On September 1, 2020, the United States issued an advisory on North Korea’s ballistic missile procurement activities.  The advisory identifies key procurement entities and deceptive techniques used by North Korea's missile program.  It also provides an overview of various U.S. sanctions that can be imposed against entities and individuals involved in the DPRK’s proliferation activities, and lists North Korea-related sanctions enforcement resources.  The advisory contains annexes listing key items used in the North Korea’s ballistic missile program, as well as persons and entities currently subject to sanctions by the U.S. Government.

2020 North Korea Ballistic Missile Advisory

License Requirements

A license is required for the export or reexport to North Korea of all items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) other than food or medicine designated as EAR99, as described in Section 746.4 of the EAR.

License Exceptions

A license exception is a general authorization to export or reexport certain items without a license under stated conditions. Only the license exceptions, or portions thereof, listed in Section 746.4(c) of the EAR are available for North Korea. You may export or reexport to North Korea without an individual validated license if your transaction meets all the applicable terms and conditions of the available license exceptions. To determine the scope and eligibility requirements, you must review the sections or specific paragraphs of Part 740 of the EAR (License Exceptions). Read each license exception carefully, as the provisions available for sanctioned countries are generally narrow.

Licensing Policy

As described in Section 746.4(b) of the EAR, license applications for exports and reexports of items subject to the EAR are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, except as follows:

  • Humanitarian items intended for the benefit of the North Korean people; items in support of United Nations humanitarian efforts; and agricultural commodities or medical devices that are determined by the U.S. Government not to be luxury goods are subject to a general policy of approval.
  • Luxury goods; arms and related materiel; certain items that the United Nations has determined could contribute to North Korea's nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related or other weapons of mass destruction-related programs; and items controlled for Nuclear Proliferation (NP) and Missile Technology (MT) reasons, except items classified under Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 7A103; and certain additional items on the Commerce Control List (CCL) specified in Section 742.19(b) of the EAR are subject to a general policy of denial.

Item-specific Guidance


For the purpose of exports and reexports to North Korea, food is defined in Section 772 of the EAR as items that are consumed by and provide nutrition to humans and animals, and seeds, with the exception of castor bean seeds, that germinate into items that will be consumed by and provide nutrition to humans and animals. Examples of "food" include, but are not limited to, processed or unprocessed food items for human consumption, feed, livestock, vitamins, minerals, food additives, dietary supplements and bottled water. Food does not include cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, or gum.

Medicine and Medical Devices

A license is not required to export or reexport to North Korea medicine designated as EAR99. However, a license is required to export or reexport to North Korea medicine on the CCL, such as certain vaccines and immunotoxins, and medical devices that are subject to the EAR.

For purposes of the EAR, medicines include prescription and over the counter medicines for humans and animals. Medical devices include medical supplies, instruments, equipment, equipped ambulances, institutional washing machines for sterilization, and vehicles with medical testing equipment. Note that License Exception Servicing and Replacement of Parts and Equipment (RPL) is not available for North Korea. Therefore, an individual validated license is required to export or reexport to North Korea replacement parts and components that are subject to the EAR, including for use in medical devices.

Other U.S. Government Agencies

Please be aware that other U.S. Government agencies administer regulations that could also impact your export or reexport transaction. For example, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) maintains certain North Korea-related sanctions. Exporters and reexporters are responsible for complying with all applicable regulatory requirements.


For questions specific to North Korea, contact the Foreign Policy Division at 202-482-4252.

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