International Emergency Economic Powers Act

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International Emergency Economic Powers Act
Great Seal of the United States
Long titleAn Act with respect to the powers of the President in time of war or national emergency.
Acronyms (colloquial)IEEPA
Enacted bythe 95th United States Congress
EffectiveDecember 28, 1977
Public law95-223
Statutes at Large91 Stat. 1625
Titles amended50 U.S.C.: War and National Defense
U.S.C. sections created50 U.S.C. ch. 35 § 1701 et seq.
Legislative history
United States Supreme Court cases
Dames & Moore v. Regan

The International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), Title II of Pub.L. 95–223, 91 Stat. 1626, enacted October 28, 1977, is a United States federal law authorizing the president to regulate international commerce after declaring a national emergency in response to any unusual and extraordinary threat to the United States which has its source in whole or substantial part outside the United States.[1] The act was signed by President Jimmy Carter on December 28, 1977.[2]


In the United States Code, the IEEPA is Title 50, §§1701–1707.[3] The IEEPA authorizes the president to declare the existence of an "unusual and extraordinary threat... to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States" that originates "in whole or substantial part outside the United States."[4] It further authorizes the president, after such a declaration, to block transactions and freeze assets to deal with the threat.[5] In the event of an actual attack on the United States, the president can also confiscate property connected with a country, group, or person that aided in the attack.[6]

The IEEPA falls under the provisions of the National Emergencies Act (NEA), which means that an emergency declared under the act must be renewed annually to remain in effect.


Curtailment of emergency executive powers[edit]

Congress enacted the IEEPA in 1977 to clarify and restrict presidential power during times of declared national emergency under the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 ("TWEA"). Under TWEA, starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, presidents had the power to declare emergencies without limiting their scope or duration, without citing the relevant statutes, and without congressional oversight.[7] The Supreme Court in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer limited what a president could do in such an emergency, but did not limit the emergency declaration power itself. A 1973 Senate investigation found (in Senate Report 93-549) that four declared emergencies remained in effect: the 1933 banking crisis with respect to the hoarding of gold,[8] a 1950 emergency with respect to the Korean War,[9] a 1970 emergency regarding the postal workers strike, and a 1971 emergency in response to the government's deteriorating economic and fiscal conditions.[10] Congress terminated these emergencies with the National Emergencies Act, and then passed the IEEPA to restore the emergency power in a limited, overseeable form.

Unlike TWEA, IEEPA was drafted to permit presidential emergency declarations only in response to threats originating outside the United States.[11] Beginning with Jimmy Carter in response to the Iran Hostage Crisis, presidents have invoked IEEPA to safeguard U.S. national security interests by freezing or "blocking" assets of belligerent foreign governments,[12] or certain foreign nationals abroad.[13]

Since 9/11[edit]

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush issued Executive Order 13224 under IEEPA to block the assets of terrorist organizations.[14] The President delegated blocking authority to federal agencies led by the U.S. Treasury. In October 2001, Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act which, in part, enhanced IEEPA asset blocking provisions under §1702(a)(1)(B) to permit the blocking of assets during the "pendency of an investigation." This statutory change gave the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control the power to block assets without the need to provide evidence of the blocking subject's wrongdoing nor to permit the blocking subject a chance to effectively respond to the allegations in court.[15] Executing these blocking actions led to a series of legal cases challenging federal authority to indefinitely prevent charitable organizations from accessing their assets held in the United States.[16]

On May 30, 2019, the White House announced that President Donald Trump would use IEEPA powers to introduce tariffs on Mexican exports in response to the national security threat of illegal immigration from Mexico into the United States.[17]

As part of an ongoing trade war with China, on August 24, 2019, Trump tweeted that he “hereby ordered” US companies to start looking at alternatives to China on the basis of claimed powers under IEEPA.[18][19] Trump, however, did not formally declare an emergency as required by IEEPA.


Notable cases[edit]


List of emergencies[edit]


As of 2021, the following IEEPA emergencies are active.[25]

Starting year Country/region Executive order Basis of emergency Scope
1979 Iran 12170 Iran hostage crisis Property of the government of Iran and its instrumentalities
1994 Worldwide 12938 Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction Property of persons that engage in or support proliferation
1995 Iran 12957 Actions and policies of the government Various forms of commerce involving Iran
1995 Middle East 12947 Terrorist violence to disrupt the peace process Property of Specially Designated Terrorists committing or supporting such violence
1995 Colombia 12978 Foreign narcotics traffic Property of traffickers and their material supporters
1997 Sudan 13067 Actions and policies of the government US-Sudan commerce generally
2001 North Macedonia 13219 Extremist violence and actions that obstruct the Dayton Agreement or UNSC Resolution 1244 Property of persons engaged in or providing support for such activities
2001 Worldwide 13222 Expiration of the Export Administration Act Continuation of authority for all regulations previously authorized under the Act
2001 Worldwide 13224 Threat of terrorist attacks on the US and its nationals Property of Specially Designated Global Terrorists that commit, threaten to commit or support terrorism, including al-Qaeda
2003 Zimbabwe 13288 Actions and policies of members of the government Property of 77 government officials
2003 Iraq 13303 Obstacles to reconstruction Property of officials and associates of the Saddam Hussein government, and of persons undermining stabilization efforts with violence.
2004 Syria 13338 Various aggressive actions of the government Property of persons involved in those actions
2006 Belarus 13405 Actions and policies of members of the government Property of government officials and other persons involved in human rights abuses
2006 Democratic Republic of the Congo 13413 Violence and atrocities that threaten regional stability Property of persons contributing to said violence
2007 Lebanon 13441 Actions to undermine the government Various forms of commerce involving persons engaged in such actions
2008 North Korea 13466 Nuclear proliferation Various forms of commerce involving North Korea and its nationals
2010 Somalia 13536 Deterioration of the security situation Property of persons that threaten the peace, security, or stability of Somalia
2011 Libya 13566 Extreme measures taken during the Libyan Civil War Property of officials and associates of the Muammar Gaddafi government
2011 Worldwide 13581 Activities of transnational criminal organizations Property of persons involved in such organizations
2012 Yemen 13611 Actions and policies that threaten the peace, security, or stability of Yemen Property of persons engaged in such actions.
2014 Ukraine and Russia 13660 Actions and policies of persons engaged in the Ukraine crisis Property of such persons.
2014 Central African Republic 13667 Central African Republic conflict (2012–present) Property of persons contributing to the conflict.
2014 South Sudan 13664 Activities that threaten regional peace, security, or stability Property of persons engaged in such activities.
2015 Venezuela 13692 Human rights violations Property of persons responsible for such violations.
2015 Worldwide 13694 Significant malicious cyber-enabled activities Property of persons responsible for or complicit in such activities.
2015 Burundi 13712 2015 Burundian unrest Property of persons engaged in destabilizing activities.
2017 Worldwide 13818 Serious human rights abuse and corruption Property of designated persons engaged in such activities
2018 Worldwide 13848 Risk of foreign interference in US elections Property of foreign persons determined to have participated in such interference
2018 Nicaragua 13851 Human rights abuses, destabilization and corruption under the Daniel Ortega government Property of persons engaged in such activities
2019 Worldwide 13873 Vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services Technology and services connected with a foreign adversary that pose a risk to the United States
2019 Turkey 13894 Military operations in Syria Property of Turkish government officials, institutions and supporting entities
2020 China 13936 Actions that undermine the autonomy and institutions of Hong Kong Property of foreign persons connected with such actions
2020 China 13959 Use of United States financial capital for military development and modernization Transactions in securities of Chinese military companies
2021 Myanmar 14014 2021 Myanmar coup d'état Property of foreign persons connected with the armed forces of Myanmar or repressive actions and polices
2021 Russia 14024 Harmful foreign activities of the government, including activities that undermine the security and stability of the US and its allies Property of persons connected with such activities
2021 Ethiopia 14046 Humanitarian crisis connected with the Tigray War Property of and transactions with foreign persons contributing to the crisis
2021 Worldwide 14059 Global illicit trade in opioids and other drugs Property of foreign persons engaged in the trade
2022 Afghanistan 14064 Humanitarian crisis and claims involving victims of terrorist attacks Property of Da Afghanistan Bank


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Casey, Christopher A.; et al. (March 20, 2019). The International Emergency Economic Powers Act: Origins, Evolution, and Use (PDF). Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  2. ^ Peters, Gerhard; Woolley, John T. "Jimmy Carter: "Presidential War Powers Bill Statement on Signing H.R. 7738 Into Law.," December 28, 1977". The American Presidency Project. University of California – Santa Barbara.
  3. ^ 50 U.S. Code Chapter 35 – International Emergency Economic Powers| LII / Legal Information Institute. Retrieved on 2014-06-16.
  4. ^ 50 U.S.C. §1701(a)
  5. ^ 50 U.S.C. §1702(a)(1)(B)
  6. ^ 50 U.S.C. §1702(a)(1)(C)
  7. ^ H. Rep. No. 95-459, at 7 (1977) "[the TWEA] has become essentially an unlimited grant of authority for the President to exercise, at his discretion, broad powers in both the domestic and international economic arena, without congressional review. These powers may be exercised so long as there is an unterminated declaration of national emergency on the books, whether or not the situation with respect to which the emergency was declared bears any relationship to the situation with respect to which the President is using the authorities"
  8. ^ Executive Order 6102
  9. ^ Executive Proclamation 2914,
  10. ^ S. Rep. No. 93-549, at 2 (1973),
  11. ^ 50 U.S.C. §1701(a)
  12. ^ Executive Order 12170, 44 C.F.R. 65,729.
  13. ^ Executive Order 12978, 60 C.F.R. 54,579 (1995) (blocking the assets of certain Colombian narcotics traffickers).
  14. ^ Executive Order 13224, Sec. 1(a),
  15. ^ KindHearts v. Geithner, 647 F. Supp. 2d 857, 866, ND Ohio 2009,,14&as_vis=1
  16. ^ See e.g., id.
  17. ^ "Trump to hit Mexico with tariffs to halt migrants". BBC News. 2019-05-31. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  18. ^ Baker, Peter; Bradsher, Keith (2019-08-24). "Trump Asserts He Can Force U.S. Companies to Leave China". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  19. ^ Saha, Sagatom; Feng, Ashley (April 1, 2020). "Global Supply Chains, Economic Decoupling, and U.S.-China Relations, Part 1: The View from the United States". Jamestown Foundation. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  20. ^ KindHearts v. Geithner, supra
  21. ^ USDOJ: Office of the Pardon Attorney: Clemency Recipients. Retrieved on 2014-06-16.
  22. ^ Williams, Timothy; Rashbaum, William K. (2006-08-25). "New York Man Charged With Enabling Hezbollah Television Broadcasts". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  23. ^ "Credit Suisse Agrees to Forfeit $536 Million in Connection with Violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and New York State Law". 2009-12-16. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  24. ^ "UAE Company Admits to North Korean Sanctions Violations and Defrauding the U.S. Government, Agrees to Pay $665,000". US Department of Justice. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  25. ^ U.S. Treasury, Office of Foreign Asset Control, Sanctions Programs and Country Information

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]