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During Your Weekend: OFAC loosens Venezuela sanctions a tad…

In response to the resumption of talks between the Maduro regime & the opposition, and an agreement to address the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, OFAC has issued a new version of General License (GL) 8:

which removes Chevon from the previous version, and issued GL 41 to allow some activities, with a lot of caveats, by Chevron in Venezuela:

OFAC also issued two new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Venezuela Sanctions

1099. Do non-U.S. persons risk exposure to U.S. sanctions for facilitating transactions related to Chevron Corporation (Chevron) and its joint ventures in Venezuela that are authorized pursuant to Venezuela General License (GL) 41?

No.  Non-U.S. persons, including foreign financial institutions, generally do not risk exposure to U.S. sanctions for facilitating transactions or payments for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Chevron, its subsidiaries, joint ventures, or contractors that are authorized pursuant to Venezuela GL 41.  Non-U.S. persons generally do not risk exposure to U.S. blocking sanctions under the Venezuela Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR Part 591, for engaging in transactions with blocked persons, where those transactions would not require a specific license if engaged in by a U.S. person.  

Released on 11/26/2022

Venezuela Sanctions

1098. Does Venezuela General License (GL) 41 authorize U.S. persons to provide goods or services for Chevron Corporation’s (Chevron) operation and management of its joint ventures (JVs) in Venezuela?

Yes, provided that such goods and services are for certain activities related to the operation and management of Chevron’s joint ventures in Venezuela, as specified in GL 41.  Such activities include, among others, the production and lifting of petroleum or petroleum products produced by the Chevron’s JVs; related maintenance, repair, or servicing of the Chevron JVs; sale of petroleum or petroleum products to the United States produced by the Chevron JVs , provided that the petroleum and petroleum products produced by the Chevron JVs are first sold to Chevron; the procurement and import into Venezuela of goods or other inputs for authorized activities; and the processing of payments by U.S. financial institutions related to the foregoing activities.  Please see GL 41 for a complete list of authorized activities and associated conditions.

Released on 11/26/2022

OFAC FAQs 1098 & 1099

And State:

Joint Statement on Venezuela Negotiations

MEDIA NOTE

OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON

NOVEMBER 26, 2022

The following statement was released by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell Fontelles, the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs the Honourable Mélanie Joly, and the United Kingdom Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly. 

We welcome the decision announced today by Venezuelan negotiators to restart the dialogue process in Mexico City.  We urge the parties to engage in good faith toward a comprehensive agreement leading to free and fair elections in 2024, the restoration of democratic institutions, and an end to the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

We welcome the Mesa Social humanitarian agreement and the willingness of all parties to pursue joint initiatives that will benefit the Venezuelan people and help address their dire humanitarian needs.  This agreement provides the template for how further progress can be secured.  We are grateful for the work of the United Nations towards this goal.

We believe that participation in the negotiations should be inclusive, diverse, and representative of the Venezuelan population to ensure that an agreement is durable and long-lasting.

We continue to call for the unconditional release of all those unjustly detained for political reasons, the independence of the electoral process and judicial institutions, freedom of expression including for members of the press, and respect for human rights.

We remain committed to supporting the return of democracy in Venezuela and the efforts by Venezuelans to reach their democratic aspirations.  In this context, we underline the need for the immediate implementation of the recommendations of the 2021 EU Electoral Observation Mission to Venezuela aimed at improving future electoral processes in line with international commitments on democratic elections subscribed by Venezuela.

We will continue to work with our international partners to address the urgent needs of all Venezuelans inside and outside their country.

We are grateful to Norway for their steadfast dedication in facilitating this process, to Mexico for hosting the negotiations, and to Venezuela’s democratic actors whose commitment to finding a negotiated solution to the crisis has been resolute.

We reiterate our willingness to review sanctions policies if the regime makes meaningful progress in the announced talks to alleviate the suffering of the Venezuelan people and bring them closer to a restoration of democracy.

U.S. State Department Press Release

and Treasury:

PRESS RELEASES

Treasury Issues Venezuela General License 41 Upon Resumption of Mexico City Talks

November 26, 2022

WASHINGTON — On November 26th, the Unitary Platform and the Maduro regime announced the resumption of talks in Mexico City; a humanitarian agreement focused on education, health, food security, flood response, and electricity programs that will benefit the Venezuelan people; and agreement on the continuation of talks focused on the 2024 elections. Following this announcement and consistent with U.S. government policy, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued Venezuela General License (GL) 41, authorizing Chevron Corporation to resume limited natural resource extraction operations in Venezuela. This action reflects longstanding U.S. policy to provide targeted sanctions relief based on concrete steps that alleviate the suffering of the Venezuelan people and support the restoration of democracy.

This authorization prevents PdVSA from receiving profits from the oil sales by Chevron. GL 41 authorizes activity related to Chevron’s joint ventures in Venezuela only, and does not authorize other activity with PdVSA. Other Venezuela-related sanctions and restrictions imposed by the United States remain in place; the United States will vigorously enforce these sanctions and will continue to hold accountable any actor that engages in corruption, violates U.S. laws, or abuses human rights in Venezuela. 

GL 41 authorizes transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to certain activities related to the operation and management by Chevron Corporation or its subsidiaries of its joint ventures involving blocked Venezuelan state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) or any entity in which PdVSA owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest.

The announcements by the Unitary Platform and the Maduro regime are important steps in the right direction to restore democracy in the country. The United States welcomes and supports the reopening of negotiations between the Unitary Platform and the Maduro regime, as part of our longstanding policy to support the peaceful restoration of democracy, free and fair elections, and respect for the rights and freedoms of Venezuelans.

Concurrent with the issuance of Venezuela GL 41, OFAC also issued public guidance indicating that U.S. persons are authorized to provide goods and services for certain activities as specified in GL 41 and that non-U.S. persons generally do not risk U.S. sanctions exposure for facilitating transactions that are authorized by GL 41. In light of Venezuela GL 41, OFAC also extended Venezuela GL 8K and removed Chevron from that license.

U.S. Treasury Department Press Release

issued press releases.

Links:

OFAC Notice

General Licenses 8K, 41

New FAQs – 1098 & 1099

Press Releases – State, Treasury

Categories: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Guidance Licenses OFAC Updates Venezuela sanctions

eric9to5

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