Sanctions on North Korea tightened

Bern, 18.10.2017 - On 18 October the Federal Council again tightened sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), implementing UN Security Council Resolutions 2371 (2017) and 2375 (2017). The new rules come into force at 6pm on 18 October.

As a consequence of the North Korean rocket tests on 3 and 28 July and the nuclear test on 2 September this year, which contravened all previous Security Council resolutions, on 5 August the UN Security Council issued Resolution 2371 (2017), closely followed by Resolution 2375 on 11 September, tightening considerably the sanctions already imposed on North Korea. The resolutions include additional sanctions on the trade in goods, on the financial sector and on work authorisations. The Federal Council’s decree of 18 October will lead to Switzerland implementing these measures, which are binding under international law.

Work authorisations may no longer be issued to citizens of North Korea, with the exception of permits issued under employment contracts concluded before 11 September 2017.

In the financial sector, joint ventures and cooperative entities, both ongoing and new, with North Korean individuals or companies are no longer permitted. Existing joint ventures and cooperatives must be discontinued by 9 January at the latest.

In clarification of previous sanctions, it is now specified that financial transactions with Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank and the Korea National Insurance Corporation are permitted as long as they are solely for the operation of diplomatic or consular missions or for humanitarian activities.

The bans already imposed on the trade in goods have been extended. Condensates, natural gas liquids and refined petroleum products may no longer be sold or exported to North Korea, although up to 2 million barrels of refined petroleum products may be imported by North Korea annually. The UN will ensure that this cap is respected. Annually permitted crude oil import volumes have been frozen at the level of the previous twelve months. North Korea is now banned from supplying, selling, importing or transiting through its territory lead and lead ore, textiles, fish and seafood. The exemption that previously applied to coal imports from North Korean has now been removed. There will continue to be strict monitoring of bans on the transport of certain goods, with customs authorities physically checking all shipments to and from North Korea.

In shipping, the handling of goods bound for or coming from North Korea, or from ship to ship with a North Korean vessel, and affording any form of assistance to such a vessel is now prohibited.

The UN Security Council first imposed sanctions on North Korea several years ago in response to the country’s nuclear programme. On 25 October 2006, the Federal Council adopted the Ordinance on Measures against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which has been tightened several times since then, thereby implementing UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016) and 2321 (2016).


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