READOUT: Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen’s Meeting with Guangdong Governor Wang Weizhong of the People’s Republic of China

GUANGZHOU – Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen today met with Guangdong Governor Wang Weizhong of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The two sides discussed the industrial outlook for the economically-important province of Guangdong. Secretary Yellen also noted Guangdong’s history as a center of market-oriented economic reforms in China. Secretary Yellen discussed her approach to the U.S.-China economic relationship and underscored her agreement with Vice Premier He Lifeng that the United States and China are not seeking to decouple their economies and that the U.S. and China welcome the objective of a healthy economic relationship that benefits both countries. She also expressed growing international concerns about overcapacity in certain Chinese industries.


Remarks by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen at American Chamber of Commerce Event in Guangzhou, the People’s Republic of China

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you to the American Chamber of Commerce for hosting this event. I’m glad to have this opportunity to speak to American businesses here in Guangzhou at the start of my visit.

This city holds a unique position in Chinese economic history. It was key to Chinese trade for centuries, and in fact to the start of U.S.-China trade, with the first ship from the newly independent United States docking at Guangzhou in 1784. Then Guangzhou was at the heart of the market-oriented reforms and industrial development that drove China’s tremendous growth. And it was a key stop on Deng Xiaoping’s 1992 Southern Tour, when he renewed China’s commitment to these reforms. Today, as all of you know well, Guangzhou remains the top destination for foreign investment in China, including from Fortune Global 500 companies.

It’s a fitting place for me to emphasize the strong economic ties between the United States and China, and the benefits these ties can bring for both the U.S. and Chinese economies. I’d also like to touch on concerns that I’ve heard from American businesses, which I intend to discuss with my Chinese counterparts this week.

A Healthy U.S.-China Economic Relationship

Let me start with the importance of the U.S.-China economic relationship.

One year ago, I laid out our Administration’s approach to China, outlining three key objectives. The United States will pursue a healthy economic relationship with China. We will seek to cooperate with China on global challenges. And we will deploy our economic tools when needed and in a narrowly targeted manner to protect our national security and that of our allies, as well as human rights.

President Biden and I firmly reject the idea that the United States should decouple from China. A full economic separation is neither practical nor desirable, as both the U.S. and China have affirmed in public statements following our high-level bilateral meetings.

Indeed, America’s economic strategy is centered around investing in our economic strength. Over the past three years, our Administration’s policies have helped drive a historic economic recovery and laid the foundation for long-term economic growth. We are also deepening our ties with allies and partners around the world, while continuing to pursue the broad swathe of economic activities between the U.S. and China that can benefit both countries.

Our conviction in the importance of a healthy economic relationship is rooted in an understanding of the roles that the United States and China play in the global economy. Together, the U.S. and China represent 40 percent of global GDP. We have the world’s largest financial systems. Countries around the world watch both of our economies, but also our interactions, as they are crucial to global growth.

The U.S. is China’s largest trading partner, and China is the United States’ third-largest trading partner, following Canada and Mexico. With a large and growing middle class, China represents a huge market for American manufacturers and other firms, including those represented in this room. Exports to China—from transportation equipment to integrated circuits—support over 700,000 American jobs, and Chinese companies employ additional American workers.

Put simply, the U.S.-China bilateral economic relationship is among the most important in the world. Responsibly managing it is essential.

At President Biden’s direction, we’ve taken steps over the last two years that have put the U.S.-China economic relationship on much surer footing. One of my key priorities has been to establish resilient communication channels between the U.S. and China—which I’ve done through engagements with my counterparts at home and in China. We launched and held regular meetings of the Economic and Financial Working Groups, bringing together policy teams from both our countries to discuss key aspects of our relationship, from monitoring economic and financial risks to identifying and pursuing areas of potential cooperation. For areas where we disagree, communication helps prevent misunderstanding from leading to unintended escalation and allows us to frankly convey concerns.


It is in this spirt of continuing to move the U.S.-China relationship in a constructive direction that I’d like to share my concerns about the business environment in China and the ability of American firms to compete on a level playing field.

I’ve heard from many American business executives that operating in China can be challenging. I understand that the Chamber’s recent survey found that one third of American firms in China report experiencing unfair treatment compared to local competitors. We’ve seen the PRC pursue unfair economic practices, including imposing barriers to access for foreign firms and taking coercive actions against American companies. I strongly believe that this doesn’t only hurt these American firms: ending these unfair practices would benefit China by improving the business climate here. I intend to raise these issues in meetings this week.

I know that American businesses are also concerned about the impacts of China’s shift away from a market approach on the U.S. and global economy. I’m especially concerned about overcapacity, which members of the Chamber identified as a concern in the Chamber’s recent survey as well. Overcapacity isn’t a new problem, but it has intensified, and we’re seeing emerging risks in new sectors.

Specifically, direct and indirect government support is currently leading to production capacity that significantly exceeds China’s domestic demand, as well as what the global market can bear. I understand these policies may be driven by domestic development objectives. But overcapacity can lead to large volumes of exports at depressed prices. This can undercut the business of American firms and workers, as well as of firms around the world, including in India and Mexico. And it can lead to overconcentration of supply chains, posing a risk to global economic resilience. This will be a key topic in discussions with counterparts in the coming days.

Overcapacity also poses challenges for Chinese firms and industries and can impact China’s productivity and growth. I believe addressing overcapacity—and more generally considering market-based reforms—is in China’s interest. As I’ve said before, China is too large to export its way to rapid growth.  And if policies are oriented only at generating supply and not also at generating demand, global spillovers will result. 

China’s implementation of market reforms generated one of the most significant economic success stories of our lifetimes, lifting hundreds of millions of people from poverty. There’s potential for significant gains from reform now as well.


I see today’s event as an opportunity to deepen my understanding of what’s needed by hearing from you—American businesses—about the successes you’ve had and the challenges you face.

Throughout this week, I intend to communicate our commitment to a healthy U.S.-China economic relationship. I’ll also raise concerns—as part of further stabilizing the relationship and in order to realize greater benefits for the United States, for China, and for the global economy.

The Biden Administration’s efforts over the past year to build a resilient foundation for the U.S.-China economic relationship have made the constructive exchanges I hope to have possible. As I said when I spoke at the U.S.-China Business Council in December, I am convinced that the course we are charting is not just pragmatic. It will lead to building a healthy economic relationship that benefits American firms and workers. And it’s what’s required of the world’s two largest economies if we hope to achieve the best outcomes for our people and for people around the world.

Thank you for being here today, and I look forward to the discussion.


Remarks by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen Ahead of Bilateral Meeting with Vice Premier He Lifeng of the People’s Republic of China

As Prepared for Delivery

Vice Premier He, thank you for welcoming me to China once again, this time in Guangzhou. This city has long been a center of trade and commerce—and through that, at the heart of China’s engagement with the rest of the world.

Last November, I was very pleased to host you in the San Francisco Bay Area, which I consider a second home. Our meeting helped prepare for a meeting a week later between President Biden and President Xi, where they announced significant achievements, including the resumption of bilateral cooperation on counternarcotics.

Both you and I have emphasized the importance of communication, and our meetings—now three face-to-face meetings in less than a year—are a clear representation of that communication.

Over the last several months, the Economic and Financial Working Groups that we set up have continued to meet and make progress on a range of important and difficult issues. Those conversations, like ours, have been frank and substantive.

I believe we have taken up the challenge from our leaders to put the U.S.-China relationship on a more solid footing.

As I have said, the United States seeks a healthy economic relationship with China that benefits both sides. But a healthy economic relationship must provide a level playing field for firms and workers in both countries.

I met with U.S. firms that do business with China earlier today and heard both about the opportunities and challenges they face.

It also remains crucial for the two largest economies to seek progress on global challenges like climate change and debt distress in emerging markets and developing countries, and to closely communicate on issues of concern such as overcapacity and national security-related economic actions. It is what the world and our citizens expect of us.

I look forward to another productive discussion with you.


U.S. Department of the Treasury Now Accepting Applications for New Investing in America Small Business Opportunity Program

The $75 million SSBCI Investing in America Small Business Opportunity Program, funded by the American Rescue Plan, will help small business owners and entrepreneurs across the country access the capital they need to grow and succeed

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the opening of the 60-day application window for the Investing in America Small Business Opportunity Program (SBOP) – a U.S. Treasury competitive grant program funded by the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). 

Through the SBOP, eligible states, territories, and Tribal governments can compete for a share of $75 million in grant funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to provide critical technical assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs – helping these small companies access financing opportunities. This includes new financing like that offered through SSBCI’s capital program, as well as other support made available through the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America Agenda, including the ARP, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act.

SBOP builds upon the SSBCI funding previously announced to support technical assistance delivered through Treasury’s formula-based SSBCI Technical Assistance Grant Program and the Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) Capital Readiness Program. Collectively, these programs will help states, Tribal governments, and territories leverage the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic support for small business capital access to help entrepreneurs and small business owners – particularly those that have been underserved – take advantage of opportunities, including in infrastructure, manufacturing, clean energy, climate resiliency, and other critical sectors.

“The Small Business Opportunity Program is a key part of President Biden’s efforts to continue the historic small business boom seen during this administration,” said U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo. “Through this new program, entrepreneurs will get important technical assistance to access the capital needed for their businesses to grow and thrive.”

The application period for SBOP opens today, April 5, 2024, for eligible applicants, which are states, territories, the District of Columbia, and Tribes participating in the existing SSBCI Capital Program. Applicants are encouraged to collaborate regionally and partner with philanthropic or corporate stakeholders to bring additional resources to the work of increasing access to technical assistance for small businesses in their markets. Treasury currently expects to make between 8 and 15 SBOP awards of between $5 and $10 million each later this summer.

SBOP is the latest ARP SSBCI investment helping small businesses access the historic capital support and opportunities made available through the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America Agenda. In August, Vice President Harris announced the 43 winners of the Capital Readiness Program to help underserved entrepreneurs launch and scale their small businesses— the largest-ever direct federal investment in small business incubators and accelerators of its kind. Treasury has also announced the approval of $135 million for 40 states and territories through the SSBCI Technical Assistance Grant Program, which will provide vital aid to help small businesses become “capital ready” by preparing them to take on loans or investment and steward capital for small business success. In addition, the Treasury Department has announced the approval of state, territory, and Tribal government plans corresponding to more than $8.4 billion in funding under the SSBCI Capital Program to support small business and entrepreneurship and expand access to capital.

SSBCI was originally established in 2010 to increase access to capital for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Through President Biden’s ARP, this successful program was reauthorized and expanded to provide nearly $10 billion to states, the District of Columbia, territories, and Tribal governments to catalyze lending and investing in small businesses, build ecosystems of opportunity and entrepreneurship, and create high-quality jobs. SSBCI includes funding and incentives for jurisdictions to create opportunities for underserved businesses.

SSBCI is expected to directly benefit up to100,000 small businesses and catalyze up to $10 of private investment for every $1 of SSBCI capital funding, amplifying the effects of this funding and providing small business owners with the resources they need to sustainably grow and thrive.

SSBCI is only one of a number of programs that demonstrate Treasury’s commitment to supporting businesses across all communities. The Treasury Department aims to ensure that these programs reach historically underserved entrepreneurs and small businesses and that the small business boom grows the vibrancy of local economies in communities that were disproportionately harmed by the pandemic. These programs are key to the Biden-Harris Administration’s strategy to strengthen the small business creation seen since the start of this Administration by unlocking access to private capital and critical technical assistance that bolsters small business support network.


Acting Comptroller Discusses Elevating Fairness in Banking

WASHINGTON—Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael J. Hsu today discussed the importance of fairness in remarks given at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition Just Economy Conference 2024.

Mr. Hsu highlighted bank progress in overdraft protection program reforms since the OCC issued guidance last April and provided an update on Project REACh accomplishments regarding credit invisibles, minority depository institutions and affordable housing. Additionally, he discussed the importance of ensuring fairness as it relates to artificial intelligence and fraud.

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Remarks by Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service

As Prepared for Delivery

Good evening. Thank you to Rod, the Landegger Program, and the wider School of Foreign Service for bringing us together today, and thank you to everyone in the audience for joining me.

I’m Brian Nelson, Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence—which we refer to here as TFI. My office is responsible for leading U.S. government efforts to counter illicit finance and using financial tools to respond to national security threats.

Part of TFI’s mission is protecting the U.S. financial system from harm, including from those who enable criminal activity— which is the topic we have come together to discuss this evening.

As the world’s largest economy, the United States has a unique responsibility. Trust in our financial system, and in the dollar, drives investment, fosters entrepreneurship, and creates opportunity for Americans and prosperity for our country. But this trust also has ripple effects on the rest of the world.

For Treasury and TFI, protecting the strength of the U.S. financial system is paramount — especially from those who seek to corrupt it, exploit it, or use it to hide or launder illicit funds. For decades, a panoply of dangerous actors from terrorist financiers to human traffickers, fraudsters, and U.S. adversaries have taken advantage of regulatory gaps in America’s financial system to move dirty money through the United States.

That is why our regulatory agenda seeks to detect and deter illicit financial activity, address vulnerabilities in our financial system, and shield our economy from criminal exploitation. The Biden-Harris Administration is taking a series of historic actions to close regulatory loopholes and shine light on the financial shadows where illicit actors operate. These actions—which are key missing pieces to one big puzzle—will advance U.S. economic and national security, protect everyday Americans from crime, stop illicit actors in their tracks, and ultimately bolster that all-important trust in our financial system.

In January, as part of the implementation of a bipartisan law—the Corporate Transparency Act—the Treasury Department took an important step to uncover the true owners of anonymous shell companies, which have been a favorite tool for kleptocrats, criminals, and U.S. adversaries seeking to exploit the U.S. financial system for nefarious purposes. They hide behind these opaque companies to launder the proceeds of drug trafficking, move embezzled funds, and finance terrorism. In extreme cases, Iranian, Russian, and North Korean actors have even used American shell companies to fund their weapons programs and procure sensitive military equipment.

Anonymous shell companies have also enabled fraudsters, scammers, and tax cheats to get an unfair leg up on law-abiding American businesses. By unmasking anonymous companies, we are rooting out bad actors from the U.S. economy and fostering a level playing field for small businesses and hardworking Americans.

In February, Treasury published a regulatory proposal to safeguard the residential real estate market from similar abuse. One study found that bad actors, including human traffickers and Russian oligarchs, were able to anonymously launder more than $2.3 billion in illicit funds through the U.S. real estate market from 2015 to 2020, parking their dirty money in our neighborhoods and exploiting our communities.

Left unchecked, this activity can distort housing market prices and make it more difficult for the average American to afford a home. By collecting information on the owners and finances behind certain types of residential real estate transactions, we are working to prevent abuse across the U.S. housing market on behalf of the American public.

Another essential puzzle piece is Treasury’s regulatory proposal to protect the investment adviser sector from abuse, which we also published in February. Billions of dollars belonging to Russian elites have been managed by U.S. investment advisers, bolstering Putin’s war machine in Ukraine. Chinese state actors have also used investments to quietly gain access to sensitive and emerging U.S. technologies, disadvantaging cutting-edge American innovation and weakening our economic competitiveness. Our proposal will crack down on this and other harmful behavior by, among other things, ensuring that certain investment advisers develop and maintain anti-money laundering compliance programs and take steps to detect and report suspicious activity.

These reforms are grounded in extensive research, analysis, and collaboration with experts both in and out of government. Earlier this year, Treasury published a suite of new and updated assessments documenting how criminals, terrorist financiers, and rogue regimes move funds through the United States. These assessments help government stay ahead of serious illicit activity and assist the private sector in identifying and mitigating the biggest threats affecting them, their reputations, and in turn, their bottom lines. In the coming weeks, we will publish a strategy for how we are working to comprehensively address these risks.

If you are interested in learning more about the illicit finance risks I have mentioned, I encourage you to take a look at Treasury’s risk assessments and strategies.

Treasury’s enduring partnership with the private sector has been indispensable to curbing illicit finance across the country. Together, we have been able to prevent foreign corrupt officials from siphoning their taxpayers’ dollars for private benefit, drug traffickers from profiting off of the pain of countless Americans, and fraudulent businesses from evading the rules to achieve an unfair advantage.

Across our regulatory efforts, we are committed to working with businesses to ensure that their obligations are clear, efficient, and reasonable, while meeting our national and economic security objectives. As part of the rulemaking process, we seek public comments to help us understand various perspectives, and we engage in robust discussions with a range of government and non-government stakeholders. For example, tomorrow, I am hosting a roundtable with real estate professionals, which will be highly useful in understanding their views of our proposed regulation of the residential real estate sector. Outside perspectives are incredibly valuable to us, and we continue to welcome feedback on both our residential real estate and investment adviser sector regulatory proposals until the public comment periods close in the middle of this month.

In line with our efforts to streamline regulatory compliance obligations for businesses, this year, Treasury intends to propose an updated customer due diligence rule to help certain private sector firms be more effective and responsive in how they detect and prevent illicit activity. This updated rule will aim to help firms be more responsive to evolving threats and focus on mitigating their biggest risks. We look forward to hearing from the private sector and other stakeholders as part of that rulemaking process—because when we work together, we can be more effective in our common goal of protecting the U.S. financial system.

I’d also like to revisit something I touched on earlier, which is the unique position of the U.S. economy and the ripple effects of our actions. Last month, at the FATF, or the Financial Action Task Force—which is the global standard-setting body for countering illicit finance—I was proud to share with my colleagues from around the world that the United States is delivering on our ongoing commitment to implement international standards that will help stem the flow of dirty money globally.

Last week, the FATF announced in a follow-up report that the United States has been upgraded to a rating of “largely compliant” with a key FATF standard on beneficial ownership transparency. A grade of “largely compliant” may not seem so meaningful—especially here at Georgetown—but this upgrade follows nearly a decade of historic efforts by Treasury and our interagency partners to close loopholes in our financial system that bad actors have been exploiting for generations. So, indeed, a big deal. And it means we can continue to lead by example, ensuring that we are meeting international standards and sharing best practices.

But we still have much work to do. In the immediate future, as I mentioned, we have one remaining rulemaking required by the Corporate Transparency Act. Our residential real estate and investment adviser rulemakings, both necessary and substantial steps, are still just proposals and in the early stages of the regulatory process.

And we are not letting our guard down. As criminals attempt new ways to access our financial system, we resolve to remain vigilant, responsive, and innovative to ensure we can effectively safeguard America’s economic and national security.

As Secretary Yellen has said, our message is clear: The United States is not a haven for dirty money. Kleptocrats and greedy dictators are not welcome to stash, launder, or park stolen funds in America. Terrorist financiers, cartels, and fraudsters cannot exploit our corporate ecosystem to facilitate crime. And criminals cannot abuse America’s thriving housing market or investment adviser sector for nefarious purposes.

The actions that the Treasury Department is taking will strengthen our ability to disrupt and deter illicit finance dangers. As the Biden-Harris Administration advances an economy that works for all Americans, rooting out dirty money is a key piece of that puzzle.

I know we have a fantastic panel lined up this evening, so I’ll turn it back over to Rod. Thank you.


READOUT: Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen’s Roundtable with Representatives from Chambers of Commerce and Experts on Business Conditions in China

GUANGZHOU – Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen today held a roundtable discussion with representatives from the American, European, and Japanese business communities and other experts to discuss business conditions in certain industries in China. During the roundtable, Secretary Yellen stressed that the United States seeks a healthy economic relationship with China that provides a level playing field for American workers and businesses and emphasized that achieving this goal requires frank and open communication with China. She heard from a range of American and non-American business representatives about concerns like overcapacity in certain Chinese industries.


Remarks by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen Ahead of Bilateral Meeting with Guangdong Governor Wang Weizhong of the People’s Republic of China

As Prepared for Delivery

Governor Wang, thank you for your warm welcome. I appreciate your hospitality, and it’s great to be with you today.

It’s also great to be in the city of Guangzhou. I know that Guangzhou has historically been a center for Chinese trade with the rest of the world. In recent decades, it was at the forefront of market-oriented reforms that advanced China’s economic development and openness. And I know this city retains tremendous importance today, including as a key hub for technology and manufacturing.

The ties between China and the rest of the world, including the United States, are easily apparent here. This makes it a fitting place for me to visit this week, on my second trip to China as Treasury Secretary.

Throughout my engagements with my counterparts, I will stress that a healthy economic relationship can bring significant benefits for both our economies. As Vice Premier He and I agreed in November, we are committed to working toward this objective.

At the same time, I’ve also emphasized that building a healthy economic relationship requires a level playing field for American workers and firms, as well as open and direct communication on areas where we disagree. This includes the issue of China’s industrial overcapacity, which the United States and other countries are concerned can cause global spillovers.

Today, I welcome the opportunity to discuss all of this with you and to hear about what you are seeing at a local level.

I look forward to learning more about Guangzhou, and to discussing how we can further develop a healthy economic relationship that benefits both sides.

Thank you again for hosting me here.


Treasury Targets Network Facilitating Shipments Valued in Hundreds of Millions for Iranian Military

WASHINGTON — Today, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is taking additional action against Iranian military revenue generation, targeting Oceanlink Maritime DMCC for facilitating the shipment of Iranian commodities on behalf of Iran’s Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) and Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL). OFAC is also identifying 13 vessels managed by Oceanlink Maritime DMCC as blocked property. The Oceanlink Maritime DMCC-managed vessel HECATE recently loaded Iranian commodities valued at over $100 million dollars via a ship-to-ship (STS) transfer from another sanctioned tanker, the DOVER, on behalf of Iran’s Sepehr Energy Jahan Nama Pars (Sepehr Energy), which OFAC sanctioned in November 2023 for its role selling Iranian commodities for the AFGS and MODAFL.

“We are focused on disrupting Iran’s ability to finance its terrorist proxy and partner groups and support to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “The United States will continue to use our full range of tools to target the illicit funding streams that enable Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region and around the world.”

OFAC is also updating the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List) to reflect that the name of OFAC-sanctioned vessel YOUNG YONG (IMO: 9194127) has been changed to the SAINT LIGHT, possibly to obfuscate its identity. The SAINT LIGHT, which is also operating under the name STELLAR ORACLE, conducted an STS transfer on March 27, 2024 with a sanctioned vessel operated by the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), the HAWK (IMO: 9362061), from which it loaded over $100 million worth of Iranian commodities. The HAWK had loaded the same cargo on March 22, 2024 via an STS transfer from the vessel KOHANA (IMO: 9254082), which OFAC sanctioned on February 27, 2024 for its role in attempting to ship MODAFL-owned commodities. 

Today’s action is being taken pursuant to the counterterrorism authority in Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended. OFAC designated Sepehr Energy pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, on November 29, 2023, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of MODAFL. OFAC designated MODAFL pursuant to E.O. 13224 on March 26, 2019 for providing material support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF). 


Oceanlink Maritime DMCC operates a fleet of over one dozen vessels which are deeply involved in the shipment of Iranian commodities, including on behalf of Iran’s military. On March 25, 2024, the DOVER (IMO: 9218466), a vessel operated by NITC and carrying over $100 million worth of commodities on behalf of Sepehr Energy, conducted an STS transfer with the Comoros-flagged, Oceanlink Maritime-managed HECATE (IMO: 9233753), using obfuscation techniques to conceal the locations of the vessels.

Sepehr Energy has also shipped Iranian commodities using the Comoros-flagged ANTHEA (IMO: 9281683) and BOREAS (IMO: 9248497), both of which are managed by Oceanlink Maritime DMCC. Oceanlink Maritime DMCC also manages the Comoros-flagged CAPE GAS (IMO: 9002491), GLAUCUS (IMO: 9337389), OCEANUS GAS (IMO: 9397080), and HEBE (IMO: 9259185), the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged CALYPSO GAS (IMO: 9131101) and MERAKI (IMO: 9194139), the Belize-flagged ELSA (IMO: 9256468) and BAXTER (IMO: 9282522), the Panama-flagged DEMETER (IMO: 9258674) and the Cook Islands-flagged OUREA (IMO: 9350422). The CAPE GAS, GLAUCUS, OCEANUS GAS, HEBE, CALYPSO GAS, MERAKI, ELSA, BAXTER, DEMETER, and OUREA have all shipped Iranian commodities, some as recently as March of this year. 

Oceanlink Maritime DMCC, which is based in the UAE, is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Sepehr Energy. The HECATE, ANTHEA, BOREAS, CAPE GAS, GLAUCUS, OCEANUS GAS, HEBE, CALYPSO GAS, MERAKI, ELSA, BAXTER, DEMETER, and OUREA are being identified as property in which Oceanlink Maritime DMCC has an interest. 


As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated persons described above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons. 

In addition, financial institutions and other persons that engage in certain transactions or activities with the sanctioned entities and individuals may expose themselves to sanctions or be subject to an enforcement action. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any designated person, or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person. 

The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from OFAC’s ability to designate and add persons to the SDN List, but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior. For information concerning the process for seeking removal from an OFAC list, including the SDN List, please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897 here. For detailed information on the process to submit a request for removal from an OFAC sanctions list, please click here.

Click here for more information on the individuals and entities designated today.


Remarks by Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy (P.D.O.) Eric Van Nostrand and Acting Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing Anna Morris on the Price Cap on Russian Oil

As Prepared for Delivery


It’s an honor to be here today to discuss the price cap on Russian oil alongside our other efforts to limit Putin’s ability to finance his illegal war. It’s especially an honor to do so in India, alongside our government and industry partners. As one of the most significant global consumers of oil, we know that the Indian economy has much at stake in the Russian oil trade, and has much at stake from the global supply disruptions that the price cap is designed to avoid. The price cap’s goals are to limit Putin’s revenue and maintain global oil supply—essentially by creating a mechanism for India and other partners to access Russian oil at discounted prices.

The price cap’s first year was a successful one by those standards: global oil markets remained well-supplied while Russian oil traded at a significant discount to global oil. This past summer and fall, we saw Russia’s investments in new infrastructure to sell oil outside the price cap’s jurisdiction begin to bear fruit, and the discount on Russian oil narrowed. In response, the United States and the Price Cap Coalition have reinvigorated our enforcement efforts and focused on constraining Russia’s options to sell outside the price cap. Today, even the Kremlin has acknowledged that these efforts are forcing Russia to sell at bigger discounts to global consumers like India.

Adoption and successful implementation of such a novel policy is an important diplomatic achievement, reflecting the unity of the Coalition opposed to Putin’s war. Our engagement with Indian partners—in the public and private sectors—was an essential part of the process given India’s critical role in the global oil trade.

Today, we will review the inception of the price cap policy and the economics behind it. Then, we will move into a discussion of how enforcement of the price cap has evolved and how we are continuing to support its success through expanded and targeted enforcement actions.

Origins of the Price Cap

Over two years have passed since Putin launched his illegal full-scale invasion of Ukraine.  The United States and the global Coalition opposed to Russia’s war then faced an important choice on how to address Russian oil exports, the Kremlin’s most important revenue source. Permitting an unrestricted Russian oil trade was and remains unacceptable: it would allow Putin to profit from a price spike he created. However, taking steps to suddenly remove Russian oil from the market—such as by banning the use of Coalition services in any Russian oil trade—would risk spiking global oil prices further for the emerging economies most dependent on imported energy. 

The Coalition identified the price cap as the way to best navigate these risks. The price cap has two goals: to limit Putin’s oil profits and to maintain stable global oil supply. Effectively, the price cap is designed to force Russia to continue selling its oil but for lower prices than it could otherwise obtain.

The price cap leverages an important feature of global oil markets: G7 service providers (like insurers and ship owners) are central to the Russian oil trade, even when the Coalition is not the buyer. The price cap permits service providers in Coalition countries to support the Russian oil trade only if the oil is sold at or below a specific cap. The price cap is designed to foster a market in which Russia supplies energy at a heavily discounted price: maintaining the volume of energy supplied, while minimizing Putin’s profit earned from it.

In 2022, the price cap was met with considerable skepticism.  But over the year following its announcement, the United States and our international coalition were pleased with the effectiveness of the policy.  We saw the Kremlin’s tax revenue from oil drop more than 40 percent over the first nine months of 2023, compared to the same period a year earlier, and we were gratified to see that the price cap worked in practice as well as in theory—that this policy mechanism made it possible to stunt a major source of funding for Putin’s war machine was possible while also maintaining a stable energy supply to Europe and to emerging markets.  Emerging markets like India benefited from the discounted price of Russian oil relative to global markets. 

The Price Cap’s Second Phase

In the second half of 2023, we observed Russian efforts to build up an infrastructure of ships, insurers, and other maritime services with providers with opaque ownership structures and a history of sanctions evasion activities: sometimes colloquially known as the “shadow fleet.” It’s a standard feature of sanctions regimes that the target will invest to avoid the legal reach of sanctions. Indeed, Russia’s investments diverted money from the battlefield: they were forced to buy tankers rather than tanks. Nonetheless, the changing market conditions did result in a narrowing of the discount on Russian oil, and they drove us to expand our approach to enforcing and implementing the price cap regime.

Beginning in October 2023, the Coalition tightened enforcement of the price cap by 1) imposing more stringent enforcement on oil trade using Coalition services and 2) increasing the costs to the Kremlin of selling oil via the “shadow fleet.” For Treasury’s part, we began and have continued to publicly sanction vessels involved in oil trade above the price cap.

The United States has designated vessel owners, shipping companies, and an oil trader that used Coalition services to trade above the cap, as well as identified several of these companies’ vessels as blocked property. We have designated obscure and opaque supply chain intermediaries supporting Russia’s oil trade.

Our enforcement efforts continue:

  • On February 1, the U.S. Treasury issued a Price Cap Coalition Compliance and Enforcement Alert directed at both government and industry stakeholders. This alert reflects our commitment to support governments and industry stakeholders to comply with the cap.  The enforcement alert provides examples of specific evasion methods, and potential mitigation measures. It also provides avenues to report suspected oil price cap breaches to each of the Coalition members.
  • And on February 23, Treasury designated Joint Stock Company Sovcomflot, Russia’s state-owned shipping company and fleet operator, and publicly identified 14 of Sovcomflot’s crude oil tankers as blocked property.  As Deputy Secretary Adeyemo said when these designations were announced, this is part of our plan to increase the costs on Russia, but do so in a responsible manner to mitigate risks to the broader market.


Since our enforcement push began four months ago, we’re seeing strong indicators of the success of this approach: Russian oil prices have fallen, even relative to global prices, which reduced Putin’s revenue. The discount on the loading price of Russian Urals oil moved from a low of $12-13 below world prices, to a peak of $18 in January 2024 and around $17-18 in February, the latest month with data available.

Oil markets are complex, but for several months, market commentators and analysts—including the International Energy Agency—have credited our enforcement actions with hurting the Kremlin’s budget. Quoting IEA’s January 2024 Oil Market Report[1]: “Russian oil export revenues lowest since June 2023: Crude price discounts to benchmarks for Urals have deepened under pressure from the expanded US Treasury investigation into ships, their owners and related traders that have transported Russian oil purchased above the G7 price cap.”

Further, in January, Clear View Energy Partners also wrote: “Notwithstanding our usual caveats regarding small sample sizes and energy data quality limitations, OFAC’s [Treasury’s sanctions administration and enforcement arm] ramp-up of enforcement actions appears to be achieving its stated goals: preserving Russian export flows while diminishing proceeds to the Kremlin. Per Bloomberg ship-tracking data on a four-week moving average basis, seaborne crude volumes have risen back towards mid-October levels[.] Meanwhile, Urals – Brent differentials appear to have widened—either a little, or materially, depending on the data source used[.]”

Beyond this industry validation, even the Kremlin’s own oil czar acknowledged that the sanctions issued to enforce the price cap were forcing Russia to sell at lower prices. On January 31, Bloomberg reported that “Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak told reporters in Moscow that Russian prices have seen bigger reductions relative to global prices since the most recent sanctions packages were brought into effect at the end of last year.”

And, in addition to all this, Russian oil export volumes have remained stable in recent months. The price cap is helping maintain a steady supply of energy to global consumers and businesses.

Our efforts are bolstered by international support for these enforcement actions, like the recent decision from private and publicly owned refineries to halt imports on Sovcomflot ships.


We continue to monitor the price cap, and we acknowledge that oil markets are complex and can be opaque.  As we saw last summer, Russia will react to an effective price cap by continuing invest money to avoid our sanctions, requiring us to continue to adapt and innovate in our strategy.

We’ve seen evidence of Russia’s revenue losses – the discount between Brent and Urals, the acknowledgement of the costs from their own political leadership, and their willingness make substantial investments in a shadow fleet for the sole purpose of evasion of the price cap. This has been achieved without significant losses to global oil supply.

The United States, together with the rest of the Coalition, will need to remain vigilant and ensure that the policy, its implementation, and enforcement are deployed to inflict financial burden on Russia and keep global energy markets stable.