On April 10, 2020 the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published amendments of the Treasury-related provisions of the North Korea Sanctions Regulations as they relate to the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 (NKSPEA), as amended by the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY 2020 NDAA).
OFAC added NKSPEA section 201B that requires the Secretary of the Treasury, after conferring with the Secretary of State, to impose sanctions on any foreign financial institution (FFI) that knowingly provides significant financial services, on or after April 18, 2020, to any person designated under the NKSPEA, an Executive Order or the United Nations Security Council resolution. If the Secretary determines that an FFI should be sanctioned, he can block the transaction or prevent the opening or maintenance of correspondent or payable-through accounts in the US.
According to the new section 201C of the NKSPEA, the Secretary of the Treasury, after conferring with the Secretary of State, is required to block any transaction by a US Financial institution that operates outside of the US that directly or indirectly engages with the Government of North Korea or any person designated under the NKSPEA, an Executive order or the United Nations Security Council resolution. This includes blocking and correspondent or payable–through account sanctions in the NKSPEA, including the new section 201B, as amended by CAATSA and the FY 2020 NDAA.
OFAC also included certain statutory exemptions under NKSPEA and amended the definition of luxury goods at § 510.317 of the North Korea Sanctions Regulations to exclude items approved by the UN Security Council for import, export or re-export to North Korea. There were also other edits included to clarify interpretive provisions of existing regulations.