President Barack Obama has issued an executive order lifting 20-year-old economic sanctions on the Republic of Sudan, allowing US persons to perform trade and financial transactions with the country.

The US placed an embargo prohibiting most transactions with Sudan in 1997. This involved export control regulations managed by the US Commerce and State Departments, and the more financial ‘Sudanese sanctions regulations’ (SSR) administered by the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

The new executive order concerns the SSR part of the sanctions, with OFAC set to issue a new general licence tomorrow (January 17) authorising all activities that previously were prohibited under the SSR and related executive orders.

As a result, US persons will be authorised to process financial transactions involving persons in Sudan and to facilitate transactions between Sudan and third countries. US and non-US persons will also be able to engage in transactions related to imports from and exports to Sudan (of items that are not subject to export controls).

Furthermore, a large number of Sudanese individuals and entities are expected to be removed from the US List of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN List), though some will remain on the list under other authorities.

However, law firm Dechert warns that once in office next week, president elect Donald Trump will have the ability to reimpose sanctions on Sudan.

“Upon assuming office on January 20, president elect Trump will have the ability to revoke the measures and reimpose sanctions on Sudan. Based on past statements from Trump and his nominees for key US national security and foreign policy positions, it is unclear whether the incoming administration may seek to do. In comparison, Trump has weighed in on sanctions regarding Iran and Russia,” the firm says.

Moreover, export restrictions and the arms embargo managed by the Commerce and State Departments remain in place, requiring licences for controlled goods, particularly in defense, software and technology.