Global sanctions guide

  1. Does Belgium have a sanctions regime in place? 

Yes. The Belgian regime must be complied with by any individual or entity within Belgium and any individual elsewhere who is a Belgian citizen or an entity incorporated or constituted in Belgium.

  1. Does Belgium implement UN sanctions? 

Yes. Belgium is a member of the European Union, which implements UN sanctions in all member states by way of directly effective regulations.

  1. Does Belgium implement an autonomous sanctions regime? 

Yes. The legal basis of Belgium’s sanctions regime is:

  • The Royal Decree of 6 October 1944 regarding the control of any transfers of goods or assets between Belgium and a foreign country (modified by the Law of 28 February 2002);
  • The Act of 11 May 1995 regarding the implementation of UNSC decisions; and
  • The Law of 13 May 2003 relating to the implementation of restrictive measures adopted by the European Union Council against some States, persons and entities (Belgian Official Journal of 06/13/2003).
  1. What is the nature of the sanctions regime in Belgium? 

Belgium’s sanctions regime derives mainly from UN resolutions and EU sanctions. UN resolutions are implemented into Belgian law by way of statutory instruments. EU sanctions are contained in EU regulations which have direct effect in Belgium.

There are also financial sanctions such as the freezing of designated persons’ funds, or prohibiting the granting of credit to designated persons. There are some exceptions to financial sanctions for basic needs such as medicines, humanitarian help and food. Those exceptions can only be granted with the authorisation of the relevant entity.

As well as financial sanctions, other restrictive measures can be laid down, for example those relating to the trade of products.

Belgium tries to avoid broad sanctions and only implements targeted sanctions. It is considered important for a sanction to be effective that the objectives of the sanction are listed before the adoption of it.

  1. Does Belgium maintain a list of sanctioned individuals and entities? 

No. A Belgian list was planned but did not materialise, and so authorities continue to rely on UN and EU sanctions lists.

  1. Are there any other lists related to sanctions? 


  1. Does Belgium have a licensing or authorisation system in place? 

Yes. Some financial activities need an authorisation or a licence. For example, a licence is needed for the export, import or transit of weapons, military and paramilitary equipment. A licence is also needed for exporting to Russia, Syria or Iran.

  1. What are the consequences for a breach of sanctions in Belgium? 

The consequences for a breach of sanctions include fines and imprisonment, depending on the severity of the breach. Where the breached sanction arose from Belgium’s autonomous sanctions regime rather than EU regulations, the punishment will be determined by Belgian criminal law.

  1. Who are the relevant regulators in Belgium and what are their contact details?

The Federal Public Service Finance is responsible for freezing of funds, financing and financial assistance.

Administration of the Treasury
30 Avenue des Arts
1040 Brussels

F:  (+32) 2 579 58 38

The Financial Intelligence Processing Unit (CTIF-CFI) is responsible for suspicious financial transactions

Avenue de la Toison d’Or
Gulden Vlieslaan 55
Box 1, 1060 Brussels

T: (+32) 2 533 72 11
F: (+32) 2 533 72 00

The Federal Public Service Economy, SME’s, Self-employed and Energy is responsible for issuing import and export licences for goods and services, luxury goods, sales, purchases and technical assistance by Belgian defence forces and security services, and of financial and technical services in relation to the production or delivery of weapons and military and parliamentary equipment.

City Atrium C
Vooruitgangstraat 50
Rue du Progrès
1210 Brussels

T: (+32) 2 277 67 13
F: (+32) 2 277 50 63

The following regional authorities are in charge of other export, import and transit licences for weapons, military and paramilitary equipment and dual use goods:

Brussels-Capital Region

Licence Cell
20 Kruidtuinlaan
Boulevard du Jardin Botanique
1035 Belgium

T: (+32) 2 800 37 27
F: (+32) 2 800 38 24

Walloon Region

S.P.W, Direction Générale Opérationnelle de l’Economie, de l’Emploi et de la Recherche
Direction des Licences d’Armes
14,Chaussée de Louvain
5000 Namur
T:  (+32) 81 64 97 51
F: (+32) 81 64 97 60
E: (French language only)

Flemish Region

Departement internationaal Vlaanderen
Dienst Controle Strategische Goederen
Boudewijnlaan 30
B-1000 Brussel
T: (+32) 2 553 57 92
F: (+32) 2 553 60 37

Contributor law firm

Koen Devos, Eversheds, De Kleetlaan 12a, 1831 Diegem, Brussels, Belgium