On May 27, 2016, the European Union (EU) announced the introduction of further restrictive measures against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) in the wake of missile tests undertaken by North Korea, in breach of United Nations resolutions forbidding the development of North Korea’s ballistics and nuclear program. North Korea’s actions in this regard are considered by the European Council to be “a grave threat to international peace and security in the region and beyond.”

The restrictive measures were published in Council Regulation (EU) 2016/841 on May 28, 2016, implementing Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/849, and include:

  • Prohibiting the supply, sale or transfer to North Korea of further items, materials and equipment relating to dual-use goods and technology.
  • Prohibiting transfers of funds to and from North Korea, unless for certain predefined purposes and authorized in advance.
  • Prohibiting all investment by North Korea and its nationals in the EU.
  • Pprohibiting investment by EU nationals or entities in North Korea’s mining, refining and chemical industries sectors.
  • Prohibiting any aircraft operated by North Korean carriers or originating from North Korea from landing in, taking off from, or overflying EU territory.
  • Prohibiting the entry into EU ports of any vessel that is owned, operated or crewed by North Korea.
  • Prohibiting the importation of luxury goods from North Korea, as well as prohibitions on the provision of financial support for trade with North Korea. A prior-contract exemption from the obligation to freeze the funds and economic resources of certain North Korean persons and entities is also introduced.

Last week’s additional sanctions follow the enhanced restrictive measures ushered in on March 31, 2016, when the EU implemented the UN’s wide-ranging sanctions on North Korea with the publication of Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/476 and Council Regulation (EU) 2016/682. Those measures included:

  • Sectorial prohibitions on the importation of gold titanium ore, vanadium ore, rare earth minerals, coal, iron and iron ore from North Korea.
  • Prohibitions on the sale or supply of aviation fuel.
  • Prohibitions on the sale or supply, prohibitions on maintenance of correspondent banking relationships and joint ventures with banks and entities with links to North Korea.
  • Making any cargo within or transiting through the EU, which is destined for, or originating in, North Korea, or is transported on North Korean-flagged vessels or aircrafts registered in North Korea, liable for inspection.

Finally, the EU has also updated its restrictive measures list, including on March 5, 2016, when 16 individuals and 12 entities were added, and then on May 19, 2016, when a further 18 individuals and one entity were added. To date, the EU’s sanctions list includes 66 individuals who are subject to restrictive measures, as well as 42 entities. These restrictions include asset freezes and travel bans.

It is important to bear in mind that all of the Regulations discussed above are directly applicable in all EU Member States and apply to EU nationals and companies (including companies which carry out business within the EU), and EU-flagged and registered aircrafts and vessels.