What are Economic and Financial Sanctions?

Economic sanctions are punitive measures taken by one or more states (imposing state(s)) against another state (or other sanctions target, e.g., certain governments and commercial entities, terrorists, narcotics traffickers) that have violated international law or which pose a threat to national or international security. Freezing of assets, prohibitions on transactions with sanctions targets, and denying sanctions targets the benefit of trade and other economic interactions with imposing states are examples of punitive sanctions measures. Sanctions are also used in combating crime and terrorism. Sanctions are implemented through laws and regulations of imposing states, which prohibit persons subject to their jurisdiction from trade with sanctions targets and / or require the freezing of sanctions target assets.

Economic sanctions involve the withdrawal of customary trade and financial relations due to foreign and security policy concerns. Sanctions may be imposed by the government of a single nation-state as well as multinational bodies. One nation may impose sanctions upon another due to conflicts or security concerns; a nation may also impose sanctions against regions or groups that profess to be self-governing or independent. Multinational bodies, such as the Security Council of the United Nations, may impose sanctions on a nation or group in order to influence the decisions of the governing body. Sanctions may take a variety of forms, including tariffs, trade barriers, and restrictions on financial transactions.

Learn More