Portman Introduces Legislation to Tighten Economic Embargo on North Korea and Its Enablers

July 13, 2017 | Press Releases

Legislation would also target top Chinese Importers of North Korean goods

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced bipartisan legislation today that would ban any entity that does business with North Korea or its enablers from using the United States financial system and to impose U.S. sanctions on all those participating in North Korean labor trafficking abuses. The legislation, titled the North Korean Enablers Accountability Act, is authored by Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and cosponsored by Portman and Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Marco Rubio (R-FL).

North Korea must be held accountable for its dangerous and destabilizing actions,” said Portman. “Whether it’s the regime’s illegal nuclear weapons program, its provocative ballistic missile tests, its human rights abuses against its own people, or its outrageous and unacceptable detention of Americans, it is time to impose meaningful costs on the North Korean government. The United States cannot do this alone, and other countries in the region, particularly China, also have an obligation to take real action against this threat to regional stability and our national security.”  

On July 4, North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that demonstrated the capability of reaching the U.S. homeland. Two weeks prior to that, North Korea tested a rocket engine capable of carrying an intercontinental ballistic missile. In 2016, North Korea conducted two nuclear tests and 24 ballistic missile launches. This year, North Korea fired 17 missiles during 11 tests.

What this legislation does:

  • Requires the President to block all transactions that are property of the North Korean government, affiliates, or those that do significant business with North Korea.
  • Requires the President to block any entity or financial institution implicated in any significant trade in goods or services with North Korea from the U.S. financial system. Entities include the top 10 Chinese importers of goods from North Korea.
  • Requires the President to prohibit any goods made with North Korean labor from entering the United States and to impose sanctions of all entities implicated in North Korean labor trafficking.