The Atlantic Council has published on 6th February an edition of its EconoGraphic blog which explains the difference between primary and secondary sanctions, outlines how secondary sanctions work, and uses a case study to demonstrate how the US employs secondary sanctions in the real economy.
Primary sanctions, such as asset freezes and trade embargoes, prohibit citizens and companies of the sanctioning country from engaging in certain activities with their counterparts from the sanctioned country. Secondary sanctions put pressure on third parties to stop their activities with the sanctioned country by threatening to cut-off the third party’s access to the sanctioning country. Recent US sanctions against Iran illustrate this example well, it says.
The blog emphasises that it is important to note that secondary and primary sanctions technically function in the same way, in that they are enforced by targeting domestic entities rather than the third party.
The blog uses the application of sanctions against the Chinese Bank of Dandong as a case study.
A further, more detailed briefing on secondary sanctions is to be published by the Atlantic Council in due course.