Politics

Report: Biden Admin To Ease Trump Sanctions Regime On Key American Adversaries

Photo by Atta Kenare /AFP via Getty Images

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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President Joe Biden is reportedly set to chart a new course away from his predecessor’s foreign policy.

The Biden administration is re-evaluating how the U.S. uses economic sanctions and is in the midst of planning a new approach that will do away with widespread economic pressure campaigns, unilateral sanctions and excessive collateral damage, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The changes are expected to come once the administration is finished with a review of sanctions policy sometime near the end of summer, according to the WSJ.

Former Trump administration officials reportedly said the Biden team is wasting years of leverage built up by increasing sanctions on places like Venezuela, North Korea and Iran. Those officials said relying on international partners and waiting to reach multilateral agreements can undermine U.S. national security, according to the WSJ.

“Our focus is on making sure that we’re moving from unilateral action, which has been what has defined U.S. policy over the last four years, to really working with our partners,” a senior Biden administration official reportedly told the WSJ.

One case where the new approach is already in motion is Iran, which the Biden administration has offered sanctions relief to in exchange for talks on a return to the Iran nuclear deal along with its European partners. The Trump administration abandoned the nuclear deal in 2018, and consistently ramped up economic penalties on the regime in subsequent years.

The administration has also sought international cooperation on sanctions against China for the Chinese Communist Party’s actions in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, Russia for its attacks on political liberties and Belarus for crackdowns on civil freedoms. (RELATED: ‘Lack Of Chinese Transparency’ Was Ultimate ‘Source Of Death’ In Pandemic, Expert Tells House Republicans)

Biden departed from Trump policy by opting not to sanction constructors of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a major boon for both Russia and a key European ally in Germany.

Biden’s team also loosened restrictions on Venezuela’s port authority in February and issued waivers for pandemic relief last month for Venezuela, Syria and Iran.

Deputy Treasury Secretary Adewale Adeyemo is leading the administration’s policy review. His office said he “seeks to identify ways to promote a warranted, strategic, and judicious use of sanctions” as he meets with key stakeholders, according to the WSJ.