Economic Sanctions

Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Inside Straight, Above the Law’s column for in-house counsel, written by Mark Herrmann.

The Libyan rebels have it easy. All they have to do is overthrow a megalomaniacal dictator who has mustard gas.

But in-house lawyers? Now, they have it tough.

(I write these columns several days before they appear on-line. If Qaddafi is still in power as of Monday, March 7, then read this column as providing advice for the future. If, on the other hand, Qaddafi’s already out of power, then view this as a remarkably quick historical case study.)

On February 25, President Obama signed an Executive Order prohibiting certain transactions relating to Libya. (Here’s a link to that order.) Australia, Canada, and the United Nations Security Council promptly imposed sanctions of their own. Other countries will surely follow suit.

The rules governing trade with Libya will evolve in the United States as, among other things, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control identifies entities linked to the targeted regime or that engage in targeted behaviors. The rules will also change in the rest of the world, as other countries create and implement sanctions regimes. Large multinational companies will be doing business in countries that will impose differing economic sanctions on Libya.

What will smart outside lawyers do?

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