Yesterday Senator Cory Gardner introduced S.2144, entitled the “North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act.” (The official text of the proposed bill is not yet available at congress.gov but a discussion draft can be found here.)

Not surprisingly, the new bill seems mostly to be a feel-good exercise or a little Congressional chest-beating after not being able to sink the Iran deal.  Whether or not this bill has a chance of passage is difficult to predict.

The bill would do the following:

  • designate North Korea as a jurisdiction of primary money laundering concern;
  • instruct the President to come up with a plan to make U.N. members enforce U.N. sanctions against Korea;
  • require export licenses under section 6(j) of the (expired) Export Administration ACt for goods that contribute to North Korea’s military or terrorism capabilities;
  • enact an arms embargo against North Korea;
  • withhold foreign assistance from countries that supply lethal military equipment to North Korea;
  • prohibit federal procurement from persons engaging in certain activities with North Korea, such as exporting luxury goods;
  • increase customs inspections of goods transported through foreign ports that do not engage in adequate inspection activities to prevent exports of certain goods to North Korea; and
  • require the State Department to issue enhanced travel warnings regarding travel to North Korea.

Some of these provisions certainly seem unnecessary. Licenses are already required for all exports to North Korea other than food and medicine designated EAR99, and North Korea is already designated under section 6(j) as a country supporting international terrorism. Further, there is already an arms embargo in place against North Korea. I suppose these provisions might limit the ability of the White House to lift these sanctions but, frankly, it seems unlikely that this White House, or any White House in the foreseeable future is likely to start selling arms to the Norks or drop licensing requirements for other exports to them.