Department of Commerce, Department of the Treasury, and Department of Justice Tri-Seal Compliance Note

Obligations of foreign-based persons to comply with U.S. sanctions and export control laws
March 6, 2024


Today’s increasingly interconnected global marketplace offers unprecedented opportunities for companies around the world to trade with the United States and one another, contributing to economic growth. At the same time, malign regimes and other bad actors may attempt to misuse the commercial and financial channels that facilitate foreign trade to acquire goods, technology, and services that risk undermining U.S. national security and foreign policy and that challenge global peace and prosperity. In response to such risks, the United States has put in place robust sanctions and export controls to restrict the ability of sanctioned actors to misuse the U.S. financial and commercial system in advance of malign activities.

These measures can create legal exposure not only for U.S. persons, but also for non-U.S. companies who continue to engage with sanctioned jurisdictions or persons in violation of applicable laws. To mitigate the risks of non-compliance, companies outside of the United States should be aware of how their activities may implicate U.S. sanctions and export control laws. This Note highlights the applicability of U.S. sanctions and export control laws to persons and entities located abroad, as well as the enforcement mechanisms that are available for the U.S. government to hold non-U.S. persons accountable for violations of such laws, including criminal prosecution. It further provides an overview of compliance considerations for non-U.S. companies and compliance measures to help mitigate their risk.