Belgium

Global sanctions guide

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  1. Does Belgium have a sanctions regime in place? 

Yes, the Belgian regime must be complied with by any individual or entity within Belgium and any individual elsewhere who is a Belgian citizen or an entity incorporated or constituted in Belgium. The legal basis of the sanctions regime in Belgium is:

  • the royal decree of 6 October 1944 regarding the control of any transfers of goods or assets between Belgium and a foreign country (modified by the Law of 28 February 2002)

  • the act of 11 May 1995 regarding the implementation of UNSC decisions

  • the law of 13 May 2003 relating to the implementation of restrictive measures adopted by the European Union Council against some states, persons and entities (Belgian Official Journal of 06/13/2003)

  • Royal decree of 28 December 2006 relating to specific restrictive measures against some persons and entities within the framework of the fight against terrorism financing, confirmed by the Article 155 of the law of 25 April 2007

  1. Does Belgium implement UN sanctions? 

Yes

  1. Does Belgium implement an autonomous sanctions regime? 

Yes, Belgium has an autonomous sanctions regime.

  1. What is the nature of the sanctions regime in Belgium? 

When sanctions or embargoes are set by the UN or the EU, Belgium enacts them by implementing legislation. EU Regulations have direct effect in Belgium and penalties on the basis of these EU Regulations are determined by the Belgian government. UN Resolutions however do not have direct effect; they are incorporated into Belgian legislation through statutory instruments.

There are financial sanctions such as the freezing of the financial resources of the persons or entities concerned; in that case no loan nor credit can be granted. There are some exceptions to those sanctions for basic needs such as medicines, humanitarian help and food. Those exceptions can only be granted with the authorization of the relevant entity.

In addition to financial sanctions, other restrictive measures can be laid down, for example those related to the trade of products.

Belgium prefers to apply “smart sanctions” rather than general large financial sanctions that could affect the population of a country and not the relevant persons. The goal is to target the concerned persons and products (asset freezing, refusal of a visa etc.). Belgium tries to avoid broad sanctions and only implements targeted sanctions. In order for the sanction to be effective it is therefore important that the objectives of a sanction are listed before the adoption of it.

  1. Does Belgium maintain a list of sanctioned individuals and entities? 

Belgian authorities make use of the European list.

  1. Are there any other lists related to sanctions? 

Belgium maintains a national list in relation to freezing of terrorist assets with a view to combating terrorist financing:

Available on: https://finance.belgium.be/en/about_fps/structure_and_services/general_administrations/treasury/financial-sanctions/national

  1. Does Belgium have a licensing or authorization system in place? 

Yes, an authorization or a license can be required for some financial activities. For example, a license is necessary for the export, import or transit of weapons, military and paramilitary equipment. These licences are granted by the different Regions of Belgium.

  1. What are the consequences for a breach of sanctions in Belgium? 

Financial sanctions or imprisonment is possible. The duration of the imprisonment or the amount of the fine however differs on a case-by-case basis. In Belgium the sanction will be from a European Regulation, therefore the consequences for the breach of the sanction will be contained within the European Regulation. Another possibility is that the breach of the sanction is also under Belgian law a criminal infraction, in that case the Belgian criminal law will define what the specific consequences for each infraction are.

  1. Who are the relevant regulators in Belgium and what are their contact details?

Freezing of funds, financing and financial assistance

Federal Public Service Finance 
Treasury, 30 Avenue des Arts/ Kunstlaan 30, 1040 Brussels

F: (+32) 2 579 58 38
E: Quesfinvragen.tf@minfin.fed.be


Disclosure of suspicious financial transactions

Belgian Financial Intelligence Unit (CTIF-CFI)
Avenue de la Toison d’Or/Gulden Vlieslaan, 55 b1, 1060 Brussels

T: (+32) 2 533 72 11
F: (+32) 2 533 72 00
E: info@ctif-cfi.be


Controls relating to fiscal measures (collection of custom taxes, VAT) and non fiscal measures

Federal Public Service Finance
General Administration of Customs and Excise Duties, North Galaxy – box 37, Avenue Albert II, 33, 1030 Brussels

F: (+32) 2 579 51 85
E: info.douane@minfin.fed.be


Goods, technical assistance and other services

Federal Authority is in charge of general import and export licences for goods and services, luxury goods, sales, purchases and technical assistance by Belgian defence forces and security services, and of financial and technical services in relation to the production or delivery of weapons and military and paramilitary equipment.

Federal Authority
Federal Public Service Economy, SME’s, Self-employed and Energy Direction générale du Potentiel économique Algemene Directie van het Economisch Potentieel, Service Licences, Dienst vergunningen, Rue du Progrès Vooruitgangstraat 50, 1210 Brussels

T: (+32) 2 277 67 13
F: (+32) 2 277 50 63


Nuclear exports and imports

Federal Public Service Economy, SME’s,Self-employed and Energy Nuclear Energy Division
Boulevard Roi Albert II 16, Koning Albert II laan 16, 1000 Brussels

T: (+32) 2 277 64 52, +32 2 277 83 28
F: (+32) 2 277 52 06
E: info.douane@minfin.fed.be


Energy sector

Federal Public Service Economy, SME’s, Self-employed and Energy, DG Energy
Boulevard Roi Albert II 16, Koning Albert II laan 16, 1000 Brussels

T: (+32) 2 277 83 64
F: (+32) 2 277 52 07


Regional Authorities in charge of other export, import and transit licences for weapons, military and paramilitary equipment and dual use goods

Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest/ Région de Bruxelles-Capitale Brussels International Directorate
License Cell, 20, Kruidtuinlaan, Boulevard du Jardin Botanique, 1035 Brussels

T: (+32) 2 800 37 27
F: (+32) 2 800 38 24
E: calu@sprb.irisnet.be


Région wallonne
S.P.W, Direction Générale Opérationnelle de l’Economie, de l’Emploi et de la Recherché, Direction des Licences d’Armes, 14, Chaussée de Louvain 5000 Namur

T: (+32) 81 64 97 51
F: (+32) 81 64 97 60
E: michel.moreels@spw.wallonie.be


Vlaams Gewest
Departement internationaal Vlaanderen Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs, Dienst Controle Strategische Goederen, Arms Trade Monitoring Unit Boudewijnlaan 30 B, 1000 Brussel

T: (+32) 2 553 57 92
F: (+32) 2 553 60 37
E: csg@iv.vlaanderen.be

Contributor law firm

Koen Devos, Eversheds Sutherland, De Kleetlaan 12a, 1831 Diegem, Brussels, Belgium

T: (+32) 2 737 93 60
F: (+32) 2 737 9345
koendevos@eversheds.be
www.eversheds-sutherland.com