On May 15, 2024, the Sanctions (EU Exit) (Miscellaneous Amendments and Revocations) Regulations 2024 was laid before parliament (“Regulations”).  Among other things, the Regulations included a package of new trade sanctions measures under the UK’s Belarus sanctions regime targeting aluminum, as well as expanding sanctions on electronics (including semiconductors, electronic integrated circuits, and the machinery / apparatus needed for their manufacture), navigational instruments and appliances, aircraft, spacecraft and related parts.  The new trade sanctions came into effect on May 16, 2024.

Measures Targeting Belarusian Aluminum

The Regulations amend the Republic of Belarus (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (“Belarus Regulations”) to introduce a prohibition on persons subject to UK sanctions jurisdiction:

  • importing into the UK aluminium that originates, or is consigned from, Belarus;
  • directly or indirectly acquiring aluminium that originates or is located in Belarus;
  • directly or indirectly supplying or delivering aluminium from a place in Belarus to a country that is not the UK, Isle of Man, or Belarus (“Third Country”);
  • directly or indirectly supplying or delivering aluminium originating in Belarus from a place in one non-UK country (i.e., not the UK or Isle of Man) to another non-UK country; and
  • directly or indirectly providing technical assistance, financing, financial services, or brokering services relating to any of the foregoing activities.  

For the purpose of these sanctions, “aluminium” is defined as anything falling within Commodity Code 76, as follows:

Commodity CodeDescription
7601Unwrought aluminium
7602Aluminum waste and scrap
7603Aluminum powders and flakes
7604Aluminum bars, rods, and profiles
7605Aluminum wire
7606Aluminum plates, sheets and strip, of a thickness exceeding 0.2 mm
7607Aluminum foil (whether or not printed or backed with paper, paperboard, plastics or similar backing materials) of a thickness (excluding any backing) not exceeding 0.2 mm
7608Aluminum tubes and pipes
7609Aluminum tube or pipe fittings (e.g., couplings, elbows, sleeves)
7610Aluminum structures (excluding prefabricated buildings of heading 9406) and parts of structures (e.g., bridges and bridge-sections, towers, lattice masts, roofs, roofing frameworks, doors and windows and their frames and thresholds for doors, balustrades, pillars and columns); aluminum plates, rods, profiles, tubes and the like, prepared for use in structures
7611Aluminum reservoirs, tanks, vats and similar containers, for any material (other than compressed or liquefied gas), of a capacity exceeding 300 liters, whether or not lined or heat-insulated, but not fitted with mechanical or thermal equipment
7612Aluminum casks, drums, cans, boxes and similar containers (including rigid or collapsible tubular containers), for any material (other than compressed or liquefied gas), of a capacity not exceeding 300 liters, whether or not lined or heat-insulated, but not fitted with mechanical or thermal equipment
7613Aluminum containers for compressed or liquefied gas
7614Stranded wire, cables, plaited bands and the like, of aluminum, not electrically insulated
7615Table, kitchen or other household articles and parts thereof, of aluminum; pot scourers and scouring or polishing pads, gloves and the like, of aluminum; sanitary ware and parts thereof, of aluminum
7616Other articles of aluminium

While there are not any exceptions that would authorize activity otherwise prohibited by these new sanctions, the Statutory Guidance on the Belarus Regulations states that it is possible to seek a licence from the Department for Business and Trade’s Export Control Joint Unit when the proposed activity relates to the execution of obligations arising from contract concluded before these sanctions came into effect on May 16, 2024.

Expansion of Items Covered by Trade Sanctions on Critical-Industry Goods and Technology

The Regulations also expand the existing trade sanctions on the export, supply, delivery, making available, and transfer of critical-industry goods and technology to, or for use in Belarus, or to a person connected with Belarus, pursuant to Part 5, Chapter 2 of the Belarus Regulations.  The changes to the lists of items classed as “critical-industry goods and technology” also broaden the restrictions on providing technical assistance, financing, financial services, and brokering services in relation to the newly listed items.  The focus of the expanded list of items subject to these trade sanctions is on electronics, navigation and avionics, and aerospace and propulsion items.

Part 2 (Electronics), Schedule 2C of the Belarus Regulations

The list of electronics items that are subject to these trade sanctions has been expanded to include:

  • transmission apparatus for radio-broadcasting or television falling within Commodity Code 8528 89;
  • electrical capacitors falling within Commodity Codes 8532 21 and 8532 24;
  • printed circuits falling within Commodity Code 8534 00;
  • electrical apparatus for switching /protecting electrical circuits or for making connections to, or in, electrical circuits falling within Commodity Codes 8536 69 and 8536 90;
  • semiconductor devices and piezo-electric crystals falling within Commodity Codes 8541 10, 8541 21, 8541 29, 8541 30, 8541 49, 8541 51, 8541 59, and 8541 60;
  • electronic integrated circuits falling within Commodity Codes 8542 31 – 33 and 8542 39;
  • signal generators falling within Commodity Code 8543 20;
  • instruments and apparatus using optical radiations falling within Commodity Code 9027 50; and
  • oscilloscopes, spectrum analysers, other instruments and apparatus for measuring or checking electrical quantities falling within Commodity Codes 9030 20, 9030 32, 9030 39, and 9030 82.

Part 6 (Navigation and Avionics), Schedule 2C of the Belarus Regulations

The list of navigation and avionics items that are subject to these trade sanctions has been expanded to include:

  • optical devices, appliances, and instruments falling within Commodity Code 9013 80;
  • instruments and appliances for aeronautical or space navigation falling within Commodity Code 9014 20; and
  • navigational instruments and appliances falling within Commodity Code 9014 80.

Part 8 (Aerospace and Propulsion), Schedule 2C of the Belarus Regulations

The list of aerospace and propulsion items that are subject to these trade sanctions has been expanded to include:

  • aircraft, spacecraft, and parts thereof falling within Chapter 88 of the Goods Classification Table;
  • hydraulic, lubricating, and other oils falling within Commodity Codes 2710 19 83 or 2710 19 99;
  • brake discs, linings, and pads falling within Commodity Codes ex 6813 20 00 and 6813 81 00;
  • turbojets, turbopropellers, and related parts falling within Commodity Codes 8411 11 – 12, 8411 21 – 22, and 8411 91;
  • aerials, aerial reflectors, and other parts falling within Commodity Codes 8517 71 00 and 8517 79 00;
  • machines and appliances for testing the hardness, strength, compressibility, elasticity or other mechanical properties of materials falling within Commodity Code 9024 10; and
  • instruments and apparatus for measuring or checking the flow, level, pressure or other variables of liquids or gases falling within Commodity Code 9026.

Expansion of Items Covered by Trade Sanctions on Machinery-Related Goods and Technology

The Regulations also expand the existing trade sanctions on the export, supply, delivery, making available, and transfer of machinery-related goods and technology to, or for use in Belarus, or to a person connected with Belarus, pursuant to Part 5, Chapter 2 of the Belarus Regulations.  The changes to the lists of items classed as “machinery-related goods and technology” also broaden the restrictions on providing technical assistance, financing, financial services, and brokering services in relation to the newly listed items.

The additions to the list of items subject to these trade sanctions focuses on machinery, apparatus, and related parts for the manufacture of semiconductor devices and electronic integrated circuits, which complements the expansion of the UK’s Belarus trade sanctions on critical-industry goods and technology to cover certain semiconductor devices and electronic integrated circuits. 

In particular, the definition of Schedule 2I of the Belarus Regulations has been amended to include machines and apparatus for the:

  • manufacture of boules or wafers falling within Commodity Code 8486 10;
  • manufacture of semiconductor devices or electronic integrated circuits falling within Commodity Code 8486 20; and
  • manufacture or repair of masks and reticles, assembly of semiconductor devices, as well as lifting, handling, loading, or unloading semiconductor devices falling within Commodity Code 8486 40.

Conclusion

This latest package of trade sanctions measures includes some significant additions.  Companies and, in particular, those operating in the semiconductor and aerospace industries, should carefully check the lists of items that have been made subject to import and export sanctions to (i) whether and to what extent the expansion of the UK’s trade sanctions targeting Belarus may impact their business activities.  For more information on these developments, contact the author of this post, Alexandra Melia, in Steptoe’s Economic Sanctions team in London.