The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) administers economic sanctions and export controls regulations, which prohibit or restrict transactions and investment in countries with adverse foreign policies or persons taking actions contrary to US interests, including terrorist financing, narcotics trafficking and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. OFAC regulations may restrict imports and exports to blocked countries or entities and impose travel and other restrictions.
OFAC is the successor to the Office of Foreign Funds Control (`FFC), which was established at the advent of World War II following the German invasion of Norway in 1940. The FFC program was administered by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury throughout the war. The FFC’s initial purpose was to prevent Nazi use of the occupied countries’ holdings of foreign exchange and securities and to prevent forced repatriation of funds belonging to nationals of those countries. These controls were later extended to protect assets of other invaded countries. After the United States formally entered World War II, the FFC played a role in economic warfare against the Axis powers by blocking enemy assets and prohibiting foreign trade and financial transactions. OFAC itself was formally created in December 1950, following the entry of China into the Korean War, when President Truman declared a national emergency and blocked all Chinese and North Korean assets subject to U.S. jurisdiction.