Jamaica pleased with lifting of sanctions against Russian parent company

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Jamaica pleased with lifting of sanctions against Russian parent company
Transport and Mining Minister Robert Montague
Transport and Mining Minister Robert Montague

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Feb 6, CMC – The Jamaica government has confirmed that the United States has lifted the sanctions imposed on the Russian-owned, UC Rusal, the parent company of the West Indies Alumina Company (Windalco).

Transport and Mining Minister Robert Montague, in a statement to Parliament on Tuesday, said that the sanctions were lifted on January 27.

Montague said as a result of the decision by Washington, entities in Jamaica can freely do business with Windalco without the threat of direct and or secondary sanctions.

“This is positive news for the government of Jamaica. It is positive news for Windalco and its over 1,000 employees, who had faced an uncertain future when the sanctions were initially announced, and it is positive news for Jamaican companies and individuals that conduct business with Windalco. It is positive news for the economy,” Montague said.

He said that UC Rusal has agreed to “unprecedented transparency into its operations by undertaking extensive, ongoing auditing, certification, and reporting requirements”.

In addition, independent persons will control a significant bloc of the shares of the En+ Group, which is UC Rusal’s parent company.

On April 6, 2018 the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), imposed various sanctions on Russian Oleg Deripaska and several companies that were wholly or primarily owned by him.

“The sanctions resulted in the assets of UC Rusal that were within the US jurisdiction being frozen and US persons being prohibited from having dealings with them. Further, non-US persons could face secondary sanctions for knowingly facilitating significant transactions for, or on behalf of Mr. Deripaska and with his companies,” Montague told legislators.

He said significant efforts were made by the Jamaica government towards mitigating the effects of the sanctions on the local economy.

He said that through his Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, applications were made to the relevant US authorities for waivers to conduct business with UC Rusal with a view to sustaining the operations of Windalco towards preserving the livelihood of the citizens and preventing any major fallout in the economy.

Montague said that a formal response was received from OFAC, which stated that Jamaica was covered by General Licence No.14 and would not be the direct subject of sanctions.

“The Prime Minister (Andrew Holness) , at a critical point, when all looked bleak, had a very productive meeting with the US Treasury Secretary. This meeting, along with the help of the US Congress black Caucus, and many others contributed,” he told legislators.

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