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US companies to quickly return to Russia if sanctions are lifted — expert

September 30, 2014, 12:59 UTC+3 NEW YORK
The expert says that difficulties in reversing sanctions against Libya and Myanmar have made US officials more careful to roll out more specific measures against Moscow
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© EPA/SHAWN THEW

NEW YORK, September 30. /ITAR-TASS/. If the anti-Russian sanctions, introduced by the United States in connection with the developments in Ukraine, are lifted, it will allow American businesses to regain their positions in the Russian market, a US economist said on Monday.

So-called “smart” sanctions against Russia appear tailored to allow Western business to quickly return, should Moscow change course, Jose Fernandez, former assistant secretary of state for economic, energy and business affairs said in an interview to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published on Monday.

Difficulty reversing what Mr. Fernandez called a “spaghetti bowl” of sanctions against Libya and Myanmar has made US officials careful to roll out more specific measures against Moscow, the article says.

Infographics Economical sanctions against Russia Economical sanctions against Russia
The USA, EU, Canada and Australia have introduced sanctions against Russia over its involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. Infographics by ITAR-TASS
“They are often something that you can’t just switch on and off,” Mr. Fernandez told WSJ’s Risk & Compliance Journal. For sanctions to achieve their desired goal, Mr. Fernandez said, it’s essential that Western business be allowed to quickly re-enter a country after the original reason for the penalties has changed. “There’s been an evolution in the thinking on sanctions,” said Mr. Fernandez, who helped craft US sanctions policy until a year ago.

“Targeting niche activities of specific companies, such as OAO Rosneft’s ability to drill in the Arctic, rather than broad punishment of Russia’s entire economy, will allow Western business to quickly return when the crisis ends, said Mr. Fernandez, who is now a partner at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP,” the article says.

On September 12, the United States imposed new sanctions on Russia in connection with the situation in Ukraine. The sanctions target, in particular, five Russian energy companies - Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, Lukoil, Surgutneftegaz and Rosneft. The sanctions banned the supplies to them of products, services and technology needed for deepwater offshore oil drilling, development of the Arctic oilfields or shale oil extraction.

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