By Maya Lester QC & Michael O’Kane

OFSI adds 3 Russia sanctions FAQs on the food security licensing provision

OFSI yesterday updated its Russia sanctions Guidance with 3 new FAQs (24 to 26) to clarify how to use the food security licensing provision in the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, particularly with regard to providing insurance. See also the EU Commission’s recent FAQ update on a similar topic (post). The OFSI questions and answers are as follows:

  1. Are insurers allowed to insure Russian ships and cargo carrying food and fertiliser from Russia and Ukraine to a third country?

Insurers may apply for a licence from OFSI under the food security purpose within the Regulations. This allows anything to be done in connection with the production or distribution of food for the benefit of the civilian population of a country, including providing insurance for vessels or goods. Furthermore, applying under the food security purpose does not preclude applicants from also applying under other purposes in the Regulations (e.g prior obligations) if applicable. Applicants must demonstrate how their activity satisfies that particular purpose, for example how their activity is in connection to the production / distribution of food.

  1. Are financial institutions allowed to provide financial services, such as payment channels, for food and fertiliser exports from Russia and Ukraine to a third country?

Yes, as long as the required licence is in place. Financial institutions may apply for a licence under the food security purpose to provide these services. However, there may already by an OFSI licence in place permitting food / fertiliser exports, which will usually contain a permission to allow banks and other financial institutions to effect the activities of the licence. Therefore separate licences for financial institutions are usually unnecessary.

  1. Is the production and distribution of fertiliser covered by the licensing purpose for food security?

Yes, OFSI considers that the production and distribution of fertiliser is within the scope of the food security licensing purpose.

See also the UK Guidance section of this site.

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About Maya Lester KC

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Maya Lester KC is a senior barrister (King’s Counsel) at Brick Court Chambers with a wide-ranging practice in public law, European law, competition law, international law, human...

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