International Economic Sanctions

  • 1 July 2015
DOCDEX expert

ICC is an apolitical, non-profit and non-governmental organization, subject to French law. It observes a strict policy of neutrality towards all users, irrespective of their nationality.

In recent years, more than ever before, governments and supranational organizations have resorted to international sanctions as a tool of foreign policy and international economic governance. Like all other actors in the area of international trade and development, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) – as the world business organization – is subject to such regulations and measures undertaken by the relevant regulatory authorities.

With interests spanning every sector of private enterprise, ICC’s global network comprises over 6 million companies, chambers of commerce and business associations in more than 100 countries. The Dispute Resolution Services department of ICC administrates the resolution of international disputes through the International Court of Arbitration and the International Centre for ADR (together being referred to as “DRS”).

Due to its international activity and exposure, ICC Dispute Resolution Services is bound to operate in conformity with applicable sanctions regulations, such as those imposed by the  United Nations (UN) , European Union (EU) and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). This sanctions regime is equally applicable to all dispute resolution institutions notably in the EU, Switzerland and the United States (US).

In response to legal and regulatory developments in recent years, ICC has adapted its previous compliance policies and procedures in order to ensure that they are in conformity with applicable international regulatory requirements and standards.

Being incorporated under French law, ICC maintains a dialogue with the French regulatory authorities and may extend such dialogue to other relevant regulators.

ICC Dispute Resolution Services – Compliance: relevant preliminary and ongoing administrative measures in the case management of the International Court of Arbitration and the International Centre for ADR

In the case management process of its Dispute Resolution Services, ICC treats parties of all nationalities equally.

The implementation of the mandatory sanctions regimes by ICC has required the modification of a number of administrative steps in the DRS procedure at all relevant stages of these proceedings. In addition to general requirements of the applicable ICC Rules, and in order to ensure compliance with additional administrative measures imposed by the relevant regulatory authorities, ICC may call on parties to submit additional information, in particular if:

Even if any of the above-mentioned circumstances occur and subject to the applicable sanctions regulations, parties are not prevented from filing a request under ICC dispute resolution rules.

If the parties have reasonable doubt that a sanctions regime is applicable to their request for DRS proceedings, they must inform ICC in advance prior to submitting any such request and prior to paying the respective filing fee, so that relevant administrative steps are taken to ensure compliance with applicable mandatory sanctions regimes.

Information required from the parties may include in particular:

For any questions in relation to ICC Compliance policies and procedures and in order to send information prior to submitting a request for the initiation of DRS proceedings, please contact us at:

ICC Dispute Resolution Services procedures are the same for all parties, irrespective of nationality

The neutrality of the ICC dispute resolution procedures is the same for all parties, irrespective of nationality.

From the commencement of any DRS procedure, the matter is, and will be administered by ICC in accordance with applicable ICC Rules while maintaining strict neutrality with regard to the parties involved. At all times, ICC will be astute to act in conformity with the applicable ICC Rules, subject to any mandatory requirements imposed upon ICC by the laws of France.

Practical impediments due to international sanctions

International sanctions have caused commercial banks substantially to revise and strengthen their compliance procedures. Under internal ICC Compliance policies and procedures, ICC may have recourse to the services of commercial banks located in France. Pursuant to the internal policies of ICC’s banks, they may be precluded from receiving payments from, and effecting payments to, the parties (and to other actors involved such as arbitrators, mediators, experts) and to the ICC itself in the absence of formal clearance by the relevant authorities satisfactory to ICC’s banks. Accordingly, ICC is not in a position to guarantee payments, unless and until such formal clearance has been obtained. Amongst other factors, the banks will have regard to the nature of the transaction, the currency used and the scope of the activities that they are required to perform.

Payments may be delayed or rejected in specific circumstances.

Parties to DRS proceedings are invited to contact should they require additional information in this regard.