We investigate the impact of US economic sanctions on EU's trade using a panel data approach expressed in a two-level framework. Both multilateral and unilateral sanctions involving the US and the EU have a negative impact on EU trade (total, imports and exports). We argue that unilateral sanctions, if extensive in nature, would have a depressing impact on target countries' trade, especially in the stage after sanctions have been imposed. Over time, both multilateral and unilateral sanctions lead to an increase in a target country's exports to the EU, lending support to the third-country effect of sanctions. Copyright 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.