Regulatory intelligence for US exporters

OFAC Modifies, Adds New General Licenses for North Korea Sanctions

The Office of Foreign Assets Control is modifying its North Korea sanctions regulations to amend a general license for humanitarian activities carried out by non-governmental organizations in North Korea. The agency also is adding three new general licenses for Commerce Department-authorized transactions, agricultural and medical goods, and some journalistic activities, it said.

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The final rule, which takes effect Feb. 16, broadens the activities authorized by the NGO general license to include educational activities and activities to support disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programs, and peacebuilding, conflict prevention and conflict resolution programs, OFAC said in a new FAQ. The license allows “transactions with certain Government of North Korea entities that are necessary for the provision of services” allowed under the general license, OFAC said.

OFAC is adding a requirement that NGOs relying on the general license must submit a report to the State Department at least 30 days before the activity. That report must say that the U.N. Security Council has either approved or been notified of the activity, or that no notification or approval is required. State may notify the NGO within two weeks of the report that the activity isn’t authorized.

Of the new general licenses, one authorizes exports or reexports to North Korea where the transaction has been licensed or otherwise authorized by Commerce under the Export Administration Regulations. That new general license removes a "dual licensing burden," as a specific license from OFAC is no longer required "to engage in transactions ordinarily incident to exports and reexports that are already licensed or otherwise authorized by" Commerce, OFAC said in the FAQ.

Another new general license allows “provision of certain agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices” that aren’t subject to the EAR, and the third “authorizes U.S. news reporting organizations and their employees to engage in certain journalistic activities in North Korea.”

OFAC added several additional FAQs, including one on the NGO general license amendments and another on the associated reporting requirement. Another FAQ clarifies that tobacco or other luxury goods can't be authorized under the new license for agricultural commodities, medicine and medical devices. OFAC also modified existing FAQs on the effect of Commerce licensing, NGO assistance and journalistic activities in North Korea.