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On November 13, 2017 the European Union imposed a military embargo as well as additional restrictive measures against Venezuela under EU Council Decision No. 2017/2074/CFSP and Council Regulation (EU) No.2017/2063. This sanctions regime came in force on its publication date in the European Union Official Journal (November 14, 2017). The aim of the new sanctions are to prevent the “excessive use of violence or abuse of human rights in Venezuela, in light of the recent deterioration of democracy and the rule of law” following massive protests against the Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro.

These restrictive measures include an arms embargo as well as other specific measures to restrict the export of equipment that might be used for internal repression, including communication interception equipment.

The scope of the sanctions regime is as follow:

 Arms embargo, including any direct and indirect related technical assistance, brokering services and financial services (article 1).

1.  Arms embargo, including any direct and indirect related technical assistance, brokering services and financial services (article 1)

2.  Embargo on goods which might might be used for internal repression including any direct and indirect related technical assistance, brokering services and financial services (article 3)

Several exceptions may apply:

  • Contracts for military products in force before November 13th, 2017 and related ancillary contracts, subject to a 5 days notification to the relevant Member State (article 2) and subsequent authorisation by the said State;
  • Non-lethal equipment for humanitarian or protective use, or use by the United Nations (UN) or European Union (EU) and its Member States (article 4.1(a));
  • Demining equipment (article 4.1(b));
  • Maintenance of non-lethal equipment that might be used by the Navy or Coastguards for border protection, regional stability or counter-narcotics (article 4.1(c));
  • Protective clothing (including flak jackets and helmets) temporarily exported to Venezuela for UN personnel, EU personnel, Member States personnel, journalists or humanitarian personnel (article 4.2).

3.  A ban on the sale of equipment used for monitoring or interception of internet or telephone communication (including technology and software) by the Venezuelan regime (article 5.1) unless there is reasonable grounds to determine that the equipment would not be used from internal repression purposes by the Venezuelan authorities (article 5.2).

4.  Targeted financial sanctions and assets freeze against natural and legal persons responsible for serious human rights violations or undermining democracy or the rule of law in Venezuela (no individual or legal person’s names have been published for the moment).

The execution of existing contracts may still be possible under the new sanctions, provided that the contract is notified to the relevant Member State within 5 days after the publication of the Decision (i.e. before Nov. 19th) and it is authorised by the relevant Member State.

Annexes I and II of the Council Regulation (EU) 2017/2063 provides lists of controlled items with regards to “equipment which might be used for internal repression” and “equipment used for monitoring or interception”.

For additional information about the implementation of this new sanction regime against Venezuela and how your business may be impacted, please contact our Global Export Controls & Sanctions team, below:

  • Pablo LeCour is a Partner in Deloitte’s Global Export Controls & Sanctions team, London
  • Romain Broner is a Manager in Deloitte’s Global Export Controls & Sanctions team, London.