Jackson–Vanik Amendment (1975 – 2012)
The amendment denies most favored nation status to certain countries with non-market economies that restrict emigration, which is considered a human right. Permanent normal trade relations can be extended to a country subject to the law only if the President determines that it complies with the freedom of emigration requirements of the amendment. However, the President has the authority to grant a yearly waiver to the provisions of Jackson-Vanik, and these waivers were granted to the People’s Republic of China starting in the late 1970s and in later decades, to Vietnam and Laos.
Magnitsky Act (2012 – present)
On December 14, 2012, the U.S. President signed into law the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, Public Law 112-208, title IV, 126 Stat. 1502 (2012) (the “Act”). The Act provides authority for the identification of and imposition of sanctions on certain persons related to the detention, abuse, and death of Sergei Magnitsky or responsible for certain gross violations of human rights in the Russian Federation.
Ukraine-related Sanctions (2014 – present)
Executive Order 13660, signed on March 6, 2014, authorizes sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, or for stealing the assets of the Ukrainian people. These sanctions put in place restrictions on the travel of certain individuals and officials and showed our continued efforts to impose a cost on Russia and those responsible for the situation in Crimea.
Executive Order 13661, issued on March 17, 2014, under the national emergency with respect to Ukraine that find that the actions and policies of the Russian government with respect to Ukraine -– including through the deployment of Russian military forces in the Crimea region of Ukraine –- undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets.
A new Executive Order, “Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine,” issued on March 20, 2014, expanded the scope of the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13660 of March 6, 2014, and expanded by Executive Order 13661 of March 16, 2014, finding that the actions and policies of the Government of the Russian Federation, including its purported annexation of Crimea and its use of force in Ukraine, continue to undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets, and thereby constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.
Executive Order 13685 was issued December 19, 2014. Utilizing these Executive Orders, the United States has steadily increased the diplomatic and financial costs of Russia’s aggressive actions towards Ukraine. We have designated a number of Russian and Ukrainian entities, including 14 defense companies and individuals in Putin’s inner circle, as well as imposed targeted sanctions limiting certain financing to six of Russia’s largest banks and four energy companies. We have also suspended credit finance that encourages exports to Russia and financing for economic development projects in Russia, and are now prohibiting the provision, exportation, or re-exportation of goods, services (not including financial services), or technology in support of exploration or production for deepwater, Arctic offshore, or shale projects that have the potential to produce oil in the Russian Federation, or in maritime area claimed by the Russian Federation and extending from its territory, and that involve five major Russian energy companies.
These actions, in close coordination with our EU and international partners, send a strong message to the Russian government that there are consequences for their actions that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The United States, together with international partners, will continue to stand by the Ukrainian government until Russia abides by its international obligations. The United States is prepared to take additional steps to impose further political and economic costs. A secure Ukraine, integrated with Europe and enjoying good relations with all its neighbors, is in the interests of the United States, Europe, and Russia.
Cyber-related Sanctions (2015 – present)
Executive Order 13694 was issued on April 1, 2015 and authorized the imposition of sanctions on individuals and entities determined to be responsible for or complicit in malicious cyber-enabled activities that result in enumerated harms that are reasonably likely to result in, or have materially contributed to, a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States. The authority has been amended to also allow for the imposition of sanctions on individuals and entities determined to be responsible for tampering, altering, or causing the misappropriation of information with the purpose or effect of interfering with or undermining election processes or institutions in E.O. 13757.
Executive Order 13757 issued on December 28, 2016, amends EO 13694. E.O. 13757 focuses on specific harms caused by significant malicious cyber-enabled activities, and directs the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, to impose sanctions on those persons he determines to be responsible for or complicit in activities leading to such harms. The U.S. Department of State and other U.S. government agencies work to identify individuals and entities whose conduct meets the criteria set forth in E.O. 13694, as amended, and designate them for sanction under the delegated authority of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Persons designated under this authority are added to OFACS’s list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List).