Understanding North Korea sanctions: U.S. Sanctions Laws



U.N. Security Council sanctions resolutions

U.S. sanctions laws

  • Korea bill tracker on Congress.gov, to help you keep up with Korea-related legislation.
  • Iran, North Korea & Syria Nonproliferation Act, Pub. L. No. 106-178, Mar. 14, 2000 (codified at 50 U.S.C. 1701 note). Provides for very limited trade and other sanctions (such as debarment from U.S. government contracts) against persons designated for assisting North Korea’s WMD development.
  • North Korea Sanctions & Policy Enhancement Act of 2016, Pub. L. No. 114-122, 130 Stat. 93, Feb. 18, 2016 (codified at 22 U.S.C. Ch. 99). This is the only comprehensive, North Korea-specific sanctions law. For an FAQ about the NKSPEA, click here. Its key provisions:
    • Sec. 102 – mandatory investigations
    • Sec. 104 – persons and conduct subject to designation
    • Sec. 201 – urging the President to designate North Korea as a jurisdiction of primary money laundering concern, under section 311 of the Patriot Act. (On June 1, 2016, the Secretary of the Treasury designated North Korea as a jurisdiction of primary money laundering concern. On November 4, 2016, the Secretary issued a final rule prohibiting financial institutions operating in the United States from providing correspondent account services to North Korean financial institutions, effectively severing North Korea’s banks off from the global financial system.)
    • Sec. 202 – urging the President to improve diplomatic efforts to implement and enforce U.N. sanctions
    • Sec. 204 – denying government contracts to companies designated under section 104
    • Sec. 205 – providing for more intrusive inspections of cargo coming from ports that fail to inspect cargo to and from North Korea, as required by U.N. Security Council resolutions
    • Sec. 206 – denying entry to the United States by persons designated under section 104, and shareholders of companies designated under section 104
    • Sec. 208 – humanitarian and other exemptions and waivers
    • Secs. 209 & 210 – cybersecurity reporting and sanctions provisions
    • Sec. 301 – requiring the President to submit a plan to provide “unrestricted, unmonitored, and inexpensive electronic mass communications … to the people of North Korea”
    • Sec. 302 – Strategy to promote North Korean human rights.
    • Sec. 303 – report on North Korean prison camps.
    • Sec. 304 – report on, and sanctions for, serious human rights abuses or censorship
    • Sec. 401 & 402 – conditions for suspending and terminating sanctions, respectively

U.S. sanctions Executive Orders

U.S. sanctions regulations & general licenses

Other significant U.S. statutes

Third-country sanctions authorities