Trade Sanctions

To succeed in international trade, companies must be aware of and comply with a wide range of laws and regulations. Before you present your shipment to the airline, it's important to make sure that it's allowed to travel on the intended route and through transit points. This is your responsibility as the customer. You can do so by checking all relevant authorizations.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive review of the laws and regulations that may apply to air transport. Shippers and Consignees, with the professional support of their Forwarding Agents, bear such responsibility towards governments and their enforcement authorities.

What are trade Sanctions?

Trade Sanctions are penalties that one or more countries or international organizations impose to influence the behavior of a country, government, or specific individuals or entities. These actions are typically taken when the target country or entity engages in activities that violate established international norms or principles.

What is the goal of trade Sanctions?

Trade Sanctions are a tool used in foreign policy to exert pressure on a target country in order to change its behavior. They can be imposed for several reasons such as human rights abuses, nuclear proliferation, aggression towards neighboring countries, or any other actions that go against international norms. The primary objective of trade sanctions is to encourage the target country to comply with international standards or achieve specific policy goals.

It's important to understand that trade sanctions can have varying impacts, including economic consequences for the population of the target country. Moreover, their effectiveness can depend on the specific situation and the level of international support for the trade sanctions.


"Circumvention of trade sanctions refers to evading economic restrictions imposed by one country on another. Trade sanctions are often used as a tool to discourage specific behaviors, alter the actions of a targeted government, or address security concerns." Circumvention can take various forms, and it typically involves finding ways to conduct business or trade with a sanctioned entity or country in violation of the trade sanctions.

Circumventing trade sanctions is illegal and can result in serious consequences, including penalties and legal action. Governments and international organizations work to detect and prevent such activities to ensure the effectiveness of trade sanctions.

Trade Sanctions against Russia

All shipments to/from Russia are prohibited, more information can be found on Sanctions against Russia

Shipments to Ukraine

Since Russia occupied parts of Ukraine, the Dutch State Department has implemented a policy that aligns with the US trade sanctions. Hence, all goods transported to Ukraine are strictly monitored, and there is a 'full denial, unless' policy in place. This doesn't imply any actual trade sanctions on Ukraine, but rather a check by the Dutch State Department on all transport to Ukraine.

Shipments originating in Ukraine are not sanctioned, except for those that originate in the occupied territories by Russia, which are considered part of the export trade sanctions on Russia.

EU Trade Sanctions

The European Union (EU) imposes trade sanctions to achieve targeted policy objectives, such as promoting peace, security, human rights, and democracy, or responding to violations of international law. These trade sanctions can be directed at individuals, entities or even whole countries, and come in various forms.

For additional information about measures imposed by the EU Security Council on individuals and entities, you can refer to the United Nations Security Council Consolidated List

EU sanctions map

The EU sanctions map provides comprehensive details of all EU trade sanctions regimes and their corresponding legal acts, including those regimes adopted by the UN Security Council and transposed at the EU level.


EUR-Lex is the official online access to EU Law, providing comprehensive legal documents including trade sanctions adopted by the Council of the EU. It's available in all EU languages and updated daily.

United States Trade Sanctions and OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control)

US trade sanctions are restrictions imposed by the government on individuals, entities, or countries to achieve specific foreign policy goals. They are enforced through laws and regulations that prohibit US individuals and companies from engaging in certain activities with sanctioned entities.

OFAC is a US Treasury office that enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals. They maintain the SDN List of sanctioned individuals, entities, and countries. It's important for individuals and companies to check the list before conducting business with others to avoid legal consequences.

For more information check out the website of OFAC.
For more information on trade Sanctions Lists check the Sanctions List Search

Types of Trade Sanctions

  • Economic trade sanctions refer to restrictions on trade, financial transactions, or investments with the target country or entities. These may include trade embargoes, freezing of assets, or limiting access to international financial markets.
  • Diplomatic trade sanctions involve reducing or severing diplomatic ties, such as recalling ambassadors or closing diplomatic missions.
  • Travel bans are restrictions that can prevent specific individuals from travelling to or within the sanctioning countries.
  • Arms embargoes prohibit the sale or transfer of weapons and military equipment to the target country.

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