On 18 October 2017, taking effect at 6pm CET, the Swiss Federal Council further tightened sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), implementing UN Security Council Resolutions 2371 (2017) and 2375 (2017). As a consequence of the North Korean rocket tests on 3 and 28 July and the nuclear test on 2 September this year, in contravention of all previous UN Security Council Resolutions, on 5 August 2017 the UN Security Council issued Resolution 2371 (2017), closely followed by Resolution 2375 on 11 September 2017, tightening considerably the sanctions already imposed on North Korea. The resolutions include additional sanctions on the trade in goods, on the financial sector and on work permits. The Swiss Federal Council’s decree of 18 October 2017, implements these measures, which are binding under international law, by amending the Swiss Ordinance on Measures against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea of 18 May 2016. Work permits may no longer be issued to citizens of North Korea, with the exception of permits issued under employment contracts concluded before 11 September 2017. In the financial sector, joint ventures and cooperatives, both ongoing and new, with North Korean individuals or companies are no longer permitted. Existing joint ventures and cooperatives must be discontinued by 9 January 2018 at the latest.
In clarifying previous sanctions, it is now specified that financial transactions with Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank and the Korea National Insurance Corporation are permitted as long as they are solely for the operation of diplomatic or consular missions or for humanitarian activities. The bans already imposed on the trade in goods have been extended. Condensates, natural gas liquids and refined petroleum products may no longer be sold or exported to North Korea, although up to two million barrels of refined petroleum products may be imported by North Korea annually. Annually permitted crude oil import volumes have been frozen at the level of the previous twelve months. North Korea is banned from supplying, selling, importing or transiting through its territory lead and lead ore, textiles, fish and seafood. The exemption that previously applied to coal imports from North Korea has been removed. There will continue to be strict monitoring of bans on the transport of certain goods, with customs authorities physically checking all shipments to and from North Korea. In shipping, the handling of goods bound for or coming from North Korea, or from ship to ship with a North Korean vessel, and affording any form of assistance to such a vessel, are now prohibited.