Trump Administration Threatens Unilateral Sanctions Against North Korea’s Trading Partners

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin announced Wednesday that the Trump Administration was considering sanctioning any country that continues trade with North Korea if the United Nations does not approve additional sanctions against the country. At an emergency UN meeting in the wake of an additional North Korean nuclear test over the weekend, the U.S. proposed stricter sanctions towards the country. Secretary Mnuchin stated that he had prepared an executive order unilaterally sanctioning North Korea should the UN measures fail. It is unclear what form unilateral U.S. sanctions would take, especially because putting sanctions on anybody that does trade with North Korea,” as the Secretary suggested, is likely too broad to be practical. The administration may be considering secondary sanctions similar to those that were threatened against non-U.S. companies that did certain types of business with Iran under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. It does, however, suggest that new U.S. sanctions against North Korea are fairly likely in the short term if the UN does not act.