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Export Control and International Economic Sanctions are a reality of international commerce and a sign of the day and age we live in. 

Sanctions and embargoes are political trade tools, mainly put in place by the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU).

The main aim of all UN sanctions and embargoes, as set out in the UN Charter, is to implement decisions by its Security Council to maintain or restore international peace and security.


The EU imposes sanctions and embargoes to further its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) objectives. EU measures can also be imposed to uphold respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

In addition to UN and EU sanctions, sanctions and embargoes may be put in place by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, who can also impose national arms embargoes.

Hammad assists with regulatory compliance and representing clients in enforcement cases arising from the regulations of the UK and the EU. 

EU sanctions apply within the jurisdiction of the EU. The sanction apply to EU nationals in any location; to companies and organisations incorporated under the law of a member state - including branches of EU companies in third countries; on board of aircrafts or vessels under member states´ jurisdiction.

When a sanction or embargo is set, the UK follows international procedure to put it in place in British law.


The UN Security Council imposes sanctions through Security Council Resolutions. The EU acts on these by adopting a Common Position and where appropriate, an EU regulation directly applicable to member states is introduced. Where sanctions and embargo measures require more than administrative action to implement them, the UK introduces new or amends existing secondary licensing and enforcement legislation.


The most frequently applied measures are:

  • embargoes on exporting or supplying arms and associated technical assistance, training and financing

  • a ban on exporting equipment that might be used for internal repression

  • financial sanctions on individuals in government, government bodies and associated companies, or terrorist groups and individuals associated with those groups

  • travel bans on named individuals


  • bans on imports of raw materials or goods from the sanctions target


Other measures may be applied according to individual circumstances.

Learn more about challenging sanctions and embargoes.

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