On November 06, 2019, the Swiss Government adopted selective adjustments to the Swiss sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, thereby implementing the exceptions to the export ban agreed by the UN SC Sanctions Committee. The amendment will come into force on 1 December 2019.
The US Departments of State, Treasury, and Homeland Security warned companies in a new advisory that deceptive practices by North Korea to evade US, UN, and other sanctions could put them at risk of prohibited or sanctionable dealings with the North Korean regime. The advisory published on July 24, 2018 follows February 2018 guidance from the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control regarding certain deceptive shipping practices of North Korea to avoid US sanctions (see our prior blog post here). The new advisory encourages companies to undertake enhanced due diligence within their supply chains to avoid prohibited or sanctionable: (i) sourcing of goods, services, or technology from North Korea and (ii) use of the labor of North Korean citizens or nationals, which is presumed to be forced labor, regardless of where such labor occurs.
As part of its continuing efforts to isolate North Korea from the world economy, on February 23, 2018, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced new sanctions measures targeting North Korea’s shipping industry and issued an advisory document entitled “North Korea Sanctions Advisory,” which highlights sanctions risks in the global shipping industry.
Today, taking effect at 6pm CET, the Swiss Federal Council further tightened sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), implementing UN Security Council Resolutions 2371 (2017) and 2375 (2017). As a consequence of the North Korean rocket tests on 3 and 28 July and the nuclear test on 2 September this year, in contravention of all previous UN Security Council Resolutions, on 5 August 2017 the UN Security Council issued Resolution 2371 (2017), closely followed by Resolution 2375 on 11 September 2017, 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 permits. The Swiss Federal Council’s decree of today, 18 October 2017, implements these measures, which are binding under international law, by amending the Swiss Ordinance on Measures against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea of 18 May 2016. Work permits 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 cooperatives, 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 2018 at the latest.