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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sanctions-policy-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/sanctions-policy-if-theres-no-brexit-deal
This page tells you what to do if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. It will be updated if anything changes, including if a deal is agreed.
This guidance explains how the UK would implement sanctions if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Sanctions, often known in the EU as ‘restrictive measures’, are a foreign policy and national security tool which impose immigration, trade, financial and transport restrictions. The government uses sanctions to fulfil a range of purposes, including as part of our efforts to maintain international peace and security, and to prevent terrorism.
The UK and other countries and international organisations implement sanctions through sanctions regimes. A sanctions regime is a collection of sanctions targeted for a specific country or group, or with a specific purpose. The most frequently applied measures within sanctions regimes include:
- trade sanctions: controls on the import, export and movement of goods, the provision and supply of services and the involvement of UK people in those activities
- banning the travel of specific people
- financial sanctions, including freezing the financial assets of specific people
If there’s no Brexit deal
As international law requires, the government will implement UN sanctions in UK domestic law after Brexit.
If there’s no deal, the UK will look to carry over all EU sanctions at the time of our departure. The government will implement sanctions regimes through new legislation, in the form of regulations, made under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 (the Sanctions Act). The Sanctions Act will provide the legal basis for the UK to impose, update and lift sanctions after Brexit.
The government proposes to put much of this legislation before Parliament before Brexit, to prepare for the possibility of leaving without a deal. Any sanctions regimes that are not addressed, through regulations under the Sanctions Act, would continue as retained EU law under the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018. This means there will be no gaps in implementing existing sanctions regimes if there’s no deal.
We expect that the UK’s sanctions regulations will include:
- the purposes of the sanctions regime (what the UK hopes will be achieved through imposing sanctions)
- the criteria to be met before sanctions can be imposed on a person or group
- details of sanctions, such as trade and financial sanctions
- details of exemptions that may apply, such as exemptions which allow people to trade with a certain country that would otherwise be prohibited by the regulations
- how the government will enforce the sanctions measures
- other areas, such as circumstances in which information about sanctions may be shared
After Brexit, in addition to implementing UN sanctions, and looking to carry over existing EU sanctions, the government will also have the powers to adopt other sanctions under the Sanctions Act. The goverment will work with the EU and other international partners on sanctions where this is in our mutual interest.
What you would need to do
UK sanctions measures can apply to action taken by any person in the UK (or its territorial waters), and to action taken by a UK person anywhere else. A UK person includes both UK nationals and companies incorporated in the UK.
If the UK has not yet made regulations for the sanctions regime in question, you should refer to any EU Council Regulations retained under the EU Withdrawal Act 2018, which may be modified under that Act.
If there’s no deal, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office will publish further guidance on sanctions. If you are seeking information about licences or exemptions from sanctions, contact the Office for Financial Sanctions Implementation and the Export Control Joint Unit. If you are undertaking activity which is currently exempt from EU sanctions, you should check UK sanctions regulations to see whether they contain relevant exemptions to cover that activity.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office is engaging with key stakeholders, including those who implement sanctions, to outline and discuss our future approach to sanctions.
For information on:
- financial sanctions: email the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation OFSI@hmtreasury.gov.uk or subscribe to the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation’s e-alerts
- trade sanctions: email the Export Control Organisation Helpline firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 020 7215 4594 or subscribe to the Export Control Organisation’s notices to exporters
- transport sanctions: email the Department for Transport email@example.com
- sanctions generally: email the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s Sanctions Unit firstname.lastname@example.org
This information is for guidance only. Consider whether you need separate professional advice before making specific preparations.