Tougher sanctions against North Korea

Bern, 22.02.2017 - On 22 February 2017, the Federal Council once again tightened sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), thereby implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2321 (2016). The new provisions enter into force at 6pm on 22 February.

The UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 2321 (2016) on 30 November, reinforcing sanctions against North Korea in response to its fifth nuclear test, conducted on 9 September 2016, which violated all previous UNSC resolutions. The resolution includes imposing tougher sanctions on trade in goods, on finance, shipping, air transport and on education. By its decision of 22 February 2017, the Federal Council implements in Switzerland these measures that are binding under international law.

Financial sanctions now specify that North Korea’s diplomatic and consular representations in Switzerland as well as their diplomatic staff may hold only one bank account each. Any supernumerary accounts must be closed. Real estate owned or rented by North Korea may be expressly used only for diplomatic activities. Branches, subsidiaries and representations of Swiss banks may not be opened or operated in North Korea, and nor may Swiss bank accounts, unless they are used for humanitarian purposes, or for diplomatic or UN activities. Existing branches, subsidiaries, representations and bank accounts in North Korea must be closed by 31 March of this year. Any public or private financial support for trade with North Korea is prohibited.  

In terms of trade sanctions, additional goods have been added to the current export ban on luxury goods and on certain dual-use goods for the production of conventional weapons. The purchase of certain raw materials (copper, nickel, silver and zinc) and statues of all kinds from North Korea is prohibited, as is the delivery of new helicopters and ships to North Korea. A new global limit not exceeding approximately USD 400m or 7.5m tonnes per year now has been imposed on the export of coal originating in North Korea. Compliance with these limits is monitored by the UN.

Additional sanctions are being introduced to shipping and air transport, including a ban on the procurement of crew services in North Korea. The provision of insurance or reinsurance is prohibited for ships owned, controlled or operated by North Korea, with the exception of cases where the activities of the ship are for the sole purpose of transporting essential goods or humanitarian purposes.

Existing education sanctions will also be extended. North Korean students will no longer be admitted to higher education programmes in materials science, machinery or electronics in Switzerland. Switzerland will suspend scientific and technical cooperation with North Korea, with the exception of medical cooperation.

The UN Security Council had already imposed sanctions several years ago against North Korea in response to its nuclear programme. On 25 October 2006, the Federal Council adopted the Ordinance on Measures against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which has been tightened several times since then. With this ordinance, Switzerland is implementing UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016) and 2321 (2016).


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Last modification 28.01.2021

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