds that germinate into items that are intended to be consumed by and provide nutrition to humans or animals in Sudan or Iran.”

The GLs authorize the export and reexport of food to Iran and Sudan, receipt of payment for the exports and certain extremely limited related activities, such as making shipping arrangements and obtaining insurance.

The new GLs do not authorize the following:

  • Export of alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, gum, live animals, fertilizer or certain other items specifically excluded from authorization;
  • Export or reexport to Iranian or Sudanese military or law enforcement purchasers or importers;
  • Transactions with Specially Designated Nationals (SDN);
  • Other business activities such as marketing, training of distributors, new investment or other conduct involving food sales in Iran and Sudan.
  • Export and reexport of medicine, medical devices, and agricultural commodities that do not meet the definition of “food.”

These GLs are of particular importance to companies currently seeking and maintaining OFAC licenses to export and reexport food to Iran and Sudan, and to companies that may be interested in exporting food items to Iran or Sudan. Careful review of proposed transactions remains essential. Violations of the GLs could constitute U.S. sanctions and export control violations that are subject to civil, criminal and administrative penalties (including denial of export privileges).

Even with the available GLs, exporters are reminded to carefully review all proposed activities involving Iran and Sudan given the limited scope of the GLs, narrow definition of “food,” remaining sanctions on related activities, and prohibitions against dealing with prohibited parties in a transaction.

©2020 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved. National Law Review, Volume I, Number 293


About this Author

Kara Bombach, Greenberg Traurig, Washington DC, International Trade and White Collar Defense Attorney

Kara Bombach assists companies to lawfully export goods, technology and services around the globe. She places significant emphasis on helping clients achieve practical, workable solutions to complex regulatory situations arising under anti-corruption and anti-bribery measures (U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and OECD Convention), export control laws (EAR and ITAR), anti-boycott laws, and special sanctions (embargoes) maintained by the U.S. government (OFAC and other agencies) against various countries (including Iran, Cuba and Sudan), entities and individuals....

Renee Latour, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Washington DC, Corporate Law Attorney

Renee A. Latour focuses her practice on international trade regulation with an emphasis on compliance with U.S. export controls and economic sanctions. Renee assists clients on matters related to international trade that arise under the jurisdiction of various U.S. governmental agencies, including the Departments of Commerce, State, Treasury, and Defense. She advises on U.S. export control laws, anti-boycott laws and special sanctions maintained by the U.S. Government against various countries including Iran, Cuba and Sudan.

Renee also assists clients with matters relating to issues arising under the anti-bribery and record-keeping provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the OECD Convention and the United Nations (UN) Convention Against Corruption. Additionally, she assists clients in designing and implementing internal compliance policies and procedures and conducting cross-border export and sanctions regulatory due diligence, particularly in the context of mergers and acquisitions. Renee also counsels on the Exon-Florio provisions of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), and assists clients in mitigating foreign ownership, control or influence (FOCI) under the applicable national industrial security regulations.

Michael Marinelli, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Austin, Washington DC, Corporate Law and International Trade Attorney

Michael X. Marinelli has wide-ranging experience advising clients on the federal regulation of international transactions. He focuses his practice on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), as well as U.S. export control regulations, including the EAR, the ITAR, and the economic sanctions regimes enforced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Michael counsels clients in multiple industries, including aerospace, energy, telecommunications, consumer electronics, software and life sciences, on complying the broad array of statutes and...