WASHINGTON – The US Department of Commerce (DoC) has put seven Pakistani companies on a list of foreign entities for their alleged involvement in the nuclear trade.
The Pakistani firms are among the 23 companies added to the Entity List of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) which is prepared by Bureau of Industry and Security.
The list says the sanctioned companies are “reasonably believed to be involved or to pose a significant risk of being or becoming involved, in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States”
A Singaporean company, which is affiliated to a Pakistani company, and 15 entities from South Sudan are among the additions, which were published in the Federal Register on Thursday.
With this step, the companies are now subject to stringent export control measures, which could bar them from taking part in international trade.
Three of the Pakistani firms have been sanctioned for “their involvement in the proliferation of unsafeguarded nuclear activities that are contrary to the national security and/or foreign policy interests of the United States”.
The US department has accused two firms of purchasing supplies for nuclear-related entities already put on the list, while two remaining companies have been sanctioned for allegedly acting as fronts for listed entities.
These step would undermine Pakistan’s desire to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a group of countries that can trade fissile materials and nuclear technologies. One of the main objectives of the NSG was to bar other countries form carrying out nuclear tests.
Pakistan applied for the NSG membership on May 19, 2016, after India stepped up efforts to get the position with the support of the United States and other western countries.
Pakistan, who has the support of China, Turkey and other countries, says NSG should take non-discriminatory decisions to induct new members.
Besides supporting Pakistan, China and Turkey cited procedural issues in inducting new members which delayed India’s inclusion to the club.
Mushko Logistics Pvt. Ltd., Singapore, and Mushko Electronics Pvt. Ltd., Pakistan, will be put on the list for procuring supplies for already sanctioned entities.
Solutions Engineering, Pakistan to be added to the list for violating US national security and foreign policy interests.
Three of the Pakistani entities, Akhtar & Munir, Proficient Engineers and Pervaiz Commercial Trading Co. (PCTC), be added based on their involvement in the proliferation of unsafeguarded nuclear activities.
One of the firm, Marine Systems Pvt. Ltd. to be listed for helping Pakistani entities in circumventing US-imposed restrictions. Remaining one company, Engineering and Commercial Services (ECS), to be put on the list for its allegedly providing supplies to the Pakistan-based nuclear-related entity.
US Department of Commerce asserted that the imposition of sanctions would help prevent the violation of Export Administration Regulations (EAR) rules.
The placement on the list imposes a licence requirement for all items subject to the EAR and a licence review policy of presumption of denial.
The licence requirements apply to any transaction in which items are to be exported, re-exported, or transferred (in-country) to any of the entities or in which such entities act as purchaser, intermediate consignee, ultimate consignee, or end-user thus putting the hurdle in free operation of such entities.