Among other objectives, OFAC’s North Korea sanctions are intended to stop the Government of North Korea from further developing its WMD programs by restricting its access to the international financial system and global supply chain. OFAC generally licenses non- governmental organizations (NGO) to provide services related to certain humanitarian activities. Such support may include providing items to the civilians of North Korea, to include but not limited to testing kits, respiratory devices, personal protective equipment, and medicine used in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery from COVID-19. OFAC authorizes limited transactions involving the Government of North Korea, including payment of reasonable fees, taxes and import duties, and purchase of permits, licenses, and bills related to public utility consumption. Partnerships, agreements, and most other working relationships between NGOs and the Government of North Korea that are necessary for the NGO to provide services to vulnerable populations located in North Korea are prohibited without a specific license.
General Licenses (GLs) and Specific Licensing: The following are GLs within the North Korea Sanctions Regulations (NKSR) related to humanitarian assistance and trade with North Korea. Separately, the exceptions below are also captured in title LXXI of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, titled the “Otto Warmbier North Korea Sanctions and Enforcement Act of 2019.”
• § 510.509 of the NKSR authorizes the provision and receipt of nonscheduled emergency medical services.
• § 510.511 of the NKSR authorizes noncommercial, personal remittances to or from North Korea up to a maximum of $5,000 per year.
• § 510.512 of the NKSR authorizes U.S. NGOs to export or reexport services to North Korea for humanitarian purposes, including:
o Projects to support basic human needs in North Korea, including the distribution of food, medicine, and clothing intended to be used to relieve human suffering; the provision of shelter; the provision of clean water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance; and the provision of health-related services;
o Activities to support non-commercial development projects to directly benefit the North Korean people, including preventing infectious diseases.
• § 510.514 of the NKSR authorizes official activities of the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies, Programmes, Funds, and Related Organizations by employees, contractors, or grantees.
• Additionally, there are no exemptions for persons designated pursuant to E.O. 13382, which includes, but is not limited to, North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank.
• Specific Licensing: For transactions not otherwise authorized by OFAC general licenses, OFAC considers specific license requests on a case-by-case basis and prioritizes license applications, compliance questions, and other requests related to humanitarian support for the North Korean people.