Parliamentary question - O-000082/2016Parliamentary question

US sanctions impacting EU business in Iran

Question for oral answer O-000082/2016
to the Commission
Rule 128
Bernd Lange, Marietje Schaake, on behalf of the Committee on International Trade

Procedure : 2016/2677(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
Texts tabled :
O-000082/2016 (B8-0706/2016)
Votes :
Texts adopted :

In October 2015, the E3+3 and Iran adopted the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), including an undertaking that Iran’s nuclear programme will be purely peaceful, in return for which sanctions would be lifted. Since then, a number of European governments, as well as the Commission, have undertaken missions to Iran. However, even though the bulk of European sanctions barring trade with Iran have been lifted, European companies still find it difficult to access the Iranian market. This is due to the extraterritorial impact of US sanctions. It should be emphasised that the US is also a signatory to the JCPOA and has committed itself to lifting all secondary sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme. Since many European companies also have business activities in the US, violating American sanctions can mean being fined or being barred from doing business in the US altogether. In this respect, American financial sanctions are especially problematic. A compounding factor is the fact that for a European company to obtain a waiver from the US Department of the Treasury involves extremely difficult and complex procedures, often more difficult than those for American companies. US sanctions restrict the EU’s policy space.

1. Can the Commission provide an assessment of the current situation and indicate what measures have been taken to implement the commitments on sanctions relief made in the JCPOA?

2. What has the Commission done to address the extraterritorial impact of US sanctions with American officials, and what has been the response?

3. Does the Commission see a way forward to make sure that EU companies can do business in line with EU policies without fear of violating US sanctions and possible fines?