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U.S. Eases Some Oil, Trade Sanctions Against Sudan Government

  • Treasury cites ‘positive steps’ taken by African country
  • U.S. sanctions were enacted in 1997 by Clinton administration

The U.S. eased some trade sanctions on Sudan dating back two decades, citing the African nation’s progress toward cooperating on anti-terrorism efforts, reducing “offensive” military actions and increasing access for humanitarian groups.

The decision lifts restrictions on petroleum and petrochemical industries, including oilfield services and oil and gas pipeline transactions by Americans, the U.S. Treasury Department said Friday in an e-mailed statement. It will also allow Americans to process transactions involving individuals in Sudan, import and export goods between nations and conduct transactions of property in which Sudan has stakes.

President Barack Obama’s executive order is an acknowledgment of the “positive steps taken by the Government of Sudan over the past several months and aim to further incentivize the Government of Sudan to continue to improve its conduct,” said Adam J. Szubin, the Treasury’s acting undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, according to the statement.

An executive order signed in 1997 by then-President Bill Clinton prohibited a range of U.S. trade with Sudan, including the import of any Sudanese goods and the export to the country of anything except food, clothing and medicine. It also banned the extension of U.S. credit to the oil-producing nation. The U.S. designated Sudan, which once hosted al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993.