White House Rescinds Sudan’s State Sponsor Of Terrorism Designation, Continues National Emergency

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On November 2, 2020, the White House released a notice continuing the national emergency with respect to Sudan declared in Executive Order 13067 of 1997. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a press statement clarifying that the United States is continuing certain Sudan-related sanctions pursuant to obligations to the United Nations (“UN”), but that the notice of continuation “does not reflect negatively on our improved bilateral relationship with Sudan…and does not have any impact on the decision or procedures to rescind Sudan’s State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST) designation.”

On October 26, 2020 the President issued a Certification of Rescission regarding the 1993 determination that the government of Sudan supports acts of international terrorism, following a peace agreement between Sudan and Israel a few days earlier. The President certified that Sudan has not provided support for acts of terrorism during the last six months, and that Sudan has provided assurances it will not support future acts of terrorism. The rescission begins the process of normalizing trade relations between the United States and Sudan, which is now governed by a civilian and military government after deposing a thirty-year dictatorship. According to Section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act of 1979 (“EAA”), it will be at least 45 days, or until December 10, 2020, before Sudan’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation is officially rescinded.

Currently, because of Sudan’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation, the U.S. Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) require a license from the US Commerce Department – Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) to export or reexport almost any item to Sudan that is listed on the EAR’s Commerce Control List. Once rescinded, some of these licensing requirements will be relaxed, but other export controls and BIS licensing requirements directed at Sudan pursuant to alternative authorities will remain in place.

Additionally, the President issued a certification pursuant to Section 6(e) of the Comprehensive Peace in Sudan Act of 2004 (as amended by the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006, the “CPSA”). The certification states that the government of Sudan has “taken demonstrable steps” to meet certain criteria which could serve as a precursor to lifting separate sanctions imposed by the U.S. Department of Treasury – Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) against certain Sudanese and Darfuri individuals and entities. However, many of those OFAC sanctions are imposed under agreements between the U.S. and the UN, and as a result the UN must also agree before OFAC could lift those specific sanctions. Secretary Pompeo acknowledged this in his press release, stating “In recognition of the important steps that the Sudanese government has taken toward peace in Sudan’s conflict areas, the United States is committed to working with the Sudanese government and our international partners to identify circumstances that could result in lifting sanctions related to the Darfur conflict at the earliest opportunity. We have already begun consultations at the UN with this objective in mind.”

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