International Trade Policies

Access to markets affects business decisions. Various international trade policies affect the import and export of goods and services to and from occupied territories. Below you will find links to major international trade policies affecting access to and from markets in Crimea and Palestine.


Due to the Russian occupation of Crimea in March 2014, the United States, European Union and other countries have imposed economic sanctions targeting commercial operations involving Crimean territory, entities and individuals. In addition, there are sanctions that primarily target businesses and individuals with close ties to the current Russian administration.  

United States:

Below are links to the U.S. economic sanctions:

Executive Order 13360 (March 6th, 2014): The United States government imposes sanctions on individuals and entities involved in the annexation of Crimea.  

Executive Order 13361 (March 17th, 2014): The United States government imposes further restrictions on Russian individuals and entities involved in the annexation of Crimea.  

Executive Order 13362 (March 20th, 2014): The United States government imposes more sanctions on Russian individuals and entities involved in the annexation of Crimea.  

Executive Order 13685 (December 19th, 2014): The United States government imposes a full financial ban prohibiting U.S. persons and entities from new investment, performing transactions, exchanging goods, services and/or technology with the region of Crimea.

Crimea Sanctions Advisory (July 30th, 2015): The United States government issued this Advisory to highlight some of the practices that have been used to circumvent or evade U.S. sanctions involving Crimea.

For a full account of the U.S. sanctions, please see the Ukraine/Russia-related sanctions published by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

European Union:

European Union (EU) sanctions are imposed pursuant to the EU’s autonomous Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) powers. Decisions based on the CFSP powers require unanimity from the member states in The Council of the European Union. The Council of the European Union is made up of government ministers from each EU country and is responsible for negotiating and adopting laws. 

Major economic sanctions are listed below:

The Council of the European Union Conclusions on Ukraine (February 20th, 2014): The EU imposes restrictions in form of asset freeze and visa ban against those responsible for violence in Ukraine. 

The Council of the European Union Decision 2014/145/CFSP concerning Sanctions on entities and individuals (March 17th, 2014): The EU releases a list of sanctioned individuals and entities in relation to the annexation of Crimea.  

The Council of the European Union Decision 2017/1561/CFSP amending Decision 2014/145/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine (September 14th, 2017): The list of sanctioned individuals and entities in relation to Crimea was amended. The amendments included removals of four deceased individuals as well as three companies which merged into one entity. Decision 2017/1561/CFSP additionally renewed the provisions within Decision 2017/145/CFSP for six months.

The EU has extended the list of banned individuals on the following dates:

March 21st, 2014

April 29th, 2014

May 12th, 2014

July 11th, 2014

July 25th, 2014

July 30th, 2014

September 11th, 2014

November 28th, 2014

February 16th, 2015

November 9th, 2016

March 13th, 2017

August 4th, 2017

September 14th, 2017

The Council of the European Union Decision 2014/386/CFSP (June 23rd, 2014): The EU adopts an import ban on goods originating in Crimea and Sevastopol. 

The Council of the European Union adoption of trade restrictions 2014/512/CFSP (July 31st, 2014): The EU adopts a ban on new investment in selected sectors in Crimea and Sevastopol.  

Councilof the European Union adaptation of additional trade restrictions (December 18th, 2014): The EU imposes a ban on conducting business in Crimea and Sevastopol. Explicit sectors and types of businesses mentioned. 

The Council of European Union Conclusions on external relations (March 19th, 2015): The EU links the duration of the sanctions to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements.

The Council of European Union Decision 2015/971/CFSP (June 22nd, 2015): The EU amends the Council Decision 2014/512/CFSP, extending sanctions for a further six months.

Additional European Union extension of economic sanctions:

December 21st, 2015: Extension of sanctions for six months until July 31st, 2016. 

June 17th, 2016: Extension of sanctions for one year until June 23rd, 2017.

July 1st, 2016: Extension of sanctions for six months until January 31st, 2017.

June 28th, 2017: Extension of sanctions for six months until January 31st, 2018. 

Other Countries:


In August 2014, the Ukrainian Parliament passed legislation allowing the country to implement sanctions on Russia. In February 2015, Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council voted to impose sanctions on certain Russian companies and individuals, as well as a blockade on Crimea. 

Sanctions on Russia 
Blockade on Crimea 


Canada imposed sanctions on individuals and entities involved in the annexation of Crimea. 


Australia imposes sanctions that are similar to those imposed by the European Union. 


Japan joins the EU and U.S. in imposing sanctions on Russia following its occupation of Crimea.  


Norway joins the EU and US in imposing sanctions on Russia following its occupation of Crimea. Click here for the most recent updates.


Switzerland did not join the EU sanctions. However, it has imposed a number of measures to avoid undermining the EU sanctions. Click here for an outline of recent amendments in English with links to the full texts in German and French.

Russian Counter-Measures: 

In December 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a decree establishing Crimea and the City of Sevastopol as a Free Economic Zone (FEZ). The FEZ, which was expanded to include the inland waters surrounding Crimea, offers tax breaks and other incentives to businesses operating in Crimea and will expire in 25 years. 
Russia has introduced counter-sanctions against some of the countries that adopted economic sanctions targeting Crimean territory, entities and individuals, including the U.S., the EU, Norway, Canada and Australia. The counter-sanctions consist of a ban on specific individuals from entering Russia and an embargo on agricultural exports from these countries. 

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There are currently no economic sanctions in relation to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. There are a number of bi- and multi-lateral trade agreements that govern the import and export of goods to and from Palestine. The occupation complicates the realization of these trade agreements, as the Palestinians do not control their borders. Imports and exports are largely controlled by Israeli regulations. As a result, different countries have taken different approaches to recognizing Palestine as a trade partner while accounting for Israel’s involvement in the process. 

Export Administration Act (1979): This act provides the U.S. government with legal authority to control U.S. exports as a matter of national security. The Act indicates that it is U.S. policy “to oppose restrictive trade practices or boycotts fostered or imposed by foreign countries against other countries friendly to the United States or against any United States person.” The Act has been applied to boycotts against Israel, particularly the Arab League Boycott.

U.S.– Israel Free Trade Agreement (1985): The U.S. trade agreement with Palestine is actually part of the U.S. Free Trade Agreement with Israel. In 1996, the U.S. signed a Declaration of Free Trade between the U.S. and West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, it became obvious that its successful implementation depended upon Israel’s agency. The declaration was thus incorporated into the U.S.-Israel agreement. 

The Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip - Paris Economic Protocol (1994): The agreement governs economic relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that includes but is not limited to tax collection and exportation of Palestinian goods abroad. 

The Paris Economic Protocol is cited in the following trade agreements with Palestine. By using the Protocol, the signers attempt to address Israeli control of the Palestinian borders.

Free Trade Agreement With Egypt (1994)

Free Trade Agreement With Jordan (2000) 

Canada – Israel Free Trade Agreement (1997):  After signing the Framework on Economic Cooperation and Trade Between Palestine and Canada, the sides acknowledged that its successful implementation depended upon Israel’s agency. Therefore, the framework was incorporated into the Canada – Israel Free Trade Agreement. 

Euro-Mediterranean Interim Association Agreement (July 1997): The EU concluded an agreement that provides preferential treatment to goods and services imported from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Unlike the U.S., the EU concluded a separate agreement with Israel. 

Euro-Mediterranean Agreement with Israel (2000): The EU agreement with Israel, unlike the U.S. agreement, exclusively covers trade benefits with Israel. 
Court of Justice of the European Union (2010): Implementation of the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement with Israel became controversial due to the court ruling that products manufactured in Israeli settlements should not receive the trade benefits specified in the agreement, as they did not originate in Israel. 

Guidelines on the eligibility of Israeli entities and their activities (2013): Israeli settlements will no longer be eligible for grants or prizes from the EU. The guidelines demonstrate restrictions on financial instruments provided to the settlements as well. 

U.S. – Israel Strategic Partnership Act (2014): The Act reaffirms the U.S. commitment to Israel as a strategic partner in defense, security and energy and also renews U.S. support for a two-state solution. 

Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act (2015): Establishes negotiating objectives which include discouraging “actions to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel.” 

The following multi-lateral trade agreements include Palestine:

Greater Arab Free Trade Area (1997)
The Russia-Palestine Agreement on Commercial and Economic Cooperation (1998)
Interim Agreement with EFTA States (1999)
The Agadir Agreement (2001)  
Interim Agreement on Trade with Turkey (2004)  
Free Trade Agreement with MERCOSUR (2011) 


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