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 inter alia embodied in the following legislation:
- Law 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), and the Royal Decree of 26 January 2014 on measures to control cross-border cash movements,
- Law of 11 May 1995 regarding the implementation of UNSC decisions,
- Law of 13 May 2003 relating to the implementation of restrictive measures adopted by the European Union Council against some states, persons and entities, as amended from time to time,
- 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, as amended from time to time, and confirmed by the Article 155 of the law of 25 April 2007, and
- Law of 18 September 2017 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing and limitations to the use of cash, as amended from time to time.
2. Does Belgium implement UN sanctions?
Yes. Belgium is a member of the European Union, which implements UN sanctions in all member states by way of directly effective regulations.
3. Does Belgium implement an autonomous sanctions regime?
Yes, Belgium has an autonomous sanctions regime.
4. What is the nature of the sanctions regime in Belgium?
Belgium follows the restrictive measures laid down by the UN, the EU and other international organizations which are binding on Belgium, as well as measures introduced autonomously.
Autonomous sanctions measures include 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 sanctions such as embargoes, specific or general trade restrictions (import and export bans), restrictions on admission (visa or travel bans) or other measures, as appropriate are possible.
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). For Belgium, it is also important that the objectives of a sanction are (i) well established before the adoption of it, (ii) are clear and (iii) that the reasons leading to the sanction are well-motivated, in order for the sanction to be effective. This is crucial to obtain a change in behaviour from the sanctioned country, company or individual.
5. Does Belgium maintain a list of sanctioned individuals and entities?
Belgian authorities make use of the European list.
6. 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
All financial institutions and certain non-financial institutions are obliged to check if they have funds on behalf of persons and entities included in this national list. In such case, they need to apply the imposed freezing measures and they need to inform the Treasury Department of Federal Public Service Finance.
7. Does Belgium have a licensing or authorization system in place?
Yes, an authorization or a license can be required for some activities.
For example, a license is necessary for the export, import or transit of weapons, military and paramilitary equipment. Except for the Belgian Defence and the federal police, these licences are granted by the different Regions of Belgium.
8. What are the consequences for a breach of sanctions in Belgium?
Financial sanctions, such as (administrative) fines 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, sanctions will usually follow from a violation of a European Regulation and therefore the consequences should be derived from the relevant European Regulation.
Another possibility is that the breach is also a criminal offense under Belgian law, in which case the Belgian criminal law will define what the specific consequences for such offense are.
9. Who are the relevant regulators in Belgium and what are their contact details?
A. Freezing of funds, financing and financial assistance, money transfer authorizations.
Federal Public Service Finance - Treasury Department 30 Avenue des Arts, 1040 Brussels
F: (+32) 2 579 58 38 E: Quesfinvragen.email@example.com
Assets frozen in Belgium can never be released without the express authorization of the General Administration of Treasury. Since the entry into force of the Law of 2 May 2019 containing various financial provisions, the General Treasury Administration of the FPS Finance is moreover competent to identify and record any infringements of financial restrictive measures.
B. Disclosure of suspicious financial transactions
Belgian Financial Intelligence Unit (CTIF-CFI)
Gulden Vlieslaan, 55 b1, 1060 Brussels
T: (+32) 2 533 72 11 F: (+32) 2 533 72 00 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
C. 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: email@example.com
D. Authorities in charge of other export, import and transit licences for weapons, military and paramilitary equipment and dual use goods.
D.1. On a federal level
Federal Public Service Economy, SME’s, Self-employed and Energy - Licensing Unit Vooruitgangstraat 50, 1210 Brussels T: (+32) 2 277 67 13 or (+32) 2 277 65 12 F: (+32) 2 277 50 63 E: Vincent.firstname.lastname@example.org W: https://economie.fgov.be/fr/themes/politique-commerciale/licences/armement
D.2. On a regional level
(i) Brussels-Capital Region - Licensing Unit
ii) Walloon Public Service DGO6 - Weapons Licensing Department
Chaussée de Louvain 14, 5000 Namur
T: (+32) 81 64 97 51 F: (+32) 81 64 97 60
(iii) Flanders - Dienst Controle Strategische Goederen
E. Nuclear exports and imports
Federal Public Service Economy, SME’s,Self-employed and Energy - Nuclear Energy Division
Koning Albert II laan 16, 1000 Brussels
T: (+32) 2 277 92 76 or (+32) 2 277 84 64 F: (+32) 2 277 52 06
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