KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday February 8, 2019 – The United States government has lifted sanctions on the parent company of Jamaican-based West Indies Alumina Company (Windalco), UC Rusal.
Minister of Transport and Mining Robert Montague told the House of Representatives that means entities in Jamaica can now freely do business with Windalco without the threat of direct and/or secondary sanctions.
“This is positive news for the Government of Jamaica. It is positive news for Windalco and its over 1,000 employees who had faced an uncertain future when the sanctions were initially announced, and it is positive news for Jamaican companies and individuals that conduct business with Windalco. It is positive news for the economy,” he said.
Montague added that UC Rusal has agreed to “unprecedented transparency into its operations by undertaking extensive, ongoing auditing, certification, and reporting requirements”.
In addition, independent persons will control a significant bloc of the shares of the En+ Group, which is UC Rusal’s parent company.
On April 6, 2018 the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), via General Licence No. 14, imposed various sanctions on Russian Oleg Deripaska and several companies that were wholly or primarily owned by him.
The sanctions resulted in the assets of UC Rusal that were within the US jurisdiction being frozen and US persons being prohibited from having dealings with them. Further, non-US persons could face secondary sanctions for knowingly facilitating significant transactions for, or on behalf of Deripaska and with his companies.
Montague noted the significant efforts were made by the Government towards mitigating the effects of the sanctions on the people, government and economy of Jamaica.
He said that through his Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, applications were made to the relevant US authorities for waivers to conduct business with UC Rusal.
This was with a view to sustaining the operations of Windalco towards preserving the livelihood of the citizens and preventing any major fallout in the economy.
Montague said a formal response was received from OFAC, which stated that Jamaica was covered by General Licence No.14 and would not be the direct subject of sanctions.
The Transport and Mining Minister also noted the timely intervention by Prime Minister Andrew Holness in the matter.
“The Prime Minister, at a critical point, when all looked bleak, had a very productive meeting with the US Treasury Secretary. This meeting, along with the help of the US Congress black Caucus and many others, contributed,” he told the House.
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