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MAKROchem operations frozen by Polish government over Russia sanctions

On October 5, MAKROchem (Lublin, Poland) informed its customers and clients that it had been forced to cease all operations, effective immediately, by the Polish government due to sanctions on the import of carbon black from the Russian Federation. MAKROchem is a leading distributor of carbon black to the EU, the United States, and many other countries.

The full English text of the statement from MAKROchem management is presented below:

We sadly inform that at this moment we are forced and legally obligated to stop performing our supplies, deliveries and services, effective immediately, due to unexpected and unprecedented force majeure event.
Because of gross misinterpretation, our Company has been subjected to prohibition of trading and operating activities sanctioned by the administrative authorities of the Republic of Poland under the regulations applying restrictive measures related with war in Ukraine. As the basis of such decision the following argumentation was given: commercial relations covering the purchase, import and transport of carbon black from the suppliers seated in Russian Federation. The issuing authority completely ignored the fact that we were performing this purchase and import within the import quota established under Council Regulation (EU) 2023/427 of 25 February 2023 amending Regulation (EU) No. 833/2014. Pursuant to the wording of Article 3i, paragraph 3da letter a) of the above-mentioned Regulation, import, purchase and transport of carbon black into the European Union in the tonnage within the limits of the established quota, is permitted until June 30, 2024. This means that we have operated in accordance with the law, did not violate any prohibitions or sanctions and acted in compliance with the quota, the end of which is scheduled for June 30, 2024.
This prohibition of our operations have been imposed on our Company unexpectedly, effective immediately, without the possibility of presenting our standing prior to the issuance of such decision.
We have already taken legal measures for these restrictions to be taken down. We hope that this will happen very soon.

As MAKROchem notes in the statement, the European Union has banned imports of carbon black (among other materials) from Russia as of June 30, 2024. The United States has placed a 35% import tariff on Russian imports of carbon black (among other materials). However, the EU ban includes a quota on the total quantity of Russian carbon black that can be imported from the time the ban was announced until it is implemented on June 30, 2024. As of October 6, 2023, only 15% of the total quota of 742.5 KT had been exhausted, with 638.8 KT remaining. Further, MAKROchem previously has announced a full exit from its Russian business in accordance with the sanctions.

Update: According to ERJ, the measures were imposed due to the Lublin, Poland-based company’s alleged infringement of laws “counteracting support for aggression against Ukraine and for protection [of] national security.”

Restrictions include a freezing of 'funds and economic resources' of owner Igor Lewenberg as well as a prohibition on the transfer of funding to or on behalf of Makrochem.
Signed off 2 Oct by Polish minister of interior and administration Mariusz Kamiński, the sanctions document cites company funds of €806,979 and €558,255 transferred to Belarus and Russia respectively. Among the main beneficiaries were Russian companies in the chemical and tire sectors: AO Jaroslawski Technical Coal, PAO Nizhnekamskshina, AO Nizhnekamsk Technicznych, OOO Togliattikauczuk, OOO Tatneft AZS Centre. The document, for example, cites how Nizhnekamskshina produces tires mounted on Russian armoured cars used during military aggression against Ukraine.

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