Guidance

Trade sanctions on North Korea

North Korea (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea) is subject to an arms embargo, transit control and other restrictions.

This guidance will continue to apply until 31 December 2020. Read more information on the transition period.

There are a number of restrictive measures imposed against North Korea. The measures include those imposed by UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017), 2397 (2017) as well as those by the European Union. They are included in EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/849 and Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509.

Arms embargo

It is prohibited to export, sell, supply or transfer military goods and technology to North Korea, or to other destinations where they are ultimately for use in North Korea. You should also be aware there are prohibitions if you are providing related technical assistance, financing and financial assistance, and brokering services. It is also prohibited to procure these items and associated services from North Korea, whether or not they originate in North Korea.

Dual-use items

It is prohibited to export, sell, supply or transfer dual-use goods and technology to North Korea, or to other destinations where they are ultimately for use in North Korea. You should also be aware there are prohibitions if you are providing related technical assistance, financing and financial assistance, and brokering services.

It is also prohibited to procure these items and associated services from North Korea, whether or not they originate in North Korea.

It is prohibited to export, sell, supply or transfer items which could contribute to North Korea’s nuclear-related, ballistic-missile-related or other weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programmes as listed in Parts II to IX of Annex II of Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 to North Korea, or to other destinations where they are ultimately for use in North Korea.

It is also prohibited to procure these items and associated services from North Korea, whether or not they originate in North Korea.

Items destined for the military

It is prohibited to export, sell, supply or transfer any items other than food or medicine to North Korea or to or to other destinations where they are ultimately for use in North Korea, if they are destined for North Korea’s armed forces, or if exporting the item could support the capabilities of another state.

It is also prohibited to import, purchase or transport the above items from North Korea.

Gold, precious metals and diamonds

It is prohibited to export, sell, supply or transfer gold, precious metals and diamonds to the North Korean Government or related bodies. You should also be aware there are prohibitions if you are providing related technical assistance, financing and financial assistance, and brokering services to the North Korean Government or related bodies.

It is also prohibited to import, purchase or transport the above items from the North Korean Government or related bodies, whether or not they originate in North Korea.

Banknotes and coinage

It is prohibited to export, sell, supply or transfer newly printed or unissued North Korean denominated banknotes and minted coinage to or for the benefit of North Korea’s central bank.

North Korea is subject to a range of other sanctions measures relating to goods.

It is prohibited to export, sell, supply or transfer the following goods to North Korea, or to other destinations where they are ultimately for use in North Korea:

  • aviation fuel
  • luxury goods
  • helicopters and vessels
  • condensates and natural gas liquids
  • refined petroleum products
  • industrial machinery
  • transportation vehicles
  • iron, steel and other metals

It is prohibited to import, purchase or transfer the following goods from North Korea, whether or not they originate in North Korea:

  • gold, titanium ore, vanadium ore and rare-earth minerals
  • coal, iron and iron ore
  • petroleum products
  • copper, nickel, silver and zinc
  • luxury goods
  • statues
  • seafood
  • lead and lead ore
  • textiles
  • food and agricultural products
  • machinery and electrical equipment
  • earth and stone
  • wood
  • vessels

Services

It is prohibited to provide services incidental to mining or to manufacturing in the chemical, mining and refining industry, as well as computer and related services to any person in North Korea or to other persons if the services are for use in North Korea.

Exceptions

Exceptions and licences may be available regarding the above measures. These are set out in Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 and Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/849.

Transit control

Military items transiting the UK are still regarded as being exported when they leave the country and are therefore subject to control. Article 17 of the Export Control Order 2008 includes a transit and transhipment exception meaning that in many situations a licence is not required. This exception does not apply to goods destined for North Korea, meaning that a licence is required to transit goods through the UK or to tranship them in the UK with a view to re-exportation to North Korea.

Import restrictions

Contact the Import Licensing Branch for guidance on import licensing.

Financial sanctions

For information on any relevant financial sanctions, contact the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation.

Apply for an export licence through the  online export licensing system  managed by the  Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU).

ECJU contact details

Helpline

Contact the helpline for general queries about strategic export licensing.

Export Control Joint Unit
2nd floor 
3 Whitehall Place
London
SW1A 2AW

Email: exportcontrol.help@trade.gov.uk

Telephone: 020 7215 4594

Notices to exporters

Notices to exporters  from the ECJU contain important information about:

  • amendments to open general export licences
  • changes to the list of controlled goods
  • updates on legislation and sanctions

Sign up to receive  email alerts to notices to exporters.

Published 23 August 2012
Last updated 4 June 2013 + show all updates
  1. Included links to financial sanctions content on GOV.UK

  2. First published.