According to a press release from the Council of the EU, the EU has adopted further new restrictions on fund transfers, trade, investment and transport relating to the DPRK. These are significant changes, to the extent the controls on transfers to/from DPRK are drafted as broadly as they previously were for Iran. The Council states the relevant legislation will be published tomorrow; this will include the decision (binding on EU Member States), and will likely also include the regulation (“Regulation“) (binding on private parties).

The public announcement provides for the following new measures:

1. Financial controls – the EU appears to be introducing a ban on:

  • The transfer of funds to and from the DPRK unless for “certain predefined purposes or authorised in advance“. We have only seen such a broad restriction on funds transfers in respect of Iran prior to the entry into force of the JCPOA. If the Regulation ultimately provides for such broad funds transfer controls, then it is likely that any transfer to or from the DPRK over a de minimis level will need prior authorisation or at a minimum prior notification from the relevant authorities (depending on the specific value of the transfer). This would likely also capture back to back transactions or de minimis transactions flowing from a single legal obligation.
  • Any public financial support for trade with the DPRK.
  • All investment by the DPRK in the EU.
  • Investment by EU nationals or entities in the mining, refining and chemical industries sectors as well as in any entities engaged in the DPRK’s illegal programmes.

2. Product controls – the press release suggests that the EU is introducing:

  • A prohibition on the import of luxury goods from the DPRK, as well as of petroleum products.
  • A prohibition of the supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK of additional items, materials, equipment relating to dual-use goods and technology.

3. Other controls – the EU appears to also prohibit:

  • Any aircraft operated by DPRK carriers or originating from the DPRK from landing in, taking off or overflying EU territory.
  • Any vessel owned, operated or crewed by the DPRK from entering EU ports.