Biden Administration to Review Possible Sanctions Relief in Response to Covid-19
By Mengqi Sun
The Biden administration is expected to review existing economic
sanctions for possible relief to help with the global response in
combating the coronavirus pandemic.
The secretaries of the State, Treasury and Commerce departments,
in consultation with the Health and Human Services secretary and
U.S. Agency for International Development administrator, will
review existing U.S. and multilateral sanctions to evaluate whether
they are hindering responses to the pandemic, according to a
provision in a national security directive issued by President
Biden on Thursday.
The secretaries then will make recommendations to the president,
through the national security adviser and Covid-19 response
coordinator, for any changes in approach, according to the
directive, which focuses on U.S. leadership in the global response
to the pandemic.
Mr. Biden has nominated former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet
Yellen to lead the Treasury. He nominated Antony Blinken, a former
deputy secretary of state, to lead the State Department. Former
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo has been nominated for the Commerce
secretary post. The appointments await confirmation by the
The directive comes after an effort last year by the Treasury
Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control to clarify
humanitarian assistance exceptions to U.S. sanctions during the
OFAC in April published a fact sheet that highlighted exemptions
and authorizations for humanitarian assistance and trade under
various OFAC programs to help countries combat Covid-19, including
those related to Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, Syria and Cuba.
The new review hopefully can yield even clearer direction on
licensing and guidance to help facilitate medical deliveries to
jurisdictions that are under sanctions, according to Adam M. Smith,
a partner at law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.
Write to Mengqi Sun at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 22, 2021 17:50 ET (22:50 GMT)
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