Sanctions Eased for Syrian Opposition

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 12, 2013

Through the Departments of State, Commerce, and Treasury, the Administration is taking several significant steps to ease U.S. economic sanctions, enable additional relief and reconstruction activities in opposition-controlled areas of Syria, and support the Syrian opposition and the people of Syria.

Export Waiver for U.S.-Origin Goods Benefitting the Syrian People

Secretary of State John F. Kerry signed a limited waiver of the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003 (SAA), consistent with Section 5(b) of the Act. The waiver authorizes the export and re-export, subject to case-by-case review, of certain U.S.-origin items to liberated areas of Syria for the benefit of the Syrian people. The waiver will authorize the Department of Commerce to process license applications for export and re-exports of commodities, software, and technology, including but not limited to those related to water supply and sanitation; agricultural production and food processing; power generation; oil and gas production; construction and engineering; transportation; and educational infrastructure. These items are intended to help address the critical needs of the Syrian people and facilitate reconstruction in liberated areas. Of note, the export of food and medicine does not currently require a license and medical devices are covered under an existing waiver.

Today, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security will post notice on its website that it will immediately accept license applications for the export and re-export of items covered by the new waiver.

Statement of Licensing Policy on Economic Activities Benefitting the Syrian People

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), in consultation with the State Department, today issued a Statement of Licensing Policy (SLP) inviting U.S. persons to apply to OFAC for specific licenses that would enable them to participate in certain economic activities in Syria. The SLP specifically focuses on applications by U.S. persons seeking to engage in oil-related transactions that benefit the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, or its supporters, and transactions involving Syria’s agricultural and telecommunications sectors. U.S. persons wishing to engage in other economic activities in Syria, particularly in liberated areas, that are within the scope of the SLP are also invited to apply to OFAC for a specific license. All license applications will be subject to review by OFAC and other U.S. agencies to ensure that proposed activities are consistent with U.S. foreign policy goals. Specific licenses will not authorize transactions involving specially designated nationals (SDNs).

Protecting Syria’s Cultural Heritage

OFAC is also amending Syria general license 11 to authorize the exportation of services and funds transfers in support of not-for-profit activities to preserve Syria’s cultural heritage sites. Our priority in Syria is to help the people, ensuring that food and medical supplies can reach Syrians afflicted by the ongoing conflict. We also recognize that rebuilding Syria’s future requires helping preserve the country’s cultural heritage and we want to ensure that sanctions do not impede that important effort.

PRN: 2013/0719