February 05, 2019

Here’s How Trump Can Make Better Use of Corporate Sanctions

By Peter Harrell

The Trump administration’s decision, which went into force on Jan. 27, to lift sanctions on several companies owned by the influential Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, has proven controversial. Congress nearly blocked the action—more than 80 percent of members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 57 Senators supported a resolution to overturn the plan. Only the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster threshold kept the resolution from landing on President Donald Trump’s desk.

The controversy centered on the terms of the deal. Deripaska, a longtime associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, will remain sanctioned personally. But Deripaska’s major holdings, including Rusal, one of the world’s largest aluminum companies, were removed from U.S. sanctions lists after the oligarch agreed to cut his ownership stake in them to 45 percent and the companies agreed to new, independent oversight to ensure that Deripaska cannot fully control them. Controversy only increased after the press got hold of the deal’s , which showed that Deripaska’s close associates and foundation kept approximately another 12 percent of the company and that Deripaska himself got hundreds of millions of dollars in debt relief for the shares he divested.

U.S. officials in the executive branch and Congress should draw at least three major lessons from the fight over lifting sanctions on Deripaska’s companies.

Read the full article in Foreign Policy.

  • Commentary
    • Foreign Policy
    • October 5, 2019
    Trump’s Use of Sanctions Is Nothing Like Obama’s

    Two and a half years into Donald Trump’s presidency, there is no doubt that economic sanctions are his administration’s foreign-policy weapon of choice. From China to Iran to ...

    By Peter Harrell

  • Commentary
    • October 2, 2019
    Situation Report: U.S.-North Korea Negotiations to Resume This Weekend

    After months of stalled talks, U.S. and North Korean representatives will meet this weekend to resume negotiations over North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Just this week, ...

    By Duyeon Kim, Elizabeth Rosenberg, Kristine Lee, Van Jackson & ​Neil Bhatiya

  • Podcast
    • September 20, 2019
    Hong Kong Protests Update

    Ashley Feng, Research Associate at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), and Matt Schrader, China Analyst at the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshal...

    By Ashley Feng

  • Commentary
    • World Politics Review
    • September 13, 2019
    North Korea’s Sanctions-Busting Gets More Sophisticated—and More Lucrative

    As a United Nations report revealed earlier this month, North Korea continues to dodge international sanctions and raise money for its nuclear weapons program, despite attempt...

    By ​Neil Bhatiya

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia