UK starts trade sanctions enforcement unit to fight evasion


(MENAFN) The British government announced on Monday the establishment of a dedicated law enforcement unit, the Trade Sanctions Enforcement Office, aimed at bolstering its authority in pursuing companies that attempt to evade sanctions imposed on Russia. This new office will be tasked with civil enforcement of trade sanctions, actively investigating potential violations, issuing sanctions, and referring cases for criminal law enforcement. The initiative, overseen by the Department for Business and Trade, is designed not only to crack down on sanctions evasion but also to assist companies in ensuring compliance. The unit's jurisdiction extends to the activities of any British national company or a company registered in the UK that might seek to bypass sanctions by routing products through other countries.

Expected to be operational early next year, the Trade Sanctions Enforcement Office will work in tandem with the existing Financial Sanctions Enforcement Office. The move comes as a response to concerns raised by the British government regarding attempts by Russia to circumvent existing sanctions. Last week, the UK introduced 46 new measures targeting individuals and groups from various countries allegedly involved in Russian military supply chains. These measures included entities operating in China, Turkey, Serbia, the United Arab Emirates, and Uzbekistan.

The British government highlighted that sanctions have been imposed on £20 billion (USD25.07 billion) worth of goods trade between the UK and Russia. Importantly, imports from Russia witnessed a substantial 94 percent decline in the year leading up to February 2023 compared to the previous year. The Trade Sanctions Enforcement Office is a strategic response to strengthen the UK's enforcement capabilities and ensure the efficacy of sanctions in the face of evolving circumvention tactics employed by targeted entities.

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