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June 17, 2021: OFAC issues COVID-related General Licenses for Syria, Iran & Venezuela programs

Issuance of Syria General License 21, Venezuela General License 39, and Iran General License N, “Authorizing Certain Activities to Respond to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic” and Associated Frequently Asked Questions

Release date06/17/2021

The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is issuing Syria General License 21, Venezuela General License 39, and Iran General License N, “Authorizing Certain Activities to Respond to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic” and related Frequently Asked Questions (906, 907, 908, 909, 910, and 911).

And there were a bunch of new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

906. What do Iran General License (GL) N, Syria GL 21, and Venezuela GL 39 authorize with respect to the fight against the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?  How do these GLs differ from OFAC’s existing humanitarian exemptions, exceptions, and authorizations?Answer

In order to further aid the global fight against COVID-19, OFAC has issued time-limited general licenses, Iran GL NSyria GL 21, and Venezuela GL 39 (together, the COVID-19-related GLs), to provide broad authorizations for certain COVID-19-related transactions and activities.  The new general licenses expand upon longstanding humanitarian exemptions, exceptions, and authorizations in OFAC sanctions programs, which remain in effect (see OFAC’s April 16, 2020 Fact Sheet on the Provision of Humanitarian Assistance and Trade to Combat COVID-19) to cover additional COVID 19-related transactions and activities.  For example, Iran GL Nexpands authorizations under the Iran sanctions program to cover certain items that previously would have required a specific license for exportation or reexportation to Iran, such as certain COVID-19 testing or vaccine manufacturing equipment.  Both U.S. persons and non-U.S. persons whose activities are within U.S. jurisdiction — including exporters, nongovernmental organizations, international organizations, and financial institutions — may rely upon the authorizations in these COVID-19-related GLs provided they meet the applicable conditions.  All three GLs expire on June 17, 2022.

The COVID-19-related GLs provide authorization that is independent of OFAC’s other humanitarian-related authorizations.  Accordingly, conditions and limitations included in other humanitarian-related authorizations do not apply to transactions and activities conducted pursuant to the COVID-19-related GLs, unless explicitly incorporated therein.  For example, for sales to Iran of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices pursuant to the general license in 31 C.F.R. § 560.530, payment terms and financing must be limited to and consistent with those authorized by 31 C.F.R. § 560.532.  However, because Iran GL N does not incorporate similar limitations on payment terms, COVID-19-related exports and reexports to Iran authorized by Iran GL N are not subject to the payment terms in 31 C.F.R. § 560.532.

Prior to the expiration of the COVID-19-related GLs, OFAC may issue additional guidance, as appropriate. OFAC’s longstanding humanitarian exemptions, exceptions and authorizations in each of these sanctions programs will not be impacted by the expiration of these GLs. For transactions not otherwise authorized or exempt, OFAC considers license requests on a case-by-case basis and prioritizes applications, compliance questions, and other requests related to humanitarian support for people in areas subject to comprehensive sanctions.

907. For the purposes of Iran General License (GL) N, what are goods or technology for use in connection with the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?  What transactions and activities related to the export or reexport of these items are authorized?Answer

For the purposes of Iran GL N, covered COVID-19-related goods or technology include, for example:  medical gowns; medical eye shields and goggles; surgical gloves; face shields; respirators and masks such as N95, N99, and N100 masks; personal hygiene products such as soap and hand sanitizer and other water, sanitation, and hygiene supplies such as: water purification supplies and hygiene promotion materials; vaccines and vaccine ingredients or components required for the production of vaccines; equipment, supplies, and containers for transporting, storing, and administering vaccines; COVID-19 testing kits and equipment, and software and technology for processing such kits; equipment, software, and technology for diagnostic imaging tests; ventilators or components thereof; oxygen tanks and supplies to deliver oxygen; supplies, medicines, or other therapies to treat COVID-19; and field hospitals or mobile medical units, provided that all conditions and limitations of Iran GL N are satisfied, including with regard to the classification of certain goods and technology set forth in paragraph (d)(1) of Iran GL N.  Certain COVID-19-related medical devices designated as EAR99 that would otherwise require a specific license for exportation or reexportation to Iran because they are included on OFAC’s List of Medical Devices Requiring Specific Authorization — such as High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filtration Systems and HEPA filters — would not require a specific license for exportation or reexportation to Iran, provided that all conditions and limitations of Iran GL N are satisfied.

Transactions and activities related to the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply of such goods or technology include, for example:  processing and transfer of funds; payment of taxes, fees, and import duties; purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services; making of shipping and cargo inspection arrangements; obtaining of insurance; arrangement of financing and payment; shipping and storage of the goods; receipt of payment; and entry into contracts (including executory contracts), provided that all conditions and limitations of Iran GL N are satisfied.  Certain transactions and activities involving the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), or any entity in which NIOC owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, are also authorized under Iran GL N.

As noted in Iran GL N, this general license does not authorize the unblocking of any property blocked pursuant to any part of 31 CFR chapter V, including property of the Government of Iran.

908. For the purposes of Iran General License (GL) N and Syria GL 21, what are services related to the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?  What transactions and activities related to the export or, in the case of Iran GL N, import of these services are authorized?Answer

For the purposes of Iran GL N and Syria GL 21, services related to the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19 include, for example:  treatment of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19; training necessary for the safe and effective use, repair, or maintenance of goods for use in connection with the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19; water, sanitation, and hygiene promotion materials and supplies, and shelter activities to prevent or treat COVID-19, including Risk Communication and Community Engagement efforts related to COVID-19, and other goods and services, directly related to prevention or treatment of COVID-19; conduct of research into COVID-19; services necessary for the operation, maintenance, or repair of goods for use in connection with the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19; collaboration on the development or enhancement of information related to COVID-19 to the extent not authorized or exempt; development of medical devices or medicines to counteract COVID-19; conduct of clinical studies in connection with COVID-19; provision of public education in connection with COVID-19; and disposal of medical waste in connection with COVID-19, provided all conditions and limitations of Iran GL N or Syria GL 21 are satisfied.

Transactions and activities related to the exportation or reexportation of such services include, for example:  processing and transfer of funds; payment of taxes, fees, and import duties; purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services; making of shipping or cargo inspection arrangements; obtaining of insurance; arrangement of financing and payment; delivery of services; receipt of payment; and entry into contracts (including executory contracts), provided all conditions of Iran GL N or Syria GL 21 are satisfied.

As noted in Iran GL N and Syria GL 21, these general licenses do not authorize the unblocking of any property blocked pursuant to any part of 31 CFR chapter V, including property of the Government of Iran or property of the Government of Syria

909. For the purposes of Venezuela General License (GL) 39, what are transactions and activities related to the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?Answer

For the purposes of Venezuela GL 39, transactions and activities related to the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19 in Venezuela include, for example:  the export or import of goods and services, and transactions and activities related thereto, in each case that would otherwise be prohibited due to the involvement of the Government of Venezuela, certain blocked financial institutions as described in Venezuela GL 39, or both, provided all conditions and limitations in the GL are satisfied.

COVID-19-related goods or technology include, for example:  medical gowns; medical eye shields and goggles; surgical gloves; face shields; respirators and masks such as N95, N99, and N100 masks; personal hygiene products such as soap and hand sanitizer and other water, sanitation, and hygiene supplies; vaccines and vaccine ingredients or components required for the production of vaccines; equipment, supplies, and containers for transporting, storing, and administering vaccines; personal protective equipment; COVID-19 testing kits and equipment, software and technology for processing such kits; equipment, software, and technology for diagnostic imaging tests; ventilators or components thereof; oxygen tanks and supplies to deliver oxygen; supplies, medicines, or other therapies to treat COVID-19; and field hospitals or mobile medicals units, provided that all conditions and limitations of Venezuela GL 39 are satisfied.

COVID-19-related services include, for example:  treatment of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19; training necessary to the safe and effective use of goods for use in connection with the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19; conduct of research into COVID-19; services necessary for the operation, maintenance, or repair of goods for use in connection with the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19; collaboration on the development or enhancement of information related to COVID-19 to the extent not authorized or exempt; development of medical devices or medicines to counteract COVID-19; conduct of clinical studies in connection with COVID-19; provision of public education in connection with COVID-19; disposal of medical waste in connection with COVID-19; water, sanitation, and hygiene promotion materials and supplies, and shelter activities to prevent or treat COVID-19, including Risk Communication and Community Engagement efforts related to COVID-19, and other goods and services, directly related to prevention or treatment of COVID-19; provided all conditions and limitations in Venezuela GL 39 are satisfied.

Other transactions and activities related to the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19 in Venezuela include, for example, when in connection with COVID-19-related goods, technology, or services:  processing and transfer of funds, payment of taxes, fees, and import duties; purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services; making of shipping or cargo inspection arrangements; obtaining of insurance; arrangement of financing and payment; shipping of goods; delivery of services; receipt of payment; and entry into contracts (including executory contracts), provided all conditions and limitations in Venezuela GL 39 are satisfied.

As noted in Venezuela GL 39, this general license does not authorize the unblocking of any property blocked pursuant to any part of 31 CFR chapter V, including property of the Government of Venezuela or certain specified blocked financial institutions listed in Venezuela GL 39.

910. What are the due diligence expectations of U.S. financial institutions associated with processing fund transfers or trade finance transactions that are authorized by Iran General License (GL) N, Syria GL 21, and Venezuela GL 39?Answer

U.S. financial institutions are authorized to process transfers of funds or engage in trade finance transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to give effect to the transactions and activities authorized by Iran GL NSyria GL 21, and Venezuela GL 39.

Such financial institutions may rely on the originator of the funds transfer with regard to compliance with Iran GL N, Syria GL 21, and Venezuela GL 39, provided that the financial institution does not know or have reason to know that the funds transfer is not in compliance with such GLs.

911. Do non-U.S. persons risk exposure to U.S. sanctions for engaging in certain activities to respond to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that U.S. persons would be authorized to engage in under Iran General License (GL) N, Syria GL 21, or Venezuela GL 39?Answer

No.  Non-U.S. persons do not risk exposure under U.S. sanctions for engaging in certain activities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic that would be authorized under Iran GL NSyria GL 21, or Venezuela GL 39, as appropriate, if engaged in by a U.S. person.  This includes non-U.S. exporters, nongovernmental organizations, international organizations, and foreign financial institutions, as well as other non-U.S. persons engaging in certain activities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For additional information on humanitarian activities by non-U.S. persons in relation to sanctioned jurisdictions, please see FAQs 844, 884, and 885. For information specific to the provision of humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people, please see OFAC’s August 6, 2019 Fact Sheet: Guidance Related to the Provision of Humanitarian Assistance and Support to the Venezuelan People. For more information on other relevant exemptions, exceptions, and authorizations for humanitarian assistance and trade to combat COVID-19 under OFAC’s sanctions program, please see OFAC’s April 16, 2020 Fact Sheet: Provision of Humanitarian Assistance and Trade to Combat COVID-19.


Links:

OFAC Notice

Syria General License 21

Venezuela General License 39

Iran General License N

New FAQs – 906, 907, 908, 909, 910, 911

Categories: COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Guidance Humanitarian Aid Iranian Sanctions Licenses OFAC Updates Syrian Sanctions Venezuela sanctions

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