U.S. sanctions regarding trade with Syria, new FAQ

Updated set of “frequently asked questions” (FAQs) concerning sanctions imposed on trade with Syria.

Updated set of FAQs concerning sanctions imposed on trade with Syria

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today updated a set of “frequently asked questions” (FAQs) concerning sanctions imposed on trade with Syria.

The Syria-related FAQs now include new FAQ 934 (text provided below, hyperlinks omitted).

934. Are the United Nations and the U.S. government permitted to conduct stabilization and early recovery-related activities and transactions involving Syria?  Does this apply to their contractors and grantees as well?

Yes.  The Syrian Sanctions Regulations (SySR) § 542.513 authorize, subject to certain conditions, the United Nations, its Specialized Agencies, Programmes, Funds, and Related Organizations and their employees, contractors, or grantees to engage in all transactions and activities in support of their official business in Syria, including any stabilization and early recovery-related activities and transactions in support of their official business.  This authorization applies to all employees, grantees, and contractors carrying out the official business of the United Nations, its Specialized Agencies, Programmes, Funds, and Related Organizations, including nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and private sector entities that are acting as grantees or contractors.  Please be aware that grantees or contractors conducting activities and transactions authorized under § 542.513 must provide a copy of their contract or grant with the United Nations, or its specialized Agencies, Programmes, Funds, and Related Organizations to any U.S. person, including U.S. financial institutions processing funds transfers in support of the authorized activities, before the U.S. person engages in or facilitates any transaction or activity.

In addition, § 542.211(d) and the general license at § 542.522 exempt and authorize, respectively, subject to certain conditions, the Federal Government and its employees, grantees, or contractors to engage in all transactions in support of their official business in Syria, including any stabilization and early recovery-related activities and transactions in support of their official business.  This exemption and authorization apply to all employees, grantees, and contractors carrying out the official business of the Federal Government, including NGOs and private sector entities that are acting as grantees or contractors.  Please be aware that grantees or contractors conducting transactions authorized under § 542.522 must provide a copy of their grant or contract with the Federal Government to any U.S. person, including U.S. financial institutions processing funds transfers in support of the authorized activities, before the U.S. person engages in or facilitates any transaction.  

For NGOs that are not acting as grantees or contractors of the aforementioned international organizations or the Federal Government, please see § 542.516 for authorizations under the SySR related to the export or reexport of certain services to Syria in support of certain NGO activities.

Separately, non-U.S. persons, including NGOs, private sector entities, and foreign financial institutions facilitating or assisting in the aforementioned activities, do not risk exposure to U.S. secondary sanctions pursuant to the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 for engaging in the above activities that are authorized or exempt for U.S. persons under the SySR.  Please see FAQ 884 for additional information.

Please note that this guidance does not apply to transactions and activities that may be subject to sanctions under other sanctions programs administered by OFAC (e.g., transactions with persons blocked under OFAC’s counterterrorism authority (E.O. 13224, as amended) or OFAC’s Syria-related authority (E.O. 13894)), unless exempt or otherwise authorized by OFAC.


For more information on this topic or to learn more about KPMG’s Trade & Customs Services, contact:

Doug Zuvich
Partner and Global Practice Leader
T: 312-665-1022
E: dzuvich@kpmg.com

John L. McLoughlin
Principal and East Coast Leader
T: 267-256-2614
E: jlmcloughlin@kpmg.com

Andy Siciliano
Partner and National Practice Leader
T: 631-425-6057
E: asiciliano@kpmg.com

Steve Brotherton
Principal and Global Export and Sanctions Leader
T: 415-963-7861
E: sbrotherton@kpmg.com

Luis (Lou) Abad
Principal, Washington National Tax
T: 212-954-3094
E: labad@kpmg.com

Irina Vaysfeld
Principal
T: 212-872-2973
E: ivaysfeld@kpmg.com

Amie Ahanchian
Principal
T: 202-533-3247
E: aahanchian@kpmg.com

Christopher Young
Principal
T: 312-665-3229
E: christopheryoung@kpmg.com

Gisele Belotto
Principal
T: 305-913-2779
E: gbelotto@kpmg.com

George Zaharatos
Principal
T: 404-222-3292
E: gzaharatos@kpmg.com

Andy Doornaert
Managing Director
T: 313-230-3080
E: adoornaert@kpmg.com

Jessica Libby
Principal
T: 612-305-5533
E: jlibby@kpmg.com

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