READOUT: Senior Treasury and Commerce Department Officials Travel to Kazakhstan

ALMATY — From April 23 - 26, Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes at the U.S. Department of the Treasury Elizabeth Rosenberg and Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement at the U.S. Department of Commerce Matthew Axelrod joined an interagency, multilateral visit to Astana and Almaty, Kazakhstan to continue close partnership on many issues, including countering the evasion of sanctions and export controls imposed on Russia for its war against Ukraine. 

The delegations in Kazakhstan included Assistant Secretary Rosenberg, Assistant Secretary Axelrod, the European Union’s International Special Envoy for the Implementation of EU Sanctions David O’Sullivan, and the United Kingdom’s Director of the Sanctions Directorate David Reed, and were assembled to provide clarity across sanctions and export control regimes and offer technical assistance.

In the face of increased efforts by Russia to illicitly procure supplies and inputs for its military-industrial complex, the delegations discussed the flows of dual-use goods of top concern and urged vigilance against an uptick in evasion attempts. They shared that in Central Asia and around the world, Russia has sought to use cut-outs, facilitate opaque payments, and exploit third countries — especially those with high levels of integration with its own economy— to circumvent sanctions and export controls.

The delegations met with government officials and the private sector to share information, outline strategic priorities, and offer assistance to help facilitate compliance while minimizing economic impacts on Kazakhstan. Assistant Secretary Axelrod shared the importance to Russia of acquiring specific semiconductors and other electronic integrated circuits to power its missiles and drones, and stressed the urgency of preventing Russia from evading coalition export restrictions by transshipping such items through Kazakhstan. Assistant Secretary Rosenberg outlined sanctions evasion typologies in the financial sector. Both noted that the United States  enjoys strong partnership and open communication with the Government of Kazakhstan, and expressed the desire to be good partners to government and industry in their efforts to ensure they are not used to support the Russian war effort.