UK sanctions after Brexit: the future remains unclear
The House of Commons Foreign Affairs committee has launched an inquiry into the future of UK sanctions policy to “explore and evaluate” different options for the UK’s approach to sanctions policy after leaving the EU.
In launching the inquiry the committee underlines that “Sanctions are an essential instrument of foreign policy, enabling the Government to penalise rogue regimes and human rights abusers around the world, and to combat the influence of so-called dirty money here in the UK.”
The committee has invited submissions that address the following issues:
This is a timely inquiry as the Government has recently issued a paper relating to sanctions policy in the event of a “No Deal” Brexit. This is one of a series of technical papers which provides information to allow, we are told, businesses and citizens to understand what they would need to do in advance of a “no deal” scenario and allow them to make “informed plans and preparations”.
Interestingly, sanctions policy is one of the first areas where the Government has taken steps to introduce primary legislation to prepare for the UK’s future outside of the European Union with the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act (“Sanctions Act”). This Act was enacted on the 23 May 2018 and will provide the legal basis for the UK to impose, update and lift sanctions after leaving the EU.
The recent Serious and Organised Crime strategy confirms that Government is working to “operationalise” the Sanctions Act for when the UK leaves the EU. The Government will make decisions on the use of sanctions in the future where appropriate, as part of the UK’s wider foreign policy and national security toolkit.
It is clear that sanctions policy post-Brexit, both as an instrument of foreign policy and in relation to tackling illicit finance, is a Government and parliamentary priority. Indeed the committee’s inquiry follows an earlier one by the House of Lords EU External Affairs Committee “Brexit: Sanction policy” (see my related blog on UK Sanctions after Brexit), as well as a House of Commons Treasury Committee inquiry into Economic Crime which included anti-money laundering, counter-terrorist financing and sanctions regimes (See my related blog on Sanctions in the Spotlight).
Advisors to those subject to the sanctions regime or adversely affected by it may wish to comment on the impact of the current and post Brexit regime on individuals, firms and the wider economy.
The deadline for written submissions is 14 December 2018.
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