On March 16, the President issued an Executive Order broadening sanctions in response to North Korea’s continuing pursuit of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The order blocks the Government of North Korea and the Workers’ Party of Korea; prohibits the exportation of goods, technology and services (including financial services) to North Korea from the United States; prohibits new investment in North Korea by U.S. persons; and establishes nine new criteria for designation as a blocked person. One provision authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to identify sectors of the North Korean economy to target for asset blocking sanctions. Under this authority, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew determined that persons in the transportation, mining, energy, or financial services sectors of North Korea can be targeted.

Simultaneously, OFAC designated 17 officials or organizations of the Government of North Korea as SDNs, meaning that all of these persons’ property or interests in property in the United States or the possession or control of a U.S. person are blocked. OFAC also identified 20 vessels as blocked.

Finally, OFAC issued nine general licenses permitting certain activities involving North Korea that would otherwise be prohibited by the new Executive Order. These general licenses authorize, among other activities, noncommercial, personal remittances on behalf of individuals normally resident in North Korea; third-country consular funds transfers and transactions related to intellectual property; and support of non-governmental organizations and telecommunications and mail.