Barr targets foreign banks doing business with North Korea in newly filed legislation

10/03/2017 10:44 AM

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr is hoping to impose heavy financial sanctions against North Korea, filing legislation that would target foreign banks that transact with any businesses in the communist country.

The Impeding North Korea’s Access to Finance Act of 2017 would also punish financial institutions that do business with North Korean laborers, zeroing in on an estimated $300 million in wages confiscated by the North Korean government, according to a news release from Barr’s office.

Barr’s legislation, if passed, would dovetail with executive actions by President Donald Trump last week, which imposed additional sanctions on North Korean banks and financial workers living abroad.

The actions come amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea over the isolated country’s nuclear ambitions.

In a statement, Barr criticized past efforts that combined foreign aid with “half-hearted sanctions” as “highly ineffective” in reining in North Korea.

“That is why I have introduced this legislation that would, if enacted, impose the most far-reaching financial sanctions ever aimed at North Korea,” said Barr, R-Lexington. “In addition to bringing about an economic reckoning for Pyongyang, these sanctions will strengthen the American negotiating position by sending a strong signal to North Korea and its enablers that the status quo is unacceptable.”

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