Extension of a General License Authorizing Transactions Between U.S. Persons and Two Belarusian Companies

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
November 30, 2010

The United States has amended the Belarus Sanctions Regulations to permit further transactions between U.S. persons and the Belarusian companies Polotsk Steklovolokno OAO and/or Lakokraska OAO, by extending the general license authorizing such transactions until May 31, 2011. All property and interests in property of Polotsk Steklovolokno OAO and Lakokraska OAO that were previously blocked pursuant to Executive Order 13405 remain blocked. The general license authorizes transactions otherwise prohibited under the Belarus sanctions program which was first imposed by the U.S. government on certain individuals and companies in Belarus in 2006, due to the Government of Belarus’s conduct with respect to democracy and human rights.

In June 2006, by Executive Order 13405, the President imposed economic sanctions on the Belarusian state corporation Belneftekhim, and placed visa/travel restrictions on 16 Belarusian officials in reaction to the Belarusian government’s denial of human rights. These sanctions prevented American corporations from conducting business with Belneftekhim. In September 2008, after the Government of Belarus released its political prisoners, the United States issued the general license authorizing transactions with two subsidiaries of Belneftekhim: Polotsk Steklovolokno OAO and Lakokraska OAO. This general license has been extended five times, at three or six month intervals.

While the Departments of State and Treasury have extended the general license authorizing transactions between U.S. persons and the two Belneftekhim subsidiaries until May 31, 2011, sanctions related to Belarus remain in force, due to the lack of progress on human rights issues and the continued restriction of basic freedoms.

Our sanctions will continue to be calibrated in response to the Belarusian authorities’ actions with respect to democracy and human rights, including but not exclusively the conduct of the Presidential election in December 2010.

PRN: 2010/1726