Tighter sanctions against North Korea

Bern, 18.05.2016 - On 18 May, the Federal Council decided to impose considerably tighter sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), thereby implementing Resolution 2270 (2016) of the UN Security Council. The new provisions come into force at 6pm on 18 May.

In response to the nuclear and missile testing carried out by North Korea on 6 January and 7 February, the UN Security Council issued Resolution 2270 (2016) on 2 March, thus significantly tightening existing sanctions against North Korea. The resolution covers more extensive restrictions on the trade in goods, financial transactions, maritime and air transport and in the education sector. With its decision of 18 May, the Federal Council is implementing these measures in Switzerland, thus complying with its obligations under international law. As a result of the numerous amendments required, the current ordinance will now be completely revised.

In the financial sector, financial sanctions (the freezing of assets and a ban on the provision of finances) now apply to a wider group of persons. All funds and economic resources connected with North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes have been blocked. This also applies, subject to one exception, to funds and economic resources owned or controlled by the government or the Korean Workers’ Party. The exception relates to funds required for the activities of diplomatic representations. Swiss banks are prohibited from opening branches, subsidiaries or agencies in North Korea, while existing branches and bank accounts in North Korea must be closed by 2 June. The same applies to branches of North Korean banks in Switzerland.

The ban on exports of luxury goods has been expanded to include additional products. Furthermore, all imports, exports and the transit of consignments of goods will now be checked by customs to ensure that they do not contain any prohibited products. The export and transit of goods bound for North Korea must be authorised in advance by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO. In a new move, the export of goods that increase the operational capabilities of the North Korean armed forces has been prohibited. Also prohibited are the sale and supply of certain aviation fuels. The purchase of certain raw materials (coal, iron, gold, certain types of ore and rare minerals) from North Korea is prohibited.

In the sectors for maritime and air transport, various restrictions have also been introduced. These include a ban on charter and leasing contracts with North Korea related to aircraft and ships. Take-off, landing and overflight rights for aircraft will not be granted if there is reason to suspect that planes may be carrying cargo in contravention of the provisions of the ordinance.

In the education sector, citizens of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will not be permitted to take certain courses in subjects such as higher physics, advanced computer simulation or nuclear engineering. Military, paramilitary and police training for instructors, consultants and government officials from North Korea is also prohibited.

The UN Security Council had already imposed sanctions on North Korea in response to the latter’s nuclear programme. On 25 October 2006, the Federal Council approved the Ordinance on Measures against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which has since been amended on several occasions so as to tighten sanctions. Switzerland has therefore already implemented resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013) and 2094 (2013) of the UN Security Council.

Address for enquiries

Fabian Maienfisch, Deputy Head of Communications, SECO, Tel. 058 462 40 20


The Federal Council

Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research