On Thursday, September 21, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order imposing new sanctions on North Korea designed to curb its nuclear weapons program. President Trump, along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, announced the sanctions at a United Nations luncheon.

The President said he had authorized the U.S. Department of Treasury to “target any individual or entity that conducts trade in goods, services or technology” with North Korea. The sanctions are also intended to disrupt shipping from North Korea by prohibiting aircraft and vessels that have been to North Korea within 180 days to call at a port or land in the United States.

The Executive Order also gives the Treasury Department broad authority to impose additional sanctions upon a wide variety of individuals and businesses which include, but are not limited to:

  • foreign financial institutions who knowingly conduct or facilitate significant transactions with North Korea;
  • anyone engaging in “at least one significant importation from or exportation to North Korea of any goods, services or technology”; and
  • persons or businesses operating within the North Korean construction, energy, financial services, fishing, information technology, manufacturing, medical, mining, textiles or transportation industries.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (“OFAC”) has already issued FAQ guidance related to the executive order as well as General License 10, which provides emergency-based exceptions allowing calls and landings within the U.S. by vessels and aircraft that have visited North Korea within the past 180 days, and a revised General License 3-A which authorizes U.S. financial institutions to debit blocked North Korean bank accounts for certain approved service charges. OFAC will likely use the authority it has been granted under the Executive Order within the very near future to begin naming the individuals, businesses and agencies described above to its Specially Designated Nationals (“SDN”) list or other sanctions lists.