Economy, trade and business
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Articles on current developments, compiled by Tim Beal.
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US Dollars for Kaesong Workers Used for Necessities
By Lee Jin-woo
The Unification Ministry claimed Tuesday that most of the U.S. dollars paid in wages to North Korean workers in an inter-Korean industrial complex in Kaesong have been used to provide daily necessities for the workers, not to benefit the Norths regime or its nuclear and other weapons programs.
This is the first time the ministry has officially rebuffed criticism from conservative groups and the Bush administration that the money had been used to finance the Stalinist states weapons programs, with substantial information.
The ministry said the impoverished North pays its workers in Kaesong not with the greenback, but in its own currency, after the North Korean authorities first take the U.S. dollars from South Korean firms, citing the strict regulations on foreign currency.
The confirmation was based on a statement and documents from a Korean-Australian businessman, Song Young-dung. Song, 66, head of Australia-based Lobana Trading, established a joint trading company in January 2005 with the communist state in Kaesong.
He said his company has imported some 120 basic necessities, mostly food products, and distributed through 10 different retail stores in the city.
[Diversion] [Disinformation] [Friction] [Sanctions]
Trans-Asia Railway to Get Shot in the Arm
The Trans-Asian Railway Network will have four sections under the first agreement pinning down a project four decades in the making. It will be divided into a Northern Corridor, Southern Corridor, Indo-China and ASEAN Corridor, and the North-South Corridor. The northern route spans the Korean Peninsula, Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan while the southern corridor runs from southern China via Burma, India, Iran to Turkey.
Most Firms Want Business Projects With North on Track
By Park Hyong-ki
More than 70 percent of South Korean firms did not want inter-Korean economic projects such as the Mt. Kumgang tour to be discontinued because of North Koreas nuclear threat, according to a survey by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).
The survey of 200 South Korean big and small firms by the business interest group reported that 88 percent called for the continuous operation of the Kaesong Industrial Complex plant, while 12 percent advocated halting it.
North Korea Is 'Hungry for Business'
North Korea's Newest Profession, Despite Daunting Obstacles: Foreign Entrepreneur
By JOE McDONALD AP Business Writer
BEIJING Nov 5, 2006 (AP) In the midst of tensions over North Korea's nuclear program, a Western company is there searching for oil. Another just bought a bank.
"North Korea is hungry for business," said Roger Barrett, the British founder of Beijing-based Korea Business Consultants, who recently took 11 Asian and European clients to Pyongyang to play golf and make contacts.
A small group of Westerners are taking on the challenge of doing business in the isolated North, hoping to get in on the ground floor as its communist rulers experiment with economic reform.
[Economic reforms] [Opening]
Pyongyang Calm After Nuclear Test
'Business as usual' may be best approach for now
Markku Heiskanen (internews)
Published 2006-10-30 16:34 (KST)
Eight days after North Korea's nuclear test I traveled by North Korea's Air Koryo Ilyushin plane from Beijing to Pyongyang. I was accompanied on board by a film crew of ABC News, who were to spend two weeks in North Korea.
We were received by friendly smiling officials and our hosts at Sunan Airport, and after swift passport and customs formalities we proceeded by Japanese-made cars towards our hotel in downtown Pyongyang.
Neither at the airport nor on the way to our hotel did we see a single soldier. We saw only people like in any part of the world going about their daily duties, healthy looking and well dressed.
If you did not know that you had arrived in the capital of the newest nuclear power in the world and in the center of an extremely dangerous international crisis, you could be anywhere in Asia.
In Pyongyang, the ABC News team and our delegation of the Finland-Northeast Asia Trade Association went about our activities on a business as usual basis. During our four-day visit in and around Pyongyang, we did not see a single armed soldier, with the exception of armed guards in front of public buildings.
Economy Shows Resilience to NK Challenge
South Korea Needs Free Trade Agreements in Order of US, EU, Japan, China
Minister of Commerce, Industry and Energy Chung Sye-kyun, right, speaks at the conference organized by The Korea Times on foreign investment at the ministry in Kwachon, Tuesday. Counter-clockwise at the roundtable, from Minister Chung, are Indiana University Prof. Alan Rugman; Dr. Jung Ku-hyun, president of the Samsung Economic Research Institute; Hanyang University Prof. Han Chung-min; the Foreign Investment Planning Officer Moon Jae-do; Korea Times reporter Kim Yon-se and Times Economic Editor Oh Young-jin. /Korea Times Photo by Shim Hyun-chul
Times: China and India offer bigger markets and bigger potentials. How can Korea stay attractive to foreign investors?
Rugman: Well, in my talk tomorrow at the symposium I will analyze this. What I've found is that China indeed attracts a lot of foreign direct investment and this is explained by one thing: cheap labor. So most of the manufacturing in the world is going to China, including Samsung Electronics and some others from Korea, because the country factor beats all other countries.
[China competition] [FDI]
Stocks, Won Rise on North's Return to Talks
By Seo Jee-yeon
A foreign exchange dealer looks at a monitor showing a won-dollar rate chart at the dealing room of Korea Exchange Bank in downtown Seoul, Wednesday. The rate dropped below 940 won to the dollar for the first time in about six months. /Korea Times
Seoul shares and the won closed higher on the news North Korea agreed to return to the six-nation disarmament talks, analysts said.
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Nuclear Crisis Could Lower Growth to Below 2% in 2007
By Na Jeong-ju
South Korea's economic growth for next year may drop to below 2 percent in the worst-case scenario involving a confrontation between North Korea and the international community, a private research institute said yesterday.
Global Winemakers Make Beeline for Korea
The global wine industry is pricking up its ears at the explosive growth of the Korean wine market. The Korean wine market has grown 17 percent from W280 billion (US$1=W947) last year to up to W380 billion this year, the fastest in the world. Korea is now Asia's second largest wine market after Japan.
Ministries of Electric Power Industry and Coal Industry Set Up
Pyongyang, October 27 (KCNA) -- The Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK on Oct. 26 issued a decree on removing the Ministry of Electric Power and Coal Industries and setting up the Ministry of Electric Power Industry and the Ministry of Coal Industry.
Kim's Visit to Kaesong
Not Relevant Act for Ruling Party Head to Take
Rep. Kim Geun-tae, chairman of the ruling Uri Party, carried out his planned visit to an inter-Korean industrial complex in the North Korean city of Kaesong yesterday in defiance of opposition even from his own party. It is seen as the wrong trip at the wrong time and a regrettable and irresponsible act for the head of the governing party. Many people including Uri Party members doubt the controversial visit will help in solving the current crisis touched off by Pyongyang's test of nuclear weapon.
[Friction] [Sovereignty] [Pro-Americanism]
Seoul 'to Continue' Inter-Korean Projects
The government has apparently decided to continue with two big inter-Korean business projects even if the UN Security Council adopts a resolution sanctioning North Korea over its purported nuclear test earlier this week, it emerged Wednesday. After reviewing the draft resolution, government officials concluded that it was not necessary to stop the Kaesong joint industrial complex and package tours to the North's Mt.Kumgang.
The two inter-Korean projects are a major cash cow for Pyongyang, and there are fears that continuing them would take much of the sting out of any UN sanctions.
But a government official here said the Security Council was likely to ban the transfer of money, goods and technology related to the development of weapons of mass destruction, but the two inter-Korean projects had nothing to do with WMDs
Seoul, U.S. on Collision Course Over Inter-Korean projects
South Korea and the U.S. look set for a clash over the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex and tourism to Mt. Kumgang in the North. President Roh Moo-hyun and the government have stressed the importance of joining hands with the international community in addressing Pyongyang's nuclear test claim, but they add the industrial park in the North and the package tours have nothing to do with UN sanctions against Pyongyang. They reportedly made that decision on Wednesday, even before the UN Security Council was done deliberating a U.S. draft resolution that would cut off all financing that could go into the North's weapons development. The draft would stop transfer of all kinds of assets, money, goods and technology related to North Korea's weapons of mass destruction.
At Kaesong it's business as usual after nuke test
October 10, 2006 ?
? Hyundai Asan Corp. workers were busy yesterday. The firm runs tours to Mount Kumgang in the North. By Shin In-seop
After an announced North Korean nuclear test yesterday, the business community responded with equal parts panic and calm.
It was business as usual at the Kaesong Industrial Complex north of the border yesterday. We have received news about the nuclear bomb testing, but the situation at the Kaesong Industrial Complex is no different than any other day, said Yeon Yeong-hwan, who heads the Woori Bank branch at the site. Since the industrial complex by nature is different from the Mount Kumgang tour, there is no concern that business will stop, Mr. Yeon added.
ShinWon Corp., which manufactures clothing at the complex, said the company's workers in Kaesong didn't know the test had happened until a call arrived from company headquarters in Seoul. We're still keeping information up-to-date through our calls to Kaesong, but there has been no unusual movement from North Korea yet, an employee at ShinWon said.
Kaesong is one of two major economic cooperation plans underway between North and South. The other is the Mount Kumgang tour managed by Hyundai Asan Corp., a North Korean business arm of Hyundai Group.
After an emergency meeting the South Korean company said it has decided to continue the tours as usual, since there is no indication of danger to tourists from South Korea and the government in the South has not yet issued any orders. Six tourists who feared for their personal safety cancelled their trips yesterday, but about 1,000 went ahead with the tour.
Foreign Business Community Shocked
By Park Hyong-ki
Foreign businesspeople here expressed ``shock and concern'' over a North Korean nuclear test yesterday.
Michael Breen, head of a public relations agency Insight Communications in Seoul said that the test was discomforting and raised serious issues for foreign investors staying and operating in South Korea.
``There is a huge risk that this situation could get unpleasant,'' Breen told The Korea Times. ``This creates a big worry (among foreign investors). Any investor putting money into the country assesses the regional risk of crime, politics, natural disaster, regulations, state policy and so forth. The move by the North increases the uncertainty and political risks on the Korean peninsula.''
Meanwhile, other investors here say that the public needs to wait and see how the United States responds to North Korea's nuclear crisis.
Queries on fate of Kumgang, Kaesong
October 09, 2006 ? The administration's handling of the North Korean nuclear threat appears to be making the Grand National Party indignant and the Uri Party concerned. The GNP pointed to the Blue House's insistence on a soft-line approach, especially to the Mount Kumgang tour programs and the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
After a party meeting yesterday, Kang Jae-sup, the Grand Nationals' chairman, urged the Roh Moo-hyun administration to stop both projects immediately. The party's secretary general, Hwang Woo-yea, added, "The South Korean government should think about sanctions step-by-step against North Korea." He said Pyongyang could use cash and supplies from the South for its military.
N.Korea Bombshell Rattles S.Korean Businesses
When North Korea just before the Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving holiday announced it will conduct a nuclear test in the future, it sent shockwaves through businesses here. The threat increases South Korea's geopolitical risk, which in turn sends the costs for Korean firms internationally through the roof. Already firms are suffering from a dearth of domestic and foreign direct investment. The Hyundai Group, for one, fears that its major North Korea projects -- the sale of units in the joint-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex and package tours to North Korea's Mt. Kumgang -- will come to a complete stop. On Sunday, executives with big corporations were busy revising emergency measures in case North Korea carries out its nuclear threat.
North Korea: Workers Rights
at the Kaesong Industrial Complex
Human Rights Watch, USA
Working conditions at the KIC have been a subject of debate. Jay Lefkowitz, the United States special envoy on human rights in North Korea, has raised concerns about possible worker exploitation at the KIC, particularly the low salaries and their indirect payment.3 South Koreas Ministry of Unification (in charge of North Korea relations, including joint projects such as the KIC) responded by saying that the North Korean workers at the KIC are paid better than elsewhere in the country and that their labor conditions meet international standards. The Ministry also noted that South Korea is making technical preparations for direct payment for northern workers, as required under the inter-Korean agreement on the KIC.4
The First Products were Shipped from the Main Complex of the GIC
(September 29, 2006)
i061002.pdf , i061002.doc
Source: Kaesong Industrial District Management Committee
The first products were shipped from the main complex of the Gaeseong Industrial Complex (GIC) on September 29, 2006. For the first time as an enterprise of the main complex of the GIC, Gaeseong Cotton Club, Inc. took out 40,000 pieces of underwear, worth about 2 hundred million won at 3:30 pm on September 29, 2006.
* The factory of Gaeseong Cotton Club, Inc. began to be constructed on February 21, 2006 and completed on August 20, 2006, and it produces underwear.
"Technical training for workers began at the end of this August and prototypes were produced from the beginning of September, and after that products were manufactured. The quality of the products is better than that produced in China. Also, North Korean workers are faithful and have a strong sense of responsibility. Most of all, we are really convenient to instruct them because there is no language barriers," said Jeong Soosun, the head of the enterprise.
Currently, among enterprises that entered the main complex first, ten excluding Gaeseong Cotton Club, Inc. are constructing their factories, and eight factories more are planned to be operated by this years end. //THE END//
Showcase for Economic Development of DPRK
Pyongyang, October 2 (KCNA) -- Exhibits of the Korean companies were highly appreciated at the Second Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair. Catching the eyes of specialists and visitors were major ferrous metal products including the rolled steel and the second- and third-stage processing metal products exhibited by the Songgang Trade Company.
The Ryonha Machine Trade Company exhibited a NC machine tool.
The company has made NC machine tools by itself with its own technology, design and material and is exporting them to various countries and regions, So Kyong Thae, vice-director of the company said.
Drawing the attention of women were various shapes of hard glass vessels, foodstuffs, cosmetics, seasonal shoes and clothes displayed by various units under the Light Industry Trade Company.
Taephung International Investment Group Founded
Pyongyang, September 29 (KCNA) -- Talks took place here between the Korean Committee for the Promotion of Economic Cooperation with Foreign Countries and the delegation of the Taephung International Investment on Sept. 27. The talks resulted in the foundation of the Taephung International Investment Group involving the above-said committee and investors of different countries.
The group will open its coordinating office in Pyongyang and undertake businesses for the inducement of investments and its realization in cooperation with interested investors and international banking organs.
National Forum Held on Protection of Intellectual Property
A national forum on intellectual property was held at the People's Palace of Culture on Sept. 13 and 14. Present there were leading officials of the DPRK Invention Office and officials in the field of invention and a delegation of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) headed by Gao Hang, deputy dean of the WIPO Worldwide Academy.
Korea to Combat Capital Flight
The government is seeking to prevent massive capital flight led by U.K. and U.S. investors. In all, US$9.264 billion foreign investors had in stocks, bonds and dividends here left the country between the beginning of this year and Aug. 11, the most since the stock market was opened to foreign investors in 1992.
This is especially worrisome as the foreign funds are fleeing the country for good without re-investing here after they sell stocks and deposit the profits in domestic banks. Korea experienced a net outflow of $830 million in foreign capital in 2002 and $2.43 million in 2005, but this year the situation is precarious.
The government will reportedly give its reading of the North Korean nuclear problem and other negative factors foreign investors consider the greatest risk to putting their money into the nation.
Steady Series of N.Korean Ships Passes Jeju Strait
N.K. Ships Allowed Through Jeju Strait
North Korean ships have passed through the Jeju Strait in South Korean waters 114 times over the last year, according to data handed by the Joint Chief of Staffs to Grand National Party lawmaker Song Young-sun on Friday.
Seoul allowed North Korean ships to pass through the Jeju Strait from Aug. 15 last year. According to the report, the move has cut 53 nautical miles, W390,000 (US$1=W946) in fuel cost and some five hours per trip for North Korean ships commuting from Nampo or Cheongjin to Wonsan. North Korean vessels shipped a total of 384,688 tons of rice, iron ore, coal, salt, sugar, stone coal, gasoline, diesel oil and zinc.
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Strong exports can't balance Korea's accounts
September 28, 2006 ? Korea posted its largest current account deficit in four months in August because of its oil bill, royalty payments abroad and wanderlust.
A growing number of economists here say they are concerned that an expected slowdown in exports next year, coupled with a continued Korean appetite for foreign climes and studies, could put a permanent dent in the nation's current account balance.
The deficit in August was $508.1 million, up from the $392.7-million shortfall in June and from September 2005's $486.5 million in red ink, the Bank of Korea said yesterday. In April, Korea saw its largest current deficit of the year, $1.6 billion, for which annual stock dividend payments to foreign investors was largely blamed.
The trade account, which measures exports and imports of goods, remained healthily in the black with a surplus of $1.57 billion. The surplus was $1.61 billion in July.
But the services account, which includes payments for travel, transportation and royalties and is usually in deficit, showed a record monthly deficit of $2.09 billion in August. The previous record outflow was $1.82 billion in August 2005.
Joint Venture Firm Launched in Kaesong
An inter-Korean joint venture firm was launched for the first time in the North Korean border town of Kaesong yesterday, the South Korean investor in the project said.
The "Arirang-Taerim joint venture stone company" was established with half of the investment provided by South Korea's granite processing firm Taerim industrial and the other half by the North's Kaeson general trading, according to the Yonhap News Agency.
A ceremony to mark the completion of the new company's factory was held with some 300 government officials and businessmen from the two Koreas in attendance.
The factory is located outside of the Kaesong industrial complex where 13 South Korean manufacturers operate under the protection of a special law ensuring their investment.
Since it agreed on the joint venture with the North in April, Taerim has invested some $2.95 million for the construction project.
Taerim said the factory will process granite and marble stones collected from North Korean mountains using cheap labor.
With a floor space of 3,300 square meters, the factory will have the capacity to produce some 80,000 tons of stone products annually, it added.
Second Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair Opens
Pyongyang, September 25 (KCNA) -- An opening ceremony of the Second Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair was held at the Three Revolution Exhibition on Monday. Present at the ceremony were Vice-Premier of the Cabinet Ro Tu Chol, Minister of Foreign Trade Rim Kyong Man, officials concerned, delegations and delegates of the DPRK, foreign countries and regions, foreign diplomatic envoys and staff members of foreign embassies.
Jo Jong Ho, vice-minister of Foreign Trade, made a congratulatory speech at the ceremony.
S-N Economic Talks Unlikely to Resume
A new round of economic talks, the only official channel of dialogue active between the governments of the two Koreas, is unlikely to open this month amid the standoff over North Korea's missile launches and nuclear weapons program, the Yonhap News Agency reported yesterday.
In the latest round of meetings on Cheju Island in June, the two sides agreed on Seoul's conditional assistance for Pyongyang's light industries and the resumption of talks in Pyongyang this month.
DPRK Energy Experts Working Group Meeting
June 26th and 27th
San Francisco, CA
Co-hosted by the Preventive Defense Project at Stanford University and the Center for the Pacific Rim at University of San Francisco.
Meeting funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and Korea Energy Economics Institute.
The New Land, Ploughshares, and MacArthur Foundations supported related work that feeds into this workshop.
[Background] [Datasets] [Papers] [Participants] [Agenda] [Related Materials] [Pictures]
The energy sector is a critical dimension of the insecurities posed by the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (hereafter the DPRK) within the Northeast Asia region and beyond. If the Republic of Korea (ROK), the United States, and their partners manage to negotiate a non-violent resolution to North Koreas nuclear challenge, then energy will form a substantial fraction of the on-going negotiation and implementation agenda, both in bilateral relations between the ROK, the United States, and the DPRK, and in multilateral arrangements made to address the DPRKs energy needs.
Korea Forge Steel Alliance With Japan
By Park Hyong-ki, Oh Young-jin
Korean steel makers are looking inward and outward to survive the cutthroat competition in the global market.
Dongkuk Steel, Korea's third-largest steel company, said it will strengthen strategic ties with JFE Steel, Japan's second- biggest and the world's fourth-biggest steel producer.
Kaesong reports brisk growth
September 25, 2006 ? South Korean companies at an inter-Korean joint industrial complex in North Korea have produced more than $50 million worth of products and exported about one-fifth of them since they opened shop there in 2004, official data showed yesterday.
The complex in Kaesong, a few kilometers north of the inter-Korean border, currently houses 13 South Korean garment, kitchenware and other labor-intensive plants, employing about 8,500 North Korean workers. The complex opened its first pilot zone in December 2004.
As of the end of August, the cumulative production of the Southern firms there reached $54.6 million and their total exports came to $11.3 million, according to the Unification Ministry data.
DPRK Law on Co-operative Production of Castings Adopted
Pyongyang, September 22 (KCNA) -- The Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea adopted the Law on Co-operative Production of Castings in August 2006. The mission of the law is to fully meet the demand of the national economy for casting goods by establishing a strict system and order in the production of castings. The law consists of 27 articles in all.
Stipulated in the law are the issues of principle to be abided by in the co-operative production of castings.
It gives a solid legal guarantee to constantly increase casting production in accordance with the requirement of the developing reality by realizing the standardization of castings and the specialization and concentration of their production.
Meeting of Servicemen and People Held to Complete Kumya River Power Station Earlier than Scheduled
Kumya, September 20 (KCNA) -- An army-people meeting took place at the construction site of the Kumya River Power Station on Sept. 20 to thoroughly implement the instruction given by Kim Jong Il while providing field guidance to the power station construction site in September of Juche 95 (2006). Kim Jong Il clearly indicated the tasks to be undertaken to wind up ahead of schedule the construction of the Kumya River Power Station, a big hydro-power station which is of weighty importance in realizing the nation's electrification, and ways to do so.
Expansion of complex at Kaesong postponed
September 22, 2006 ? South Korea has decided to postpone expansion of a joint industrial complex in Kaesong with North Korea amid heightened tension over the communist state's nuclear ambitions, Unification Ministry officials said yesterday.
At the beginning of this month, Seoul indefinitely suspended its plans to begin receiving applications from South Korean companies that wished to move into the joint industrial complex in the North's border town of Kaesong in June. The decision came amid concerns that North Korea was planning to test-fire another missile.
Bankbooks at Kaesong: Furor starts to subside
September 22, 2006 ? The "scandal" over Woori Bank accounts given to a North Korean entity seemed to lose considerable steam late Wednesday night and yesterday, when government documents and explanations by officials clarified, at least partly, the ownership of the accounts and their purpose.
In its late city edition yesterday morning, the JoongAng Ilbo reported that a letter in March from the Unification Ministry to Woori Bank, which allowed a North Korean agency to open an account at Woori's Kaesong branch, was less incriminating than it appeared. The document was in response to a letter from the bank asking if Woori was within the law by having opened two bank accounts for the agency in late 2004.
South Postpones Expansion of Kaesong Complex
By Lee Jin-woo
The government has decided to put off expansion of a joint industrial complex in North Korea despite the Stalinist state's repeated requests for early consolidation of the inter-Korean business project, Unification Ministry officials said yesterday.
"North Korea has consistently asked the government, even after it launched the missiles on July 5, to go ahead with the planned expansion of the complex at the earliest possible date," a ministry official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
The government initially planned to receive applications from South Korean companies, especially small and mediumsized ones, that wished to move into the joint industrial complex in Kaesong in June, but the plan was suspended indefinitely because of signs of the North's missile tests.
[US dominance] [Media]
2nd Pyongyang Autumn International Commodity Fair to Be Held
Pyongyang, September 19 (KCNA) -- The 2nd Pyongyang Autumn International Commodity Fair is slated to take place at the Three-Revolution Exhibition here from Sept. 25 to 28. It will attract companies of the DPRK, China, Italy, Belarus, Thailand, Indonesia, Switzerland, Britain and other countries and regions.
To be displayed there are equipment for the development of ultra-modern technology, production facilities in the fields of metal, machine, chemical industries, light industry and agriculture and electrical and electronic goods, foodstuff, a variety of daily necessities and others.
Law on Nonferrous Metals of DPRK
Pyongyang, September 19 (KCNA) -- The Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea adopted the law on nonferrous metals of the DPRK in August 2006. The mission of the law is to fully meet the ever-growing demand for nonferrous metals by establishing a strict system and order in the production, supply and utilization of nonferrous metals.
The law consists of five chapters and 46 articles.
Stipulated in the law are issues of principle to be kept in the production, supply, usage, collection, procurement and management of nonferrous metals.
Ministry Backed Norths Application to Open Account With Woori Bank
By Lee Jin-woo
An opposition lawmaker claimed yesterday the Ministry of Unification tried to back up North Korea's attempt to open a bank account with a South Korean bank earlier this year.
Rep. Kwon Young-se of the main opposition Grand National Party (GNP) said ranking officials of the ministry met with officials from other related government agencies, including the National Intelligence Service (NIS), as well as Woori Bank in March to discuss how to react to the North's request.
[Sanctions] [Pro-Americanism] [Kaesong] [Finance]
Businessmen accuse U.S. of indiscriminate sanctions
The United States and Japan are expected to ratchet up financial sanctions against North Korea this week. The move is in line with a United Nations resolution condemning Pyongyang for its missile test launches in July, and comes a year after Washington ordered American banks to stop dealing with the Macau-based Banco Delta Asia.
The U.S. Treasury accused the bank of acting as a money-laundering conduit for North Korea, and of other illegal activities. The bank denied the charges, but froze more than $20 million in North Korean accounts. Pyongyang responded by withdrawing from the six-party talks on its nuclear development programs, a process that only days before had reached what participants described as a landmark breakthrough.
In recent weeks the United States has been piling on the pressure, urging financial institutions around the world to curb any financial activity with the North.
Scores of banks in Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Mongolia have stopped doing business with North Korea, according to the U.S. Treasury's Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Stuart Levey.
The United States has insisted that there be no link between efforts to restart the stalled six-party talks on the one hand, and punishing North Korea for its alleged economic crimes on the other.
However, businessmen intimately familiar with the situation think this is the wrong policy.
[Counterfeiting] [Evidence] [Camouflage]
Chaebol Leaders Eye BRICs
By Kim Yon-se
Chairmen of Korea's major business groups are focusing on the so-called BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) as their main investment targets.
Streamlining the Entry and Exit Procedures for the Gaeseong Industrial Complex
(GIC)(August 29, 2006) [Kaesong]
North eyes inter-Korean port in the east
June 14, 2006 ? [Second in a series] A senior maritime official in North Korea told visiting journalists from the JoongAng Ilbo that his government wants to modernize and open Hungnam Port on the nation's east coast to expand inter-Korean economic exchanges. Since 2000, a sea route connecting Incheon with the North Korean port of Nampo has been open for direct shipping along the west coast; Pyongyang evidently wants to replicate that success on the east coast, perhaps in a bid to increase investment or to reduce logistics problems in distributing aid shipments from South Korea.
Hungnam is about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from Hamhung, North Korea's second-largest city.
[Economic reforms] [Opening]
National Forum on Intellectual Property Held
Pyongyang, September 15 (KCNA) -- A national forum on intellectual property was held at the People's Palace of Culture on Sept. 13 and 14. Present there were leading officials of the DPRK Invention Office and officials in the field of invention and a delegation of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) headed by Gao Hang, deputy dean of the WIPO Worldwide Academy.
Kim Il Hyok, general director of the Invention Office, said at the forum that the current forum provided the office with a good environment for increasing the role of intellectual property in the economic development and deepening the social understanding of this field.
Man's activity for intellectual creation plays an important role in the development of the society and economy in the present times, the age of science and technology, he noted, expressing hope that the forum would make a positive contribution to deepening the social understanding of the fields of invention and patent and actively promoting invention and economic development and boosting the international cooperation in the field.
The forum heard speeches made under the titles "Intellectual property and social understanding", "Effective use of invention and patent in the DPRK", "On the present state of promoting traditional knowledge and preserving the biodiversity and state policy on them in the DPRK", "Role of invention in combining science and technology with production", "Role of intellectual property as a weapon for national development", "Conception of copyright and the right closely related to it and international standard for their protection", "Intellectual property as a weapon for development, practical experience gained by selected developing countries", "Conception of industrial property and the international standard for its protection", "Social understanding of the intellectual property in the work to encourage invention, innovation and technological progress", "Protection of intellectual property and traditional knowledge and the nation and the use of genetic resource", "Role of brand in foreign trade and commerce" and others.
Speakers referred to the importance of intellectual property including invention and patent at present when economic construction is under way with each country and nation as a unit and pointed to the issues arising in increasing their role to develop science and technology and reenergize national economy.
Breeding of Rabbits Encouraged
Pyongyang, September 13 (KCNA) -- Rabbits are extensively bred in the Democratic Peoplefs Republic of Korea. Rabbits are considered as economically profitable domestic animals in the mountainous DPRK with limited cropland.
The mass media including newspapers and TV widely introduce the benefit of rabbits, their breeding and management based on advanced technology and scientific and technical issues such as veterinary and anti-epizootic measures.
WIPO Delegation Here
Pyongyang, September 12 (KCNA) -- A delegation of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) headed by Gao Hang, deputy dean of the WIPO Worldwide Academy, arrived here by air on Tuesday to attend a national forum on intellectual property.
Kim Jong Ils Field Guidance to Construction of Kumya River Power Station
Pyongyang, September 11 (KCNA) -- General Secretary Kim Jong Il gave on-the-spot guidance to the construction of the Kumya River Power Station. He was greeted on the spot by commanding officers of the unit of the Korean People's Army participating in the construction and leading officials of the Kumya River Hydro-Power Station Construction Office and the South Hamgyong Provincial Construction Corps.
The builders of the power station are now stepping up the dam construction in real earnest after finishing the dam groundwork project through vigorous endeavors to implement the tasks given by Kim Jong Il when he was visiting the construction site in April of 2003.
Ore Dressing Plant Commissioned
Pyongyang, September 10 (KCNA) -- A ceremony of commissioning the ore dressing plant of the Ryonghung Mine was held on the spot Saturday. It was attended by Paek Hyon Bong, chairman of the Korean Committee for the Promotion of Economic Cooperation with Foreign Countries, officials concerned and officials and employees of the mine.
Also present were members of the delegation of the Chinese Guangshou Group Co., Ltd. headed by Director General Huang Guoqing.
Northeast Asian neighbors strike logistics deal
September 08, 2006 ? Korea, Japan and China agreed yesterday to cooperate on a project to establish a "seamless logistics system" for the Northeast Asian region, Korean officials said.
After holding their first trilateral transport ministers' meeting earlier in the day, the transportation ministers of the three countries released a joint statement urging the establishment of a unified foundation for logistics services between the countries.
Visualizing a North Korean 'Bold Switchover': International Financial Institutions and Economic Development in the DPRK
by Bradley O. Babson
September 5th, 2006
Bradley O. Babson, a consultant on Asian affairs specializing in Korea and
Northeast Asian economic cooperation, writes, "By combining a phased
approach to building a role for the World Bank in North Korea with a TRM
supported by donors who provide both political aid and development
assistance, it is possible to imagine a viable roadmap for moving forward
with a complex and challenging agenda. Such a possibility could only be
realized, however, if the DPRK were to adopt a bold switchover policy."
[Economic reforms] [IFI] [In denial] [Sanctions]
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Economy Shows Signs of Premature Aging
By Lee Hyo-sik
Korea's growth potential has weakened over the years due to rapid population aging and falling birthrates and the economy is showing signs of being stuck in a prolonged period of low growth.
According to a report by the Samsung Economic Research Institute (SERI), economic growth has slowed to an average rate of 4.5 percent since 2000, sharply lower than 8.7 percent in the 1980s and 6.1 percent in the 1990s.[Aging society] [Unification]
Kim Jong Il Inspects Stock-Breeding Centre of KPA Unit
Pyongyang, August 13 (KCNA) -- General Secretary Kim Jong Il inspected the stock-breeding centre of KPA Unit 757. He was briefed on the history of the centre before visiting the rabbit farm.
He went round various places of the farm including rabbit hutches and food-preparing rooms built in a peculiar style to acquaint himself in detail with breeding and production. He expressed great satisfaction over the fact that they have produced and supplied a huge quantity of hare meat to the servicepersons every year.
Daewoo offshore gas fields viable
August 11, 2006 ? Korea's Daewoo International Corp. said yesterday that two gas fields off the northern coast of Myanmar, in which it has a 60-percent stake, have been found to be commercially viable.
Citing a report by U.S. accrediting agency Gaffney, Cline & Associates, the trading and resource development company said the offshore gas blocks are estimated to have combined reserves of 5.7 trillion to 10 trillion cubic feet.
[Human rights] [Double standards]
Korea-Japan trade deficit is $24 billion
August 07, 2006 ? A chronic trade imbalance with Japan is a major factor in Korea's shrinking current account surplus, a report said yesterday. Korea recorded a current account deficit of $268 million in the first half of the year for the first time in nine years on a widening service account deficit and reduced exports.
According to the report by the Hyundai Research Institute, the country's current account surplus shrunk $8.8 billion in the first six months of the year compared with a year earlier.
Samsu Hydro-power Station Nears Completion
Pyongyang, August 3 (KCNA) -- A number of people are visiting the Samsu Hydro-power Station, the construction of which is progressing apace at the final stage as one more monumental edifice in the Songun era. As located at the junction of the Hochon and Unchong Rivers, the station can produce electricity without any restriction of water even in a drought year. Its dam can reserve much water so as to use it for several years.
The power station, which is promising and economically profitable, will supply ample electricity to arranging well the revolutionary battle and historical sites in the Mt. Paektu area and to the people in Samjiyon County.
Brisk Rural Housing Construction in Pyongyang
Pyongyang, August 2 (KCNA) -- Projects for face-lifting rural villages in commensuration with the socialist society have been undertaken in Pyongyang. This year more than 650 modern rural dwelling houses have been built in the Haksan Co-op Farm in Hyongjesan District, the Thaekam Co-op Farm in Sunan District and other co-op farms in different districts of the city. Now they are occupied by peasants.
Each household has two rooms, a vestibule, a kitchen, a washroom, a pen and a storehouse.
Methane gas producers have been set up in back yards of houses and villages so that people can cook rice with gas.
More than five fruit trees including apricot, jujube and grape-vine have been planted around each house, adding beauty to the surrounding landscape.
Meanwhile, projects for the reconstruction and repair of houses have been pushed ahead with in districts and counties including Ryokpho District and Sangwon County.
The outer walls of 410 apartment buildings for some 750 households have been plastered and decorated. They were roofed with colored tiles and their walls colorfully painted.
Thirty-eight public buildings of 1,500 square meters including creches, kindergartens, shops and welfare service facilities have been constructed. And 70 buildings of 2,700 square meters have been reconstructed and repaired, changing the looks of more than ten ris.
Retailers Respond to Emergence of Trolley-Man
On a recent Saturday afternoon, office worker Chang Kyung-chul went to market near his home to do some grocery shopping, buying beef, bean sprouts and milk among other necessities that would see the family through the next few days. "My wife works too, and when she can't find time to do this, I do it for her," Chang says. "It's been more than a year since I started to do the grocery shopping, and now I find it's fun. I also have my own housekeeping book," he adds.
Korean Big Three's Int'l Brand Value Soars
Korea's biggest carmaker Hyundai Motor boosted its global brand value this year despite the corruption trial of chairman Chung Mong-koo and its costliest annual labor strike yet. Samsung's and LG's global brand value also rose to consolidate their position among the world's top 100 brands.
The annual ranking of the 100 Top Global Brands, a survey by U.S. magazine Business Week and London-based firm Interbrand published Friday shows Hyundai's brand value up 17 percent from last year's US$3.5 billion at $4.1 billion. The car maker rose nine notches on the list from 84th to 75th, which placed Hyundai fifth after Google, Starbucks, e-Bay and Motorola in terms of brand value growth. Among peers, Hyundai was eighth after Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW, outstripping Porsche (80th) and Nissan (90th). The Korean carmaker did so well this year it came within a hair's breadth of Audi (74th).
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Samsung, Hyundai, LG Join Top 100 Brand Powers
By Cho Jin-seo
Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor and LG Electronics have increased their worldwide brand value over the past 12 months, a study showed on Friday.
Samsung, the largest company in South Korea, has pushed up its brand value by 8 percent to $16.2 billion to hold its position as the 20th most prestigious brand in the world, according to a top 100 list announced by Interbrand, a brand name consultancy. Samsung was the third Asian company in the list after Toyota at No. 7, and Honda, 19.
Among the top 100, 51 were U.S.-based businesses. Nine were German firms, and France and Japan had eight each.
Interbrand and BusinessWeek Rank the Best Global Brands by Value for 2006
Report predicts surge in spending by elderly
July 29, 2006 ? Korean businesses catering to the elderly are likely to grow nearly 13 percent annually over a 10-year period from 2010 thanks to increased spending by retirees, according to a report released yesterday.
The country is already an aging society, with people aged 65 and over accounting for 7 percent of its population in 2000. Korea's population is currently slightly over 48 million.
Tensions Must not Affect Kaesong Complex: N.Korea
The North Korean official in charge of the Kaesong Industrial Complex said Friday "developments on the global stage" should have no effect on the development of the joint-Korean business park.
Ju Dong-chan's remarks came in the quarterly meeting with South Korea's Kaesong Industrial District Management Committee in the North Korean border town, according to the Unification Ministry. Ju is also Pyongyang's chief delegate in inter-Korean economic talks.
Gaeseong Industrial Complex in Steady Progress Despite a Series of Negative Incidents
(July 26, 2006)
Ko Gyoung-bin, Director-general for the Office of Gaeseong Industrial Complex Project on July 26 gave reporters a briefing concerning the production status of tenant businesses in Gaeseong industrial park and the status on infrastructure construction there. He also answered questions regarding the diversion of North Korean workers wages in the industrial park.
The production of tenant businesses in Gaeseong on an upward curve
Director-general Ko stated, "Amid North Koreas missile tests and UNs adoption of a resolution against the North, the production, sales and orders of goods are being made as usual."
He added, "Not only South Koreans but also North Korean workers there are all aware of the current situation but they look so serene that we can not find them cowering by it. Rather, their work attitudes have became more serious."
"The overall output reached U.S. $ 5.5 million at its highest this June and it is expected to exceed U.S. $ 6 million this month," he explained, adding "That means it will increase by more than 10% ."
Export of goods made in Gaeseong has been on rise. Mr. Ko said, "It recorded U.S. $ 1.1 million this May and increased to U.S. $ 1.6 million, recording a 40% increase."
Nation runs red ink in 1st half
July 28, 2006 ? Korea posted a current account deficit of nearly $270 million during the first half of 2006, its first half-year red ink in nine years. In the first half of last year, the nation had a current account surplus of $8.5 billion.
The Bank of Korea also said the nation's current account was in surplus by $1.1 billion in June, a reduction by nearly half of the surplus recorded in June 2005.
The bank blamed the first-half deficit on higher bills for imported oil and on dividends paid to foreign stock investors from February through April.
But Korean globetrotters, both as tourists and for education, also contributed to the red ink. The services account, a component of the current account, posted a deficit of $8.9 billion in the first half, largely because of the $5.8 billion deficit in the travel account, the net of what foreign visitors spend here and Koreans spend abroad
The largest half-year current deficit was recorded in the first half of 1997, just before the bubble of Korea's booming economy burst
Wal-Mart failed due to Americanization
[LETTERS to the editor]
The success story of E-Mart, a domestic retailer, and the failure in Korea of multinational corporations such as Wal-Mart, the world's No.-1 retailer, and Carrefour, the top retailer in Europe, are not enough to justify the claim that globalization fell to "glocalization." This case is just another instance of intense competition resulting from free trade and Americanization. People say that Wal-Mart failed to catch the Korean consumer's preferences, rashly assuming that, just like with American customers, cheap prices justify anything. In fact, some Korean ajummas said they did not like the warehouse-like atmosphere of Wal-Mart and preferred the department store-like, neat, sophisticated atmosphere and cheap prices of E-Mart.
Trade Agency Told to Cut Overseas Bureaucrats
By Ryu Jin
The Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) on Thursday advised the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) to conduct a large-scale restructuring, cutting down the number of officials at its overseas branches by about 30 percent.
In a report on the KOTRA inspection results, the BAI said more than 30 percent of the state-funded agency's branch offices abroad have been recklessly managed resulting in poor performances.
The North Notified the Withdrawal of Some Staff Members from Office of Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
(July 22, 2006)
The North notified on July 21 that some North Korean staff members would withdraw from the Office of Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation in Gaeseong, but it stated that people dispatched from the National Economic Cooperation Federation would stay and continue to assist in discussions on projects between South and North Korean enterprises.
The Office serves as a venue for working-level consultations at the governmental level and at the same time assists South Korean enterprises to pursue projects with North Korea. Consequently, for the time being, it will be difficult for South and North Korean authorities to continue working-level consultations that have taken place at the Office. South Korean personnel working at the Office will stay in Gaeseong and continue to provide support for South Korean companies to consult with their counterparts in North Korea.
Expansion plans for Kaesong to continue: official
July 27, 2006 ? A high-ranking South Korean official said yesterday that the government might expand the joint industrial complex in North Korea's border town of Kaesong at an early date, despite concerns that the money paid to North Korean laborers there is funneled toward building missiles.
Speaking to reporters, Goh Gyeong-bin, head of the office for the inter-Korean economic project at the Unification Ministry, said, "The Kaesong Industrial Complex is a project that runs strictly according to market mechanisms."
He said the government might begin the next phase of the Kaesong development project as early as August or September, which would include leasing out 330 hectares (1.2 square miles) of land at the complex to South Korean companies.
His remarks echoed Seoul's earlier stance that it does not need to halt the project despite concerns, mainly from the United States, that wages paid there are sent to Pyongyang.
Currently, 13 South Korean companies are operating at the industrial complex; Mr. Goh said the complex's 7,800 North Korean laborers are paid $57 a month on average.
The ministry official said there was no way of determining whether the North Korean government was taking any of the wages, but claimed that it was not happening.
"There is no possibility. The amount [of pay] tells us that," Mr. Goh told Yonhap News Agency in a later telephone interview. "Even though North Korea is an extremely poor state, it would take at least 50,000 (South Korean) won (about $51) on average to feed a family of four for a month."
"The issue (of possible diversion of funds) might become significant when the amount rises significantly in the second and third phases (of the development project), but it really is not an issue at this time," he said.
Between 300 and 800 South Korean companies, depending on the size of each business, are expected to move into the joint complex when the next phase of the development plan is completed, Mr. Goh added.
According to the Unification Ministry, the complex will house 2,000 South Korean companies by 2012.
[Manipulation] [Disinformation] [Diversion]
Face-lifting Project of Taedong River Bank Progresses Apace
Pyongyang, July 24 (KCNA) -- Much work has been done in the project for rearranging 2.6 km-long bank of the River Taedong from the Pyongyang Grand Theater to the foot of Moran Hill since its start on July 5. A thousand and hundreds-meter-long roadbed project between the Taedong Bridge and the Taedong Gate, which is the main in the facelifting project, has been carried out at the stage of 80 percent as of July 20.
A 2,160-meter concrete floodwall and 17 flood-gates in Pyongyang have been removed in the main, giving way to a new 5-meter wide road.
Meanwhile, promenades, 1,000-meter-long stone parapet and gardens are being come into shape.
The promenade from the Pyongyang Grand Theater to the Taedong Bridge has already been laid so as to pave it with color blocks.
Sooner or later, the banks of the River Taedong will produce a beautiful landscape in harmony with Kim Il Sung Square, the Grand People's Study House and the Okryu Restaurant.
South Brings Capitalism, Well Isolated, to North Korea
By NORIMITSU ONISHI
Published: July 18, 2006
KAESONG, North Korea Just north of the demilitarized zone dividing the Korean Peninsula, in possibly the worlds most heavily guarded special economic enclave, 500 managers from the South and 7,000 workers from the North are engaged in a capitalist experiment that is anathema to the United States.
The South Koreans recently gave a tour of the enclave, the Kaesong Industrial Park, to 200 foreign business executives, diplomats and journalists. The hosts expressed optimism that it would bring peace to the peninsula, then they led the visitors through factories churning out goods for markets in the South and elsewhere.
In one of the 15 factories, Taesung Hata, a cosmetics company, about 500 workers wearing dark blue uniforms and white hats operated machines that produced plastic cosmetic containers. Next door, 1,500 workers sat in rows of desks with sewing machines, below ceiling fans and decorative red flowers, making orthopedic shoes called Stafild that were described as Shoes for Unification.
To hear the South Korean hosts tell it, when the special economic zone is completed in 2012, it will be bigger than Manhattan, house 2,000 companies and employ 700,000 North Koreans. Yet Kaesongs significance is larger still, they say, because it will nudge the North toward embracing economic reforms and opening up to the world, the way Shenzhen did in China two decades ago, and open the path, as the shoes suggest, toward reunification.
The Bush administration, which has tried to isolate the North instead of engaging it, recently criticized Kaesong after long withholding judgment. It accused the South of economically propping up the North, as the United States was financially squeezing the North elsewhere.
In a recent op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal, Jay Lefkowitz, President Bushs special envoy for human rights in North Korea, said projects like Kaesong strengthened Kim Jong-il by pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the North, with more to come. Mr. Lefkowitz also said he had doubts about whether the North Korean workers actually got their wages.
Mr. Ko, of the Unification Ministry, rejected such accusations, saying the North Korean workers had to sign their names when they received their wages. The wages average $57 a month, nearly triple the average in the North, he said.
[Kaesong] [Economic reform]
Railways Talks Held between DPRK and Russia
Pyongyang, July 21 (KCNA) -- Talks between Kim Yong Sam, minister of Railways of the DPRK, and V. I. Yakunin, chairman of the "Russian Railways" Company were held at the Mansudae Assembly Hall Friday. Present at the talks from the DPRK side were officials concerned and from the Russian side members of the delegation of the "Russian Railways" Company and Russian Ambassador to the DPRK Andrei Karlov.
At the talks both sides exchanged views on boosting the bilateral cooperation in the field of railways.
The talks proceeded in a friendly atmosphere
Seoul Pushes Ahead With Kaesong Financing Plans
Seoul is to boost support for companies operating in the joint-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex, despite suspicions from Washington that funds going into the North Korean border town were used to help Pyongyang develop missiles.
The Finance Ministry said Friday it is forging ahead with the Ministry of Planning and Budget on a special credit guarantee program to help companies operating in the Kaesong complex take out guaranteed loans of up to W10 billion (US$1=W950). "We know there have been a variety of controversies over the complex recently, but the government plans to provide a sufficient amount of seed money so that companies working there don't suffer difficulties in securing funds," a ministry official said.
'Guarantees' and 'North Korea' sound risky to a state-run fund
July 21, 2006 ? As corporate bankers and the Korea Credit Guarantee Fund trek to the Kaesong Industrial Complex today for an inspection visit, the state-run loan guarantor sounds less than happy about its role in funding companies at the North Korean complex.
Last month, the Finance Ministry said the government would give loan guarantees of up to 10 billion won ($11 million) per company to help South Korean companies who have set up plants there.
Several of the big banks here will join the group visiting the complex ? they include representatives from Kookmin, Shinhan and Hana ? and say they are looking for business. "This visit is a step in our preparations for possible financial dealings with the companies there," said an official at one of the banks who asked not to be identified.
But a credit guarantee fund spokesman seemed to hope that won't happen under the present ground rules. "We feel the companies at Kaesong present enough financial risk that without special funding from the government, it would be difficult to guarantee all the loans on our own," he said.
Guarantees for Kaesong
Detailed plans for providing private loans to companies moving to the Kaesong Industrial Complex are being made. Even though the relationship between the two Koreas is in a state of confusion because of the recent missile crisis, several senior officials from big banks and the credit guarantee funds are planning to visit the industrial complex in North Korea.
The administration's rationale for the visit is to get immediate financial support from the private sector to implement its special loan guarantee program to companies in Kaesong. The banks are certainly willing to give the loans once they have a guarantee certificate from the fund, which is backed by the government. The guarantee fund has nothing to worry about because the government will probably patch up the damage if the companies default on the loans.
Bankers to Visit Kaesong Complex
By Na Jeong-ju
A group of South Korean bankers will visit the industrial complex in Kaesong, North Korea, on Friday to inspect corporate facilities being built under the inter-Korean economic cooperation project, the Ministry of Unification said Wednesday.
The delegation includes representatives from Citibank Korea, the South Korean banking arm of the U.S. financial giant Citigroup and Kookmin Bank and Shinhan Bank, the country's two largest commercial lenders. The state-run Industrial Bank of Korea and the Korea Development Bank, and five regional banks will also join the group.
N.K. offer throws lifeline to investors
Recent statements coming out of North Korea again suggest that Pyongyang is perhaps willing to trade off some of its nuclear and military ambitions in exchange for business opportunities and investment. Or at the very least, talk about it.
North Korea's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Han Song-ryol, told reporters last week that Pyongyang would be ready to return to six-party talks if the United States ended its economic sanctions. Washington tightened its economic squeeze last September after accusing the North of illegal economic activities, including money laundering and currency counterfeiting.
Pyongyang has boycotted the six-party talks on its nuclear program since pressure from Washington forced the Macau-based Banco Delta Asia to sever its links with the North. The move had an immediate impact on Western businesses operating in the North, not least of which was the majority foreign-owned Daedong Credit Bank.
Any positive change in the status quo would be welcome news to the bank's general manager, Nigel Cowie, who told The Korea Herald that business is down some 50 percent since BDA froze Daedong's accounts and ceased operating as its correspondent bank.
[Sanctions] [Counterfeiting] d
Germany Presses Ahead With Pyongyang Fair
By Jan Jettel
While the full economic consequences of North Korea's recent missile tests are difficult to estimate, an international trade fair in Pyongyang slated to take place in October is unaffected by the current political turmoil, organizers of the fair said. ITIE, the International Technology and Infrastructure Exhibition, is scheduled from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3 in Pyongyang.
"A few companies have cancelled their participation, and a few others need more time to consider, but by and large everything is proceeding as planned," said Peter Bialas of Messe Munich, the German-based company that organizes the fair.
He was confident that this year's ITIE could at least match the turnout of 2004, the year the fair was last held, when 70 companies, representing 10 different countries, participated.
Phyongchon Kimchi Factory
Pyongyang, July 13 (KCNA) --The Phyongchon Kimchi Factory in Pyongyang is producing various kinds of kimchi including rolled cabbage kimchi, whole cabbage kimchi and cucumber kimchi. They are popular with citizens for their fresh and good taste. The factory, built in October Juche 81 (1992), produces hundreds of tons of kimchi a year.
More than 20 kinds of kimchi produced there are supplied to Pyongyang citizens all the year round and kimchi made of whole cabbage is exported to China and other countries.
Korea Advertising Company
Pyongyang, July 10 (KCNA) -- The Korea Advertising Company is doing well the famous commodity and trade advertising service. The company sponsored a commodity and trade advertising exhibition on the sidelines of the 9th Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair held in May, thus contributing to deepening the friendly and cooperative relations among nations and to realizing many-sided intercourse, cooperation and trade transactions.
The company, which is doing commodity and trade advertising activities in a uniform way, makes and sets up advertising mediums of various forms and contents in streets, stadiums and international exhibitions and extensively advertising them through newspapers, TV and internet at the request of local and foreign industrial establishments and companies.
It also holds the exhibitions for introducing export goods, trade business and investment environment at home and abroad.
Half-Million Bucks Go to Kaesong Every Month
S-N Economic Cooperation Showpiece Under Double Threat
By Kim Yon-se
Foreign businesspeople tour a clothing company in the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a flagship of inter-Korean business cooperation, in North Korea during a one-day trip on June 22. /Yonhap
Nowadays the Kaesong Industrial Complex, the flagship of inter-Korean economic cooperation, is stuck between a rock and a hard place.
The United States has rejected a South Korean request to include it in their bilateral trade talks, taking away one of the few incentives for companies to set up shop there.
The Kaesong complex is a collaborative industrial park developed by South and North Korea located in North Korea close to the Korean Demilitarized Zone with direct road and rail access to South Korea.
The Kaesong complex is also bearing the fallout from Pyongyang's missile tests that raised an uproar in the international community, giving Washington an excuse to push hard for its ongoing effort to choke the North's cash flow
North Korean Officials to Study Market Economy
GENEVA (Yonhap) -- A group of North Korean officials will receive training on multilateral diplomacy and market economy in Switzerland this summer, a Swiss research institute said Tuesday.
The North Koreans, whose number was not immediately known, are slated to enroll for the training from Aug. 21 to Sept. 22 at the Geneva-based Center for Applied Studies in International Negotiations, center officials said.
The Swiss think-tank, founded in 1979, has been running a short-term training course for North Korean officials every year since 1997. Its program is financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, a governmental body which last year earmarked 5 million franc ($3.1 million) to help North Korea.
In 2004, 14 North Korean officials benefited from the center's program.
During their stay in Switzerland, they visited the European Union, headquartered in the Brussels, Belgium, and met with members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.
[Training] [Opening] [Economic reforms]
North Has Frozen Funds of $24 Million in Macau: Report
HONG KONG (Yonhap) - The amount of frozen North Korean funds held in a Macau bank totals $24 million, a Hong Kong newspaper said Sunday.
The South China Morning Post claimed Pyongyang's desire to see U.S.-imposed sanctions on Banco Delta Asia (BDA) lifted is a clear indication that the sanctions are hurting the communist country.
Kim Jong Il Gives On-Site Guidance to New Pyongyang Taesong Tyre Factory
Pyongyang, July 4 (KCNA) -- General Secretary Kim Jong Il gave on-site guidance to the newly built Pyongyang Taesong Tyre Factory. The factory has a total floor space of more than 2,000 square meters and all its production processes are automated.
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European business group in Pyongyang sees N.K. as an attractive FDI destination
By Chris Gelken
With political tensions over North Korea's reported plans to test fire a ballistic missile dominating the headlines in recent weeks, any positive news regarding the North has tended to be pushed to the sidelines. The recent launch of a U.K.-based investment fund directed at North Korea suggests that beneath the tensions, there is still optimism in business circles that political problems can be resolved, and North Korea can become an attractive and profitable destination for foreign direct investment.
One such businessman is Felix Abt, the president of the European Business Association based in Pyongyang. In this email interview with The Korea Herald, Abt said he is confident that North Korea-based businesses will, as they have with previous crises, weather this latest political storm.
Plants, not rice, called North's need
June 26, 2006 ? [Last in a series] During the JoongAng Ilbo's 10-day survey of North Korean economic venues in May, North Korea's high dependence on China was very prominent. Noting that trend, North Korea experts in Seoul recommended that South Korea make efforts to increase its industrial investment in the North to assist the failing economy and allow it to make ends meet. Donating food and other aid, they said, was contrary to the aphorism, "Give a man a fish and he can eat for a day; teach him to fish and he can eat for a lifetime."
Throughout the trip from May 11-20, North Korean officials proudly displayed a series of automated factories, calling them the models of the reclusive communist country's modernization. The Daean Friendship Glass Factory was on the tour; officials said China had built the factory at no cost to North Korea. Similarly, production lines in several other plants were overwhelmingly "made in China."
The March 26 Cable Factory in Pyongyang used Chinese machines; its raw materials appeared to be from China as well. The Pyongyang Cosmetic Factory, which produces cosmetics, toiletries and toothpaste, was also equipped with Chinese machines. The toothpaste production line used equipment from Nanjing Machinery, and the soap production facility was equipped by companies in Quingtao.
At the International Trade Fair in Pyongyang, most booths were set up by Chinese firms. Among the 217 companies that participated in the fair, more than 80 percent were Chinese or joint ventures that included a Chinese partner.
That's not entirely a bad thing, some economists here said; joining the world economy through China could become a catalyst for reform and opening of the North Korean economy. But they also said they were somewhat uneasy that China's influence on the Korean Peninsula would become "unnecessarily" strong, reflecting deep-seated Korean unease about foreign influences on the peninsula. Referring to South Korea's dependency on Japan in the 1960s and 70s for raw materials and facilities, they said that trade with Japan is still skewed in Japan's favor.
[China confrontation] [China competition] [FDI]
Politics, blood ties trump profits in North
June 22, 2006 ? [Fourth in a series] In the ground floor ballroom of the Yanggakdo Hotel annex in Pyongyang, the North Korean Chamber of Commerce hosted a trade information and investors' relations conference on May 16. Senior North Korean trade ministry officials gave presentations on North Korea's economic policy and investment climate. Rim Tae-dok, chief counselor of the trade ministry, said Pyongyang protected property rights of foreign investors and guaranteed the independence of their management. The North Korean official stressed that foreign investors would enjoy tax benefits and that the legal process of establishing companies in the North has been largely simplified.
[FDI] [China model] [Sanctions]
South Korea Seeks Info Pacts With Tax Havens
By Kim Sung-jin
The government is planning to try and obtain agreements with Bermuda and other tax havens to exchange financial transaction and tax record information of foreign investors. Exchanges of this financial and tax-related information is essential for the government to levy taxes on gains made here by foreign investors based in tax havens.
Among other tax havens are the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands.
The ministry plans to announce newly designated tax havens in coming weeks. Korea is forecast to name Malaysia's Labuan as a tax haven among the 64 countries that have signed double taxation avoidance treaties with Korea.
South Korea struggles to open rails
By Choe Sang-Hun International Herald Tribune
Published: June 12, 2006
IMJINGAK, South Korea At a park in this village 40 kilometers north of Seoul, where South Korea's Highway No. 1 comes to a dead end at the barbed wire that fences off the Demilitarized Zone, a lone steam locomotive stands on a rusting northbound track.
A sign in front of the locomotive captures a sentiment felt by many in South Korea: "The iron horse wants to gallop."
With North Korea blocking overland access to China and Europe, South Korea's two fastest-growing export markets, the dream of opening up the Korean Peninsula to rail travel for freight and passengers between North and South has captured the imaginations of many South Koreans.
From Busan, the port city on the southern tip of South Korea, trains laden with consumer goods would trundle through the Demilitarized Zone, chug up the Korean Peninsula and gallop across Eurasia on an "Iron Silk Road" all the way to Berlin.
Or so the hope goes.
In a sobering reminder that any plan for the future of the Korean Peninsula is part of a complex political game, there is no sign that a South Korean train bound for Europe will leave the station soon.
A land route through North Korea to Europe could reduce considerably the time it takes to bring to market Korean goods that are now shipped by sea. From the Chinese interior, for example, proposed rail links to Europe are expected to cut transport times in half.
Since as early as 1994, North Korea has been expressing hopes of turning the country into an international transport hub.
Shortly before he died in July that year, Kim Il Sung, the North Korean leader, told a visiting Belgian delegation that his cash-strapped government could earn $1.5 billion a year in transit fees if its railroads were reconnected to South Korea's booming export economy.
Marx meets Madison Avenue in North
June 12, 2006 ? [First in a series] Four years have passed since North Korea adopted economic reform measures in the summer of 2002, and North Koreans seem to have gladly accepted the new capitalist experiment after they learned the charmed words "incentive payments." While the North Korean government has not officially adopted a market system, and has in fact backtracked on some of the reforms of four years ago, scenes at markets in the North showed that at least some North Korean workers have grasped the essence of capitalism - the more they work, the more they earn.
[Economic reforms] [Spin]
17 Global Brands Recognized
By Park Hyong-ki
Anycall, Starbucks, Samsonite and Fissler.
What do they have in common?
They are world-renowned brands.
At the 2006 World Prestigious Brand Festival held at the Korea Press Center in Seoul last week, the World Prestigious Brand Awards Selection Committee chose 17 of the most prestigious brands.
The committee consisted of 66 judges from various sectors including academia, industry, culture, arts and the media.
The committee judged the brands based on their reliance, quality and design as well as feedback from manufacturers and consumers.
Among the top-of-the-line brands, Korea Telecom's (KT's) ``Overseas call 001,'' and Samsung Electronics' popular cell phone ``Anycall,'' received the highest recognition.
KT, Korea's leading communication service company, provides a 001 international call service that connects directly to 82 countries, by far the largest number of multinational links among Korean telephone service providers.
In the meantime, the committee said that Samsung's Anycall mobile phone is not only known for its high-quality but also for its high brand awareness among consumers, taking up a large share of the mobile phone market both at home and abroad.
Anycall is the best seller in Korea, enjoying the highest market share at 50 percent.
Also, Anycall is the third best-selling mobile phone in the world accounting for 13 percent of the global market, following Finnish Nokia and the United States' Motorola.
Some other prestigious brands recognized by the committee were: Daesang WelLife's Chlorella, the best health care brand; Shenzhen Airlines, the best commercial airline; and KATA Korea's Judith Leiber as the best fashion sunglasses.
Kim Jong Il Provides On-Site Guidance to Machine Plant
Pyongyang, June 7 (KCNA) -- Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK, provided on-site guidance to the Machine Plant managed by Jong Il Man. He went round the room devoted to the education in the revolutionary history of the plant.
Seeing historic relics and mementoes on display, he said that the plant has turned into a solid machine producer under the wise guidance of President Kim Il Sung
Meeting of North-South Committee for Economic Cooperation Held
Jeju Island, June 6 (KCNA Correspondent) -- The 12th meeting of the North-South Committee for the Promotion of Economic Cooperation took place on Jeju Island from June 3 to 6. Present there were the members of the north side's delegation led by Ju Tong Chan, vice-chairman of the National Economic Cooperation Committee who is the north side's chairman of the North-South Committee for the Promotion of Economic Cooperation, and its suite members and members of the south side's delegation with Vice-Minister of Finance and Economy Pak Pyong Won who is the south side's chairman of the committee as chief delegate and its suite members.
The Agreement of the 12th Meeting of the Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Promotion Committee
(Unofficial translation)from ROK MoU
The South and the North held the 12th Meeting of the Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Promotion Committee on Jeju island from June 3 to 6, 2006.
Seoul Links North Korea Aid to Crossborder Railway Tests
By Seo Dong-shin
South Korean Vice Minister of Finance and Ecomony Bahk Byung-won, right, shakes hands with Ju Dong-chan, the chief of North Korea's Special Economic Zone Development Agency, after exchanging a letter of agreement at the end of the inter-Korean economic cooperation talks on Cheju Island, Tuesday.
SOGWIPO, Cheju Island ? South Korea on Tuesday agreed to provide North Korea $80 million worth of materials for its impoverished light industries on the condition that the North revives the canceled cross-border railway tests
Koreas agree on business contracts
JEJU - The two Koreas yesterday agreed on a set of contracts to stimulate North Korea's light industries and mining operations, but only when "conditions are met." South Korean officials say the expression is a diplomatic term being used to describe the North's obligation to allow the test run of trains on two cross-border rail links.
Economic delegates from Seoul and Pyongyang ended their four-day meeting on Jeju Island early yesterday morning, working out a nine-point agreement on various economic cooperation plans.
Aid linkage to rail tests continues to stall talks
June 06, 2006 ? SEOGWIPO, Jeju - On the third day of North-South Korean economic talks here, Pyongyang's delegation cancelled plans for a sightseeing excursion around the island to continue the negotiations.
The visitors were scheduled to leave Jeju early this morning, and observers said the talks have made less than satisfactory progress from the North korean point of view.
Trade with China and Japan
Status on the North's Trade Volume with China and Japan during the First Quarter in 2006 (May 29, 2006)
North Korea's trade volume with China and Japan amounted to $340 million USD, recording a 10.2% decrease on a year-on-year growth rate. The export decreased by 18.6 % but import also recorded a 4.7 % decrease on a year-on-year basis
North Korea's trade volume with China and Japan showed a decline from January to March this year. A decrease in North Korea's trade with China can be attributable to reduction in transactions of aquatic goods for export and corn for import. Meanwhile a sharp decrease in North Korea's trade with Japan appeared to be influenced by several sanctions on North Korea imposed by Japan.
Inter-Korean Economic Talks Start
By Christopher Carpenter
Economic talks between North and South Korea begin Saturday despite the North's continued boycott of the six-party talks to end the North's nuclear weapons program, Unification Ministry officials said Friday.
The 12th round of Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Promotion Committee talks on Cheju Island could result in a finalized agreement that would provide North Korea with tens of millions of dollars in South Korean aid for its light industries.
The North has long sought materials for its shoe and garment industries free of charge, while Seoul insists they can be provided only as a loan.
Whole Country Turns out in Rice-transplantation
Pyongyang, May 31 (KCNA) -- All the efforts are being mobilized and concentrated on rice-transplantation this year again in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The entire people, in hearty response to the call of the Workers' Party of Korea, are all out in rice-transplantation with revolutionary optimism and resolution to reap a bumper harvest.
N Korea fund set to raise $100m after UK approval
By Anna Fifield in Seoul
Published: May 30 2006 03:00 | Last updated: May 30 2006 03:00
The managers of North Korea's first dedicated investment fund have received regulatory approval from the UK's Financial Services Authority and are poised to raise up to $100m (£54m) to invest in one of the world's most dilapidated and isolated economies.
As the US administration, encouraged by the unexpectedly severe impact of its financial sanctions against Pyongyang, considers further containment measures, the managers of the Chosun Development and Investment Fund are preparing to open up new avenues for North Korea to earn foreign exchange.
With fundraising set to begin in a matter of weeks, the move is likely to irritate those in Washington opposed to economic engagement with a regimethat President George W. Bush once labelled part of an "axisof evil".
But its managers say the Chosun Fund will channel investment into North Korea's minerals, financial and energy sectors in particular, industries that can be developed "quickly and efficiently" to generate foreign exchange cash flow
[FDI] [Sanctions] [Opening] [Economic reform]
Can Economic Theory Demystify North Korea?
by Ruediger Frank
May 30th, 2006
Ruediger Frank, Professor of East Asian Political Economy at the
University of Vienna, writes, "There is nothing mystical about North
Korea; it is just a highly intransparent case of ordinary development
- as easy or as hard to understand as any other example. It can be
expected that the closer the institutional structure in North Korea
comes to the international mainstream, the easier it will get to
integrate this case into standard theoretical models and to compare
it with other examples.
First manufacturer in Kaesong hands over business to partner
May 31, 2006 ? After domestic media outlets charged that state-managed inter-Korean economic cooperation funds had been loaned to an insolvent company at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, the Unification Ministry issued a statement yesterday to untangle the complicated business affair.
Livingart, a kitchenware manufacturer that produced the first batch of South Korean goods from the Kaesong Industrial Complex, has been on the brink of bankruptcy, a bank source and the firm's former business partner said yesterday. Livingart was one of 15 firms that were allowed to operate factories within the inter-Korean industrial complex. The South Korean government made the selection from 136 applicants in June 2004.
According to the Unification Ministry, the company and Sonoko Cuisineware Inc., another kitchenware manufacturer, have jointly operated a factory in North Korea since the project started. Sonoko, however, yesterday argued that Livingart made almost no investment and that Sonoko was the de facto operator of the factory, adding that goods were produced under Livingart's name because the brand was popular in the domestic market. Sonoko mainly produces goods for export.
The business partnership, however, fell apart in October 2005, and Sonoko has been maintaining the Kaesong factory alone since then.
Unification Ministry said there is no problem with Sonoko's business in the North. The firm registered its factory with both South Korean and North Korean management boards of the industrial complex in late 2004. Mr. Kim said his company has been producing goods commissioned by other firms and selling them in the South, and the factory ceased producing kitchenware under the name of Livingart in April 2005. "I hope just this one case, of Livingart's poor business operation, will not be seen as the whole picture of the Kaesong Industrial Complex," Mr. Kim said. "There might be foreign investors paying close attention to the Kaesong project, and I want to say that all is going well, except for that minor hiccup." Kang Man-su, the president of Livingart, was not available for a comment yesterday.
by Ser Myo-ja
Don't Cut Corners in the Kaesong Complex
Bankruptcy Casts Shadow Over Kaesong Complex
The kitchenware manufacturer Living Art was among the first to move into the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea, where it made a "Kaesong pan," the first product of inter-Korean cooperation to hit the stores. Less than six months later it went bankrupt. Chosen in June 2004, Living Art received a startup loan of W3 billion (US$3 million) out of the Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Fund from the Export-Import Bank of Korea in October that year and launched operations in December, only to go belly-up the next May.
The Unification Ministry and Exim Bank claim nothing went wrong in the screening process. "When the startup loan was issued, Living Art's credit was fair to middling," they say. In fact, the company was in such dire straits by August 2004 that a court ordered its assets auctioned off. In short, the company was insolvent and the credit check and due diligence were a joke. It is reasonable to assume that the blunder was committed because the government hurried the project in a bid to leave a legacy of achievement by hook or by crook. Even the North Korean military recently found fault with the project, saying in effect there had been lots of noise but no substance.
The Kaesong Industrial Complex accommodates some 15 South Korean firms in about a dozen sectors like clothing, shoes, car parts and watches on 8,485 sq.m. Two of them are just getting ready to start operations and 13 are manufacturing products, employing over 5,200 North Korean workers who get paid an average of $67 a month. Minus social security and other dues to the North Korean government, they take home an estimated $40 - $44.
Wages in the North are much lower than China's average of $200. Once the Kaesong Industrial Complex runs smoothly, it would become a magnet for small and medium-sized companies that now migrate to China trying to escape high labor costs at home. Once firmly linked with the market of the capital region and Incheon's air and marine logistics networks, the Kaesong complex could become a new growth center for our economy.
N.Korean Investment Fund Gets Green Light in U.K.
The world's first fund dedicated to investing in North Korea has been given regulatory approval by the U.K.'s Financial Services Authority even as the U.S. continues to pressure the North with financial sanctions, the Financial Times said Monday.
The paper said the managers of the Chosun Development and Investment Fund will within a few weeks start drumming up investment in the nation's mines and energy sector.
The fund managers said investors expressed keen interest in the fund created last September, and expected investment could increase from the US$50 million they originally targeted to as much as $100 million, the paper said.
The fund would open a fresh avenue for the North to earn much-needed foreign currency and thereby annoy the U.S. government, which is trying to choke off its cash supplies, the paper said.
World Bank Could Help Economy, Official Says
Wednesday, May 31, 2006; Page D10
The World Bank could potentially play a role in North Korea's economy but is not yet ready to do so, Paul D. Wolfowitz, the institution's president, said.
Wolfowitz said the bank was able to play "a very valuable role" in China when that country embarked on economic reform. "In principle, the same thing could happen with North Korea, but there's a lot that has to happen to get there," he told the Associated Press upon arriving for a two-day visit.
World Bank Not Yet Ready for N. Korea Role
By KELLY OLSEN
The Associated Press
Tuesday, May 30, 2006; 6:58 AM
SEOUL, South Korea -- The World Bank could potentially play a role in North Korea's economy though is not yet ready to do so, Paul Wolfowitz, the institution's president, said Tuesday.
Wolfowitz said that the bank was able to play "a very valuable role" in China when that country embarked on economic reform.
"In principle, the same thing could happen with North Korea, but there's a lot that has to happen to get there," he told The Associated Press upon arrival in South Korea from Japan for a two-day visit.
Wolfowitz said any World Bank role in North Korea would ultimately be up to the institution's investor countries, who are likely to focus on progress in international efforts to persuade the country to abandon its nuclear programs.
UK Fund Investing in N. Korea Launched
By Seo Jee-yeon
The first ever investment fund investing in North Korea launched in the U.K. with regulatory approval from financial authorities.
Foreign investors have shunned the communist country with a moribund economy due in part to its political instability.
London-based Chosun Development and Investment Fund, formed and managed by Anglo-Sino Capital Partners, will initially seeks to raise $50 million from all over the world to invest in one of the world's most isolated economies, the fund said on its Web site.
It expects to increase the amount of the fund up to $100 million depending on returns.
[Economic reforms] [Opening]
Return to top of page
Reconvened nuclear talks may be the last there are
SEPTEMBER 14, 2005
Six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear issue were to resume in Beijing yesterday after a five-week recess. With no sign of softening by Pyongyang or Washington, swift progress is unlikely. However, a wider, if ambiguous, engagement process is gaining momentum.
The first ever North Korea-focused investment fund was launched yesterday. The London-based Chosun Development and Investment Fund seeks $50 million to invest in saleable sectors, mainly minerals. Its principal, Colin McAskill, has done business with Pyongyang since 1978. He once tried to broker a deal on North Korea's London Club debt, now totaling - with interest - $1.6 billion, on which it has defaulted since 1976.
[Economic reforms] [Opening]
North Korea FLIRTS CAPITALISM
North Korea's Kim Allows Tentative Stirrings of Profit Motive
Bloomberg Market February 2006
Imported cars and pay for performance mark the first tentataive stirrings of the profit motive in one of the world's last Stalinist regime.
By Bradley K. Martin
Dec. 28 (Bloomberg) -- A sign of North Korea's fledgling moves toward a market economy can be found at the Pyongyang
monument commemorating the 1945 founding of the Workers' Party. Beneath a 50-meter-tall rendition of the party's logo -- a hammer,
sickle and writing brush -- sits a street photographer.
A handmade sign displays her price list and sample photos, mostly of groups of North Korean visitors, with the monument as
The photographer is one of countless sidewalk entrepreneurs -- most of them selling food and drink -- who have set up shop in
North Korea since 2002. Before that, they would have been hauled off to re-education camps for profiteering. In the late 1990s,
North Korea's Civil Law Dictionary described merchants as a class to be eradicated because they ``buy goods from producers at a low
price and sell them to consumers at a high price by way of fraud, deceit and spoils.''
Since then, the party newspaper, Rodong Shinmun, has quoted Kim Jong Il, who's held supreme power since the 1994 death of his
father, Kim Il Sung, as favoring profits under socialist economic management.
North Korea, one of the world's last Stalinist regimes, has gradually begun permitting commerce. On a four-day visit to
Pyongyang, the capital, in October -- arranged and scripted by the government -- a group of 17 Western journalists got a glimpse of
the changes. Clean, new restaurants were packed with paying customers while the streets -- almost empty in 1979 and only
lightly traveled in '89 and '92 -- bustled with bicycles, motorbikes and Japanese sedans.
[Economic reforms] [Marketisation]
The Chosun Development & Investment Fund LP
The Chosun Development & Investment Fund LP (the 'Fund'), focused specifically on exploiting investment opportunities in The Democratic People's Republic of Korea ('DPRK' or 'North Korea') is now ready to be launched.
Its design and structure have required careful planning and result from diligent pursuit of an objective to ensure that this private commercial initiative converges with political reality.
Critical to its structure and the future success of the Fund has been assembling a fully-qualified management team, establishing essential partnerships, and securing the support of a collaborative Board of Directors to assure full transparency.
A key element of this initiative is the partnership established between Anglo-Sino Capital Partners Limited (Anglo-Sino), the Fund Manager, and Koryo Asia Limited, the Investment Advisors to the Fund Manager.
The combined management team of the partnership comprises:
Robert (Robin) Fox CBE (Chairman designate of Anglo-Sino); Stephen Hill; Colin McAskill (Chairman of KoryoAsia); Anthony Moody; William Wang and Lynn Turk. Additional professional expertise is available and will be brought in as required.
Seoul and Pyongyang set dates for economic talks
May 30, 2006 ? South Korea has accepted a North Korean counterproposal to hold a new round of economic talks on June 3-6, a Unification Ministry official said yesterday.
Seoul sent a telephone message early in the morning agreeing to Pyongyang's proposal to hold the 12th round of economic talks on the South Korean island province of Jeju, the official said on condition of anonymity.
Seoul had originally proposed to hold the meeting on Jeju on June 1-4, but Pyongyang replied with the counterproposal in a telephone message on Thursday.
Bankruptcy Casts Shadow Over Kaesong Complex
A kitchenware manufacturer that was among the first to move to the joint Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex in the North in 2004 went bankrupt not long afterwards. The firm was picked despite being in serious trouble already, prompting suspicions of irregularities in the selection process. The prospect of recovering the hefty startup loan from the Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Fund looks dim.
Living Art was one of only 15 companies chosen from among 136 hopefuls in June 2004. Korean Land Corporation, which was in charge of selection together with the Unification Ministry and the Export-Import Bank of Korea, at the time stressed it would choose only financially sound businesses.
But Living Art went belly-up early in 2005, stopped all activities and sold its plants. As of at the end of May, It had yet to submit its audit report for last year to the Financial Supervisory Service.
In September 2004, soon after the company was selected, its South Korea plant and facilities in Incheon were temporarily seized and put up for auction, but only a month later it was given a loan of W3 billion (US$3 million) from Exim Bank. A financial expert says it is hard to understand how that could happen. Sonoko Cuisineware, an affiliate of Living Art, still makes cookers in Kaesong but is in serious financial trouble because of the Living Art bankruptcy.
Living Art released first products from the Kaesong Industrial Complex in December 2004 and held a grand celebration attended by politicians and officials from the Unification Ministry and Korea Land Corporation. The products were sold in Korean departments stores.
Fruit Farms in Korea Take on Fresh Looks
Pyongyang, May 28 (KCNA) -- Fruit farms across the country are taking on fresh looks through a dynamic drive to cultivate new specimen of fruit trees. Scientific research institutes in the field of agriculture and different nurseries produced 1.5 million saplings of new species of apple trees last year alone by making vigorous endeavors to acclimatize high-yielding fruit species to the climatic and soil conditions of Korea for five years.
Fruit farms in Hwangju, North Hwanghae Province, Onchon, South Phyongan Province, and other parts of the country significantly increased the area of fields under short apple trees which bear fruits faster than other species, bringing the area of fields under apple trees of new species to hundreds of hectares.
Pear trees of new species on Pyongyang, Myonggan and other fruit farms have produced sweet and delicious fruits over the last two years.
The cultivation of peach trees of new species has also proved successful in orchards in different parts of the country. For example, a peach weighed 350-400g last year.
The area of fields under grape of new species is on the yearly increase in various fruit farms including the Sariwon fruit farm in North Hwanghae Province that has turned into a farm specializing in the grape cultivation.
Meanwhile, persimmon-apricot trees are widely distributed in the areas south of Pyongyang and fruit farms in Unpha, Pongsan and other areas prove successful in cultivating jujube trees fruits of which are incomparably rich in vitamin and sugar content and more fragrant than native species of jujube.
The Rails Are Geopolitics: Linking North and South Korea and Beyond
Yonhap News and Georgy Bulychev
Japan Focus 29 May 2006
[The resumption of the railroad link between North and South Korea is emblematic of warming North-South relations and a key to the geopolitics and geoeconomics of Northeast Asia and beyond. This is a two part article on the the significance of the North-South railroad line crossing Korea's DMZ and linking Korea with China, Russia and Europe. The South Korean Yonhap New Agency details the last-minute cancellation of the test run scheduled for May 25, 2006. Russian analyst Georgy Bulychev examines the geopolitics of the project and its importance for North-South and regional accommodation and cooperation.]
Koreas to Hold Economic Talks
By Seo Dong-shin
The government Monday accepted North Korea's proposal to hold bilateral economic cooperation talks from June 3-6 on Cheju Island, the Unification Ministry said Monday.
Inter-Korean Economic Talks to Be Held Early Next Month
SEOUL (Yonhap) _ North Korea on Thursday accepted South Korea's proposal to hold a new round of economic talks in Cheju Island early next month, an official at the Ministry of Unification said.
Pyongyang sent a telegram agreeing to the proposal to hold the 12th round of economic talks in Cheju, but requested a later date, the official said, requesting anonymity.
Korean Manufacturing in China: the End of an Affair?
Not so long ago, China was the promised land for Korean textile and footwear companies that felt stifled by labor costs and regulations at home. The country offered labor for less than 1/10 of what Koreans demanded, provided benefits in taxes and land use, and workers there never went on a strike. The majority of such companies, over 7,000 of them, started settling in Qingdao in the late 1980s. But they have had a rude awakening.
The combined business results of foreign companies doing business in Qingdao in 2005 show that some 70 percent of Korean companies there are suffering losses, an official with the city government says. Why? There are four broad reasons: sharp increases in labor costs caused by labor shortages in coastal areas like the city, which was created by the nation's fast economic growth; better welfare for Chinese workers; tighter environmental regulations; and cutbacks in benefits for foreign investors.
As China's service industry develops rapidly, workers in the manufacturing industry are abandoning manufacturing. In some areas on the coast, the problem is so serious that mere recruitment ads cannot solve it, and that is hitting the Korean firms hard.
Then labor costs rose. The city's minimum wage jumped by 29.3 percent from 410 yuan (W49,000) to 530 yuan (W63,000) last year. Medical insurance, welfare and unemployment insurance and pension plans also grew.
If workers are covered by all of China's five major insurances as stipulated by law, companies bear an additional burden equivalent to some 30 percent of worker's average income. When various subsidies are taken into account, such as housing assistance and union contributions, which demand 2 percent of wages from the company, indirect labor costs increase to 52 percent of staff pay, a Korean Embassy official in China said.
So now more and more Korean manufacturers are leaving for inland areas including Xian and Guangxi. Firms without enough technological capability and core competitiveness move about the country, and a lot of them simply "shut down and disappear under cover of darkness," the CEO of a small company working there said.
Korea's Economy Is Losing Its Hold
Korean textile businesses that moved to China to survive in the face of spiraling costs at home are closing down, having been defeated in competition with their local counterparts. Ten out of 16 firms that settled in Qingdao, Shandong Province, it is said, have already shut down or moved on to Southeast Asia where wages are lower.
The technological gap in the textile industry between Korea and China has all but gone, and that means Chinese companies are pouring cheaper products into our country. One report has it that every six or seven out of 10 items of clothing sold here are Chinese. The Korean textile industry is being overwhelmed by our giant neighbor.
If things remain as they are today, SERI says, Korea will fall back into a third-world status, a mere tool buffeted between China and Japan. We thought we stood at the threshold of becoming a developed nation thanks to the hard work of preceding generations, but the ground is slippery and we are losing our hold. [China competition]
China No Promised Land for Korean Textile Firms
QINGDAO -- Korean textile industries flocked to China in droves in the 1990s following wig makers, tanners and shoemakers because the labor-intensive industries could no longer withstand the increases in Korean labor costs. But 10 years on they are tasting the bitter fruits of failure.
Due to China's improving technology, price offensives and knockoff brands, the Korean textile companies there are in crisis. The failure of Korean textile firms in Qingdao is spreading to some 7,000 other Korean firms in Shandong including wig makers and tanners. That means they must move once again, either into China's technologically backwards hinterland or to Southeast Asia.
[China competition] [FDI] [Globalisation]
Protocol of 9th Meeting of Forestry Sub-Com. Signed between DPRK and Russia
Pyongyang, May 24 (KCNA) -- A protocol of the 9th meeting of the Forestry Sub-committee of the Committee for Cooperation in Trade, Economy and Science and Technology between the governments of the DPRK and the Russian Federation was signed here on Wednesday. At the signing ceremony, the protocol was inked by Ri Jin Son, vice-minister of Forestry, from the DPRK side and Ivan Matsyorov, vice-minister of Industry and Energy who is leading the Russian delegation of forestry, from the Russian side.
Seoul Could Join N.Korean Special Zone Project: Official
A senior government official says President Roh Moo-hyun was referring to measures that would help North Korea develop, including the designated Shinuiju Special Economic Zone, when he promised "institutional and material support" if the Pyongyang agrees to a summit. Lee Su-hoon, the chairman of the Presidential Committee on Northeast Asian Cooperation Initiatives, on Wednesday provided the belated gloss on the president's remarks in Mongolia earlier this month.
[Special Economic Zones]
DPRK and Brazil Sign Trade Agreement
Pyongyang, May 23 (KCNA) -- An agreement on trade between the governments of the DPRK and Brazil was signed here on Tuesday. The agreement was inked by DPRK Minister of Foreign Trade Rim Kyong Man and Brazilian Ambassador to the DPRK Luiz Augusto de Castro Neves.
Industrial Establishments Undergo Update in DPRK
Pyongyang, May 23 (KCNA) -- Efforts are being made to update facilities in all units and sectors of the national economy in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in accordance with the requirements of the new century. Among them is the Sin Pho Hyang Cast Iron Workshop of the Rakwon Machine Complex. Leader Kim Jong Il went round the workshop in December last year and was greatly satisfied to see the stream-line production processes equipped with the ultra modern technology, quality castings and clean working site.
Officials, technicians and workers of the Pyongyang 326 Electric Wire Factory have put all the production processes on a modern and scientific basis to go with the requirements of the IT era and refurbished the interior and exterior of the factory. Similar work has been done in the Munchon Kumgang Smeltery to completely free workers of various workshops from labor-consuming work
Wal-Mart joins Carrefour in leaving Korea
May 23, 2006 ? Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, said yesterday it was pulling out of the Korean market after eight years of doing business here.
Korea was Wal-Mart's second foray into Asian markets; it began here with four outlets and later expanded to 16. The U.S. retail giant opened its first Asian outlets in China in 1996, two years before coming here.
At a press conference yesterday, Wal-Mart and Shinsegae executives announced the sale of Wal-Mart's Korean assets to the nation's largest retailer. Shinsegae, which runs the E-Mart discount chain, paid 825 billion won ($877 million) for Wal-Mart's assets here.
Joe Hatfield, the president of Wal-Mart Asia, told the press conference that his company's decision was based on an analysis that the company could not move up to second or third position in the retail market here in the next four or five years.
Beth Keck, the company's spokeswoman, said, "We want to be able to grow in a market, and we saw it would be quite slow at this point in time."
Wal-Mart is the second foreign mass retailer to fold its tent in Korea in the last month. In late April, Carrefour of France sold its stores here to Eland, another local retailer.
Wal-Mart has been struggling in Korea, losing 9.9 billion won last year on revenues of 728.8 billion won. It ranks last in sales among the five mass retailers in the market.
Shinsegae, which bid unsuccessfully for Carrefour Korea, sounded self-satisfied. "With the acquisition, we are now in a situation where we can manage business in Korea with stability," said Koo Hak-su, the president of Shinsegae. "We will now focus more on our E-Mart business in China," he added.
The Estimate of North Korea's Foreign Trade in 2005 (May 15, 2006)
North Korea's foreign trade amounted to a total of 3,001 million USD, a 5.1 % increase on a year-on-year basis from the previous 2,857 million USD in 2004. Its export recorded 998 million USD, a 2.1 % decrease from 1,020 million USD in 2004. The imports totaled 2,003 million USD, a 9.1 % increase from 1,837 million USD in 2004. As a result, the balance of trade recorded a deficit of 1,005 million USD, a slight increase compared to that of 2004, which recorded 817 million USD.
80 % of the North's trade was conducted with countries in the Asia and Pacific regions. The transactions with the EU countries totaled 292 million USD, showing a 12 % increase on a year-on-year basis, compared to 261 million USD in 2004.
The rise in the North's foreign trade can be attributed to an increase in exports of raw materials to China and Thailand and crude oil price hikes. North Korea is expected to seek expansion of trade with the major trading countries and diverse trading partners
[Foreign trade] [Statistics]
Successes in Water Conservancy
Pyongyang, May 19 (KCNA) -- Sixty years have passed since the ground-breaking ceremony of the River Pothong improvement project. President Kim Il Sung initiated the project after national liberation and turned the first sod for it with a spade on May 21, Juche 35 (1946).
The project, which could not be done for one decade during the Japanese imperialists' colonial rule, was completed within only 55 days, 15 days ahead of schedule, by the patriotic zeal of people under the wise leadership of the President.
Ministers to Attend Test Run on Inter-Korean Railways
By Seo Dong-shin
South and North Korea on Friday reached an agreement that minister-level officials will participate in the test-run ceremonies for two railway tracks crossing the inter-Korean border next Thursday, according to the Ministry of Unification.
On the second and last day of working-level talks on inter-Korean economic cooperation in Kaesong, North Korea, the two sides drew up detailed arrangements on the test-run ceremonies, which will mark the first trains crossing the inter-Korean border in 55 years.
According to the agreement, Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok will go to the test run on the western Kyongui line that will be conducted between Munsan in the South and Kaesong. From the North, Kwon Ho-ung, Lee's counterpart in inter-Korean ministerial talks, will be present.
Words of Warning From the Minister Mentor
Lee Kuan Yew Calls for More Stability in Korea
Singapore's former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew during a lecture in Seoul on Thursday said China will in 20 years' time replace Korea in everything the country does today. The major industries now supporting Korea will all move to China, he warned. And while Korean businesses are now active in China, it will be China that invests in Korea a decade or two from now. It won't be long before Korean workers serve a Chinese master.
So where can Korea find a new source of growth? It must continuously develop new industries and products that China cannot catch up with, Lee suggests. It must produce several "Bill Gateses" and put more capital and manpower into venture capital businesses. And it must foster talent in the right place.
While Lee speaks of a time 20 years hence, we can barely be assured of surviving the next decade. The number of Korean products with the world's biggest share fell from 63 in 2003 to 59 in 2004, while the number of such Chinese products rose from 760 to 833. That is because Korea is being pushed aside by China in the medium technology sector -- from TV sets to washing machines. The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy forecast a while ago that the technology gap between Korea and China in high-tech fields like mobile communication, display panels and rechargeable batteries will also narrow to no more than a year by 2010. [China competition]
Preparing for inter-Korean railway runs
Preparing for inter-Korean railway runs: Lee Chul, center, president of the Korea Railroad Corporation (Korail) and two other Korail officials examine railways at Torasan Station in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Wednesday. The two Koreas have agreed to conduct test runs on two inter-Korean railway lines that have remained closed for the past 55 years. [photo]
Results of the 12th Inter-Korean Working-level Contact on the Reconnection of Railways and Roads
ROK MoU (May 13, 2006)
The South and the North held the 12th Inter-Korean Working-level Contact on the Reconnection of Railways and Roads from May 11 to 12, 2006 at the Office of Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation in Gaeseong, North Korea.
The two parties agreed to conduct test runs of trains both on the Gyeongui Line and Donghae Line on May 25, and agreed to consult on and determine specific issues regarding the trial operation of trains through the exchange of documents at an earliest possible date.
In order to ensure smooth operation of railways and trains, they also agreed on the construction of communication networks, the establishment and operation of a train service office, the holding of the 1st meeting of the joint committee on operation of railways and roads as soon as possible, and so on.
In addition, the two Koreas agreed on the following point : the South will provide the North with construction materials that are necessary for the final works on the reconnection of railways located in the North Korean region.
Hints of capitalism at fair in Pyongyang
May 19, 2006 ? PYONGYANG ? In a rare visit to this reclusive communist country, a group of South Korean government officials, journalists, businessmen and economic experts attended a series of investment promotion events arranged this week by the North Korean government.
At a trade fair, South Koreans toured bustling booths set up by North Korean and foreign firms, and witnessed North Koreans buying goods there with U.S. dollars in their hands ? an indication that Pyongyang's limited foray into capitalism, which began in 2002, is slowly progressing in the North's strictly controlled economy.
The delegates on Wednesday visited the 9th Pyongyang International Trade Fair, where 196 companies from 12 countries set up booths. The delegates were allowed to look around the fair freely. Of the participating firms, 21 were from North Korea and the rest came from 12 other countries, including China, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Italy and Thailand.
At the fair, Jeil Trust Bank, a North Korean bank, advertised its savings account programs for foreign currency deposits. Cars, bicycles, tires and machinery made in the North were also displayed.
About 1,000 Pyongyang residents and North Korean businessmen also attended the fair, and most flocked around the sales booths of Chinese appliances
NK Border Train Crossing Possible
By Seo Dong-shin
Former President Kim Dae-jung is likely to cross the inter-Korean border by train but will have to travel between the North Korean border town of Kaesong and the capital city of Pyongyang by car, sources at the Unification Ministry said Thursday.
SPA Discusses Cabinet's Tasks,
State Budget and Development of Science and Technology
The DPRK convened the 4th session of the 11th Supreme People's Assembly at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang on April 11.
The session discussed the following three items on the agenda, "On the review of the work of the DPRK Cabinet in 2005 and its tasks for 2006," "On the results of the implementation of the state budget of the DPRK for 2005 and its state budget for 2006" and "On stepping up the development of science and technology to give strong impetus to the building of a great prosperous powerful nation."
Deputy to SPA Pak Pong Ju, premier of the Cabinet, made a report on the first agenda item.
Report on Work of Cabinet in 2005 and Its Tasks for 2006
By Premier Pak Pong Ju
The Cabinet planned and conducted economic work with main stress on increasing grain production, completing major objects of construction and of reconstruction and modernization and rejuvenating overall industrial production in reliance upon the already built economic foundation by concentrating and mobilizing all potentials of the country, while implementing up to the hilt the line of economic construction in the era of Songun under the wise leadership of the Workers' Party of Korea.
Report on the results of the implementation of state budget of the DPRK for 2005 and state budget for 2006
By Vice Premier Ro Tu Chol
The general march for Songun revolution was dynamically made last year to mark the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the Workers' Party of Korea and the 60th anniversary of the country's liberation as grand festivals of victors under the Party's Songun revolutionary leadership and as a result great achievements were made in the production and construction and the state budget was satisfactorily implemented.
The state budgetary revenue last year was fulfilled at 100.8 percent as compared with that under plan or jump of 16.1 percent over that in the previous year.
The revenue coming from profits of state enterprises showed an increase of 14.2 percent over that in the previous year, that from the profits of cooperative organizations 24.3 percent, that from social insurance 5.7 percent and that from others 0.3 percent. The local budgetary revenue was fulfilled at 114.2 percent as compared with that under plan.
Korean Ginseng Revitalizes the World
In early April, Chang Kyung-seop got a moving e-mail from a Iranian man. The message to Chang, an official in Korea Ginseng Corporation's overseas department, said the Iranian's 17-year-old son, who has cancer, saw his pain reduced and appetite increase after he started drinking Korean red ginseng tea he was given by an acquaintance. "It is a very urgent issue," he said. "Can I get more Korean red ginseng tea?" Chang says that is just one of many positive responses he has been getting since Korean ginseng started selling around the world.
This year, Korean ginseng rules the global market again. The nation aims to export US$100 million worth of ginseng this year, an increase of more than 30 percent from last year's $75 million. Yet exports declined 15 percent last year from the $89 million worth of ginseng exported in 2004. The slide was due to the global economic downturn and decreasing price competitiveness caused by the strong won, allowing low-priced ginseng from China, the U.S. and Canada to eat into Korea's market share.
Korea is not the world's no. 1 in terms of ginseng production. That is China, which produces 52,000 tons of the root to account for 67 percent of global production. Korea follows with 16,000 tons (20 percent), ahead of Canada with 6,000 tons (7 percent) and the U.S. with 2,100 tons (3 percent). Recently, countries like Australia and Germany have also started producing ginseng.
North's facilities 'better than expected'
May 17, 2006 ? PYONGYANG ? A group of 72 South Korean businessmen, government officials, academics and journalists toured a manufacturing company in the capital of communist North Korea yesterday, the second day of their visit. The delegates also visited the Korea Computer Center and the Grand People's Study Hall ? the country's central library ? and attended an investment promotion session conducted by the North's Trade Ministry.
During their visit to the Pyongyang March 26 Cable Factory, the group surveyed production lines and automated manufacturing facilities as well as finished products. They were allowed to speak to the factory managers, who oversee 1,500 workers producing 10,000 cable products. With $2 million investment from pro-Pyongyang Koreans overseas, the factory upgraded its facilities recently.
"We hope to adopt the more advanced technology of the South in the future," Kim Seok-nam, head manager of the plant, said. "I want to nurture this factory, one of the most representative plants in Pyongyang, as a global manufacturer."
Mr. Kim said the factory is operated 24 hours a day in three shifts. "We purchased a Swedish wire drawing machine recently and that reduced our electricity consumption and increased production."
The South Korean visitors expressed surprise that the North Korean factory was better equipped than they had expected it to be.
"There is still room for improvement, but the North's manufacturing facilities are much more modernized than I thought," said Hwang Eun-yeon, a manager with Posco. "With South Korea's support and cooperation, the North will be able to make improved products."
The South Koreans toured the Korea Computer Center, a state-run software developer. The North's word processor program and a medical test program were presented to the rare South Korean visitors. A cerebral vessel measurement machine, developed by the computer center, is currently on sale in the South at the price of $20,000 per unit. Among the delegates, the businessmen showed particular interest in a Korean version of the Linux operation system that had been developed by the North.
"We have sent 200 specialists to China for training and joint development," Kim Chol-ho, vice president of the computer center, said. "We want more active exchanges with South Korean information technology companies."
The computer center was built in 1990 with funding from North Korean residents in Japan, and the Cabinet's software industry bureau has been overseeing the institute since 2002. The center employs about 1,500 elite graduates of North Korea's science schools with special funding from the government.
The delegates also attended an investment relation session hosted by the North's Trade Ministry in the afternoon. The group is scheduled to attend the International Trade Fair and visit a glass product manufacturer today.
by Special Reporting Team
US Investors to Visit Kaesong Complex
By Kim Yon-se
Several companies from the United States will participate in the first investor relations (IR) session of the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea on June 22.
According to Hyundai Asan, North Korea is mulling over sending invitations to about 90 foreign companies for its first international IR session. ``Among the 90 foreign firms are U.S. investors,'' a company spokesman told The Korea Times Wednesday.
The U.S. government has expressed unfavorable views about the industrial park in the North Korea's southern border city of Kaesong.
``Firms from many countries have applied for the one-day Kaesong tour and IR session,'' the spokesman said. ``We've seen several brands from the U.S. About 150 individuals from the 90 firms will visit.''
However, he declined to identify companies, but said companies from English-speaking countries account for a majority on the list.
[Kaesong] [Friction] [Sanctions] [FDI]
Test Run to Start for S-N Railways
By Seo Dong-shin
South and North Korea have agreed to conduct test runs of two cross-border railways on May 25, 55 years after they were cut-off during the Korean War (1950-1953).
The agreement was made at a three-day working-level meeting for linking inter-Korean roads and railways, which ended Saturday in Kaesong, North Korea.
Business groups eye investment prospects in North
May 16, 2006 ? PYONGYANG ? A group of 60 South Korean businessmen and government officials arrived here yesterday to attend the Pyongyang International Trade Fair and inspect other factories and businesses in North Korea.
During the six-day visit, the delegates will also listen to investment presentations at a seminar conducted by Pyongyang officials.
The visit of the South Korean team was linked informally by its sponsors, the Korea Development Institute and the JoongAng Ilbo, to an agreement in April 2002 between the two governments to exchange economic survey missions. Reporters from the newspaper were also allowed to accompany the delegation, a somewhat unusual gesture by the North Korean authorities.
A team from North Korea did conduct such a tour in the South in October 2002, but that visit has not been officially reciprocated. Although not sponsored by the South Korean government, Seoul officials on the delegation said, it could be considered an economic survey team.
The group from Seoul will be the first to attend the Pyongyang International Trade Fair, the ninth of its kind.
Seoul wants Kaesong included in FTA: draft
May 16, 2006 ? South Korea clarified yesterday that it aims to include goods made at an industrial zone in North Korea in a free trade deal with the United States despite Washington's apparent opposition.
In the first round of talks next month aimed at establishing the free trade accord, Seoul will try to persuade Washington to allow products made at the Kaesong business park just north of the inter-Korean border to have preferential tariff status in the United States, South Korea's trade ministry said in a statement.
"South Korea aims to find ground whereby the United States will recognize the goods made in Kaesong," the ministry said in a statement.
The so-called Kaesong issue is one of the thorniest issues on the bargaining table for Seoul and Washington during the trade talks, experts say.
Per-capita GNI reaches $14,000
May 16, 2006 ? Korea's per-capita gross national income (GNI) fell to the world's 50th largest in 2004, while its economy was ranked 11th, the nation's central bank said yesterday.
Korea's per-capita gross national income reached $14,000 in 2004, falling by a notch to 50th among 208 nations, the Bank of Korea said, citing an annual World Bank publication, World Development Indicators 2006.
It fell below Portugal, whose per-capita GNI was the world's 49th largest with $14,220, and Bahrain, whose per-capita GNI was 48th with $14,370. The No. 1 spot went to Luxembourg with $56,380, while Norway took the second-highest ranking with $51,810.
In terms of gross domestic product (GDP), Korea maintained the world's 11th-highest ranking out of 186 countries with a nominal GDP worth $679.7 billion in 2004. The United States took the No. 1 spot, followed by Japan and Germany.
9th Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair Opens
Pyongyang, May 15 (KCNA) -- The 9th Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair opened at the Three-Revolution Exhibition on Monday. Present at the opening ceremony were Vice-Premier of the Cabinet Ro Tu Chol, Minister of Foreign Trade Rim Kyong Man, Chairman of the Pyongyang City People's Committee Ryang Man Gil, officials concerned and delegations from the DPRK and different countries and regions participating in the fair.
Groundbreaking for Kaesong Apartment
South Korea's state-run industrial complex operator said Tuesday it will break ground on Wednesday for a combined factory and residential building in North Korea that will house 40 labor-intensive firms from the South.
Scheduled for completion around June 2007, the ``factory apartment'' will be built on a 13,200-square-meter lot in Kaesong near the inter-Korean border to help the companies harness cheap but skilled North Korean labor, the Korea Industrial Complex Corp. (KICOX) said.
Koreas agree to test rail runs May 25
May 15, 2006 ? North and South Korea agreed over the weekend to conduct trial operations of two newly rejoined cross-border railroads on May 25.
The agreement would be a boost to the project, which was begun with a flourish but has floundered since, reportedly because of objections by North Korea's military leaders. Former President Kim Dae-jung, who wants to visit North Korea again in June, perhaps spurred the project forward by his stated wish to travel to Pyongyang by rail, although it is unclear that the test runs could make such travel possible.
At the 12th round of railroad talks that ended early Saturday morning, the two Koreas scheduled pilot runs of a train each on the Gyeongui and East Coast rail lines, which generally bracket the peninsula. The Gyeongui line connects Seoul and Sinuiju, a North Korean city on the border with China; the East Coast line connects Yangyang in Gangwon province with Wonsan, a port city in eastern North Korea.
The last train rumbled across what is now the Demilitarized Zone 55 years ago, in June 1951. But on May 25, if all goes well, a five-car train from the South carrying 100 government officials and journalists will travel from Munsan to the North Korean city of Kaesong.
On the other side of the peninsula, a similar train with a similar number of passengers will come south from Mount Kumgang to Jejin in South Korea.
DPRK-Syria Joint Economic Committee Meets
Pyongyang, May 14 (KCNA) -- The 4th meeting of the DPRK-Syria Joint Economic Committee took place here on May 13 and 14. Present there were members of a DPRK government economic delegation headed by Minister of Foreign Trade Rim Kyong Man and members of a Syrian government economic delegation headed by Minister of Economy and Commerce Amer Hosni Lutfi and Syrian Charge d'Affaires ad Interim in Pyongyang Muhammad Adib Al Hani.
The meeting reviewed the implementation of the protocol of the 3rd meeting of the committee and discussed issues of boosting the bilateral cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, science and technology.
Hyundai besieged by Japanese, Chinese rivals
Korea's leading carmaker under intensifying competition in U.S., China markets
When Chung Mong-koo, the then barely-known scion of industrial tycoon Chung Ju-young, took the helm of Hyundai Automotive Group in 1999, the automaker was seriously considering a withdrawal from the world's biggest market - the United States.
Though American consumers are considered to be mostly price-conscious, the poor performance of Hyundai engines and frequent problems with the cars meant that even despite their competitive price tag, the automaker's market share was almost nonexistent after a decade of effort.
Chung's dramatic and sweeping changes, from assembly lines to boardrooms, eventually made Hyundai Motor Co. one of the biggest threats to U.S. and Japanese carmakers in recent years.
However, the bigger Hyundai gets, it is increasingly becoming mired in intensifying competition among global players, and is badly in need of another major leap forward in the market.
"The combined net income of Hyundai Motor is estimated at around 2 trillion won ($2.4 billion) in 2006, which means its stock price trades at around 12.8 times the earning. The figures are not attractive, compared to local and overseas rivals," said Kim Hag-ju, an analyst at Samsung Securities Co.
While the fast-improving quality and low pricing handed a big competitive edge to the Seoul-based company in recent years, global competitors now increasingly threaten the company's hard-earned global presence.
As U.S. and Japanese car giants improve quality to grab a bigger slice of the small to mid-size segment, and Chinese start-ups push ultra-cheap vehicles overseas, Hyundai's profitability is being squeezed.
Kospi to trade yen and euro futures
May 12, 2006 ? Korea's main bourse plans to trade yen and euro futures later this month to meet the growing demand for foreign currency hedging, the nation's top financial watchdog said yesterday.
Kim Jong Il Gives On-site Guidance to Newly Built Pig Farm
(KCNA) -- Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission, gave on-the-spot guidance to pig farm No. 110 newly built by KPA servicepersons. After being briefed on the farm before a huge painting showing its panoramic view, he looked round the exterior and interior of the farm to learn in detail how it was built and is being operated
DPRK and China Cooperate in Economy and Trade
. Pyongyang, May 9 (KCNA) -- The second meeting of the DPRK-China Economic, Trade and Scientific and Technological Cooperation Committee was held at the People's Palace of Culture Tuesday. Present at the meeting were members of the DPRK government economic and trade delegation led by Vice-Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Ryong Nam and members of the Chinese government economic and trade delegation led by Vice-Minister of Commerce Ma Xiuhong and Chinese Ambassador to the DPRK Wu Donghe. .
The meeting discussed issues of boosting the economic cooperation and trade relations between the two countries.
Trade Between North Korea, China Surges
By BO-MI LIM, Associated Press Writer
Mon May 8, 1:14 PM ET
SEOUL, South Korea - Trade between North Korea and China rose to a record last year as the North becomes increasingly dependent on its No. 1 trade partner for food and energy, a South Korean trade agency said Monday.
The volume of trade between the two countries rose 14 percent in 2005 from the year before to a record $1.58 billion, according to South Korea's state-run Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, or KOTRA.
Two-thirds of that trade was made up of North Korean imports from China, which grew 35.2 percent year-on-year to $1.08 billion, much of it food and energy
NORTH KOREA'S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
AND EXTERNAL RELATIONS
NORTH KOREA'S INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC RELATIONS: TRENDS AND
by Oh Seung-yul
North Korea's Economy
Korea Economic Institute
Korea's 2004 ranking dips in global market
May 08, 2006 ? A total of 59 items made by Korean companies held the No. 1 status in global market share in 2004, a report showed yesterday.
According to the report by the Korea International Trade Association, Korea ranked 17th in the number of items dominating the global market. The number from 2004, however, was slightly lower than the 62 top items the previous year, the report showed. The 2005 figures have yet to be compiled.
The report said that Korea held the No. 1 status for 20 textile and clothing items, followed by nine steel products, four ship products and one each in electronics and telecommunications gadgets.
Germany had the largest global market share with 851 items. China ranked second with 833 items and the United States third with 704.
"Most of the Korean items have already consolidated their market position (with no immediate fear of losing ground)," KITA said in the report.
"However, things are changing because of China, which is expanding influence not just in light industries, but also heavy ones," it added, urging local companies to step up efforts to create new and innovative items to lead the global market.
Poll shows wide support for U.S. trade agreement
May 06, 2006 ? More than 60 percent of the public supports a free trade agreement with the United States, according to a recent public poll conducted by Joong Ang Ilbo, the East Asia Institute and Hankook Research.
Supporters of both the governing and the major opposition parties voiced support for a deal with the United States, an issue that has stirred up controversy in Korea recently.
However, most supporters of the far-left Democratic Labor Party disapprove of a free trade agreement.
The poll, held April 19 and 20, first asked 1,000 citizens nationwide over the age of 19 which party they support. They were then asked their views on a number of controversial issues, to see if the parties' positions were in line with their supporters' views.
The poll showed discord in some controversial issues between the party and its supporters. Many of the people polled also agreed on several controversial issues, regardless of their party affiliation. Some political analysts said the poll results show that political parties are stirring up the controversies for political benefit.
One example was the linking of North Korean aid to the North Korean nuclear issue. The Uri Party is against the idea of linking the two issues, but more than 75 percent of the respondents who identified themselves as Uri supporters said they support tying the issues together.
The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.
Asian common currency not to come in short term!
VNECONOMY updated: 24/02/2006
It is now too early to talk about issuance of an Asian common currency despite increasing economic independence between countries in this region.
Many mistake the Asian Currency Unit (ACU) which will be launched by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in March or April this year for an Asian common currency (note or coin).
Such an understanding views the ACU similar to the euro which is circulating in the world. ADB representative at Manila (Philippines) headquarters talked with VnEconomy about this issuing plan.
[Asian Economic Integration]
Pan Asian Free Trade Area Could be Region's Future, Indian PM Tells ADB Annual Meeting Opening
HYDERABAD, INDIA - A pan Asian Free Trade Area could be the future of the region, India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told the formal opening of ADB's 39th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors in Hyderabad today.
India has concluded numerous free trade agreements with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Singapore, and Thailand, and is working on similar arrangements with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Japan, People's Republic of China and Republic of Korea, he said.
"This web of engagements may herald an eventual free trade area in Asia covering all major Asian economies and possibly extending to Australia and New Zealand," he said.
[Asian Economic Integration] [India]
Asia Begins Work on Single Currency
By Na Jeong-ju
Korea Times Correspondent
HIDERABAD _ South Korea, China and Japan have agreed to form a task force within this year to produce a roadmap for the creation of a common Asian currency, mimicking the euro.
``South Korea, China and Japan have agreed on the concept of an Asian Currency Unit (ACU), and will start discussions for its creation this year, in an effort to promote financial integration of Asia,'' Deputy Prime Minister and Finance and Economy Minister Han Duck-soo told reporters.
Han made the comment after meeting with China's Jin Renqing and Japan's Sadakazu Tanigaki at the 6th meeting of finance ministers of the three neighbors, held on the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank (ADB)'s annual meeting here.
[Asian Economic Integration ]
Business group protest sanctions
The Pyongyang-based European Business Group in North Korea yesterday called for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. economic sanctions unless allegations of money laundering and counterfeiting can be substantiated, preferably in court.
In a press release the EBG said, "The resident European business community is of the opinion that one of the main effects of the allegations and corresponding measures taken against North Korean and foreign banks and enterprises is to damage legitimate North Korean and foreign businesses, without halting illegal business, assuming there is any."
US Misses-Mines-for-Nukes Opportunity
by Peter Hayes
Special Report 06-34A: May 2nd, 2006
Peter Hayes, Executive Director of the Nautilus Institute, writes, "while the United States is chasing the DPRK regime's loose change in the short term to apply pressure, the regime is investing in minerals development, niche markets for exporting cheap labor or embodied labor, a boot-strapping service sector, and real estate development on the DMZ that combined, represent a long-term and slowly growing economic foundation for a nuclear-armed DPRK."
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Nautilus Institute. Readers should note that Nautilus seeks a diversity of views and opinions on contentious topics in order to identify common ground.
II. Report by Peter Hayes
At the outset of the US-DPRK Agreed Framework, the DPRK proposed to the United States that US firms invest and refurbish mines as part of expanded cooperation of the kind that could lead to a new security relationship. As I wrote [http://nautilus.org/DPRKBriefingBook/economy/DoesitExist.html] in 2002:
"In 1994, the DPRK identified eight mines that could be refurbished and recommence production for export of minerals such as magnesite and zinc·However, each mine is basically moribund and requires that the limiting conditions such as lack of power (on the order of 5-10 megawatts per mine), rail and road infrastructure, mechanical equipment to mine, process, and transport ore, be overcome simultaneously. Although the global minerals sector is in the doldrums, DPRK mines may be competitive in specific markets. It should also be possible to create innovative frameworks in the early transitional period wherein the DPRK net earnings on minerals exports could be directed to verifiable humanitarian and market-oriented small-scale industrial development in towns and farms surrounding the mine-head. This approach would ensure that the earnings are not dissipated in the military-industrial complex or diverted to military modernization. Each mine may require $5-10 million of external investment from a foreign partner to refurbish and could earn a net $1-2 million per year.
[FDI] [US NK policy]
Asean, Korea sign a free trade pact
May 02, 2006 ? Korea has signed a free trade agreement with nine members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday. Thailand, the 10th Asean member, opted out of the agreement, the ministry said. The final round of negotiations on the pact were held in Cambodia on April 23-28.
The agreement calls for the abolition of tariffs by 2010 on 90 percent of products Korea buys and sells from the members of the association. Seven percent of traded goods will be duty-free or limited to 5-percent duties by 2016, and three percent, the most sensitive goods to any member of the agreement, will continue under tariff or will be protected by non-tariff barriers.
Korea has placed several agricultural products, such as rice, chicken, frozen fish and peppers, on its list of sensitive products that will not be freely traded.
The trade ministry, an element of the foreign ministry, predicted a large expansion of Korea's trade to the region, predicted an eventual enlargement of the market by about $10 billion annually because of the effects of the tariff reductions. The trade group estimated that Korea's surplus in trade with the region would rise by about $6 billion.
But the Asean nations and Korea have not yet reached an agreement on whether products made at the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea would be treated as South Korean goods for purposes of the free trade agreement. The matter will be discussed further at an Asean-South Korea trade ministers' meeting to be held later this month. [Kaesong] [FTA]
Kaesong Goods to Be Included in ASEAN FTA
By Philip Dorsey Iglauer
A diplomat of the Embassy of the Philippines, a key member of the 10-nation ASEAN, said on Sunday that the group's free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea would recognize products made in the Kaesong Industrial Complex, the inter-Korean project, as South Korean products.
``The question is to what extent products originating from Kaesong will be included,'' Third Secretary and Vice Consul Arnel Talisayon at the Philippines Embassy, told The Korea Times, saying that the inclusion of Kaesong products would be considered as South Korean products. Kaesong is a North Korean town near its border with South Korea, with the industrial park being run by Korea's conglomerate Hyundai Group. [Sanctions]
The Tumen River Area Development Programme -Director
TERMS OF REFERENCE
Post Title: Director
Duty Station: Beijing, China
Duration: two years
Background of the Programme:
The Tumen River Area Development Programme (TRADP) has remained as the only intergovernmental cooperation framework in Northeast Asia for more than a decade contributing to peace and stability, economic development in the region. The regional cooperation mechanism, initiated by governments of China, DPRK, Mongolia, ROK and Russia, was strongly supported by the international community, most notably by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). UNDP has extended its financial support from the onset of the programme and stayed committed to the programme. TRADP has significantly progressed in implementing the agreement signed by the member governments in 1995 to promote regional economic cooperation in the Tumen River Economic Development Area and Northeast Asia.
Korean Marketers' Risky Propositions
By Choe Yong-shik
Over the last six months, I have been discussing a wide spectrum of global marketing issues that many Korean corporations face. In doing so, I have come to the conclusion they are still a prisoners of the near-sighted view that marketing depends on competitiveness of products or services in terms of quality and price.
But marketing is a more sophisticated war of brand recognition and perception. It is meaningless to discuss or compare product quality, which is a given in any discussion about marketing. Also the price factor that Koreans firms rely on in overseas markets cannot be seen as a competitive edge but rather something contributing to the humiliating manifestation of their low brand image in global markets.
Pyongyang business group celebrates first anniversary
A year ago today the European Business Association was established in the northern capital of Pyongyang. Bringing together a diverse range of companies involved in banking, shipping, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing, the EBA sees its primary role as a bridge builder, encouraging more European businesses to invest in and do business with North Korea.
"We hope to encourage even more European businesses to come here," Felix Abt, president of the EBA told The Korea Herald.
The association admits that compared to China, for example, there has been comparatively weak interest among European companies. The EBA said this is mainly because there is a lack of awareness in Europe regarding the promising business and investment potential of North Korea.
However, Abt said the past year has seen some notable successes with a number of new European businesses establish themselves in Pyongyang and sign contracts in the mining, electrical equipment and IT sectors.
"More European companies are interested in investing and doing business here which means the membership of the EBA is gradually increasing," he said.
"We have also seen a generally better understanding by our North Korean partners of how European enterprises work, their needs and what realistically can be expected from them," Abt said.
Abt, who is the resident chief representative of a large European manufacturing and trading group, said the EBA sees growing opportunities, particularly in the light industrial and IT sectors.
Obviously, moves by the U.S. Treasury to isolate the Macau-based Banco Delta Asia and its cooperating banks for allegedly facilitating money-laundering activities by the North has had an impact on legitimate businesses in Pyongyang.
Nevertheless, Abt remains upbeat, "When the confiscated funds belonging to the Daedong Credit Bank and its customers are returned, we will have a huge party," Abt said.
By Chris Gelken
Return to top of page
Presentations at KEI seminar April 18, 2006
Pyongyang's 'Unification' Market of Today
by the Institute for Far Eastern Studies
April 6th, 2006
The Institute for Far Eastern Studies writes, "following DPRK leader
Kim Jong Il's instruction in March 2003, which allowed for the
transformation of farmers' markets into consolidated markets, the
Unification Market opened as the largest market in Pyongyang on
September 1st of the same year. With 1,500 booths spanning over 6000
sq. meters, the market is divided into three zones -- agriculture
produce and fish products, food and clothing, and metal utensils and
appliances -- with each zone housing a management office, money
changer, and a food court, which offer a variety of conveniences to
Eland buys Carrefour Korea for $1.8 billion
April 29, 2006 ? Eland, a Korean retailer, announced at a press conference yesterday that it had bought the assets of Carrefour Korea, a selection by the French retailer that caught the industry here by surprise.
Eland said it had signed a contract to buy Carrefour's 32 outlets for 1.75 trillion won ($1.85 billion) with financing and equity participation by a financial consortium headed by Woori and Kookmin banks. Eland said it would control 50 percent of the shares of the acquisition and had management rights.
New Graphite Mine Commissioned
Pyongyang, April 27 (KCNA) -- Jongchon Natural Graphite Mine was commissioned with due ceremony on Thursday. Present there were Kim Chun Gun, vice-chairman of the National Economic Cooperation Federation, and officials concerned and officials and employees of the mine. Also on hand were members of the delegation of the mining promotion company of south Korea led by President Pak Yang Su. [FDI]
Seminar of Overseas Korean Businessmen Held
Tokyo, April 24 (KNS-KCNA) -- A seminar of overseas Korean businessmen was held here on Friday to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean Federation of Workers in Commerce in Japan. Attending it were Ryang Su Jong, vice-chairman of the Central Standing Committee of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon), and officials and businessmen of Chongryon.
Also present were a delegation of the Federation of Korean National Economic Workers in China, a delegation of the Society for the Study of Koryo Culture and Economy in Beijing of China, a delegation of the Federation of Korean Industrialists and Traders in Yanbian of China, a delegation of the Liaoning Provincial Association of Korean National Businessmen in China, a delegation of the Federation of Korean Businessmen in the World, a delegation of the Businessmen Committee of the Federation of Koreans in the United States, the chairman of the south Korean Trading Association in Japan and other overseas Korean businessmen. Addressing the seminar, Ri Pong Guk, chairman of the Federation, said it is of weighty significance in particular to build a national economic network among overseas Korean businessmen at present.
Seoul Opens Joint Graphite Mine in NK
CHONGCHON, North Korea (Yonhap) -- South Korea's state-run resources development corporation on Thursday announced the opening of a joint graphite mine in North Korea.
The 50-50 joint venture between the Korea Resources Corp.(KORES) and a North Korean firm can produce 3,000 tons of graphite per year. [FDI]
NK Workers in Kaesong Taste Overseas Training
By Seo Dong-shin
The number of North Koreans working for South Korean companies located in the inter-Korean joint industrial complex in Kaesong has increased over the last 17 months, the Unification Ministry said Wednesday.
The number, 255 in November 2004 when the first South Korean factories moved into the complex, was 4,765 as of this March. By July, 15 South Korean factories are expected to be operating there, four more than the current 11.
``On average, the number (of North Korean workers) rose by 22 percent a month,'' Ko Gyoung-bin, who heads the Unification Ministry's Office of Kaesong Industrial Project, told reporters in a briefing. If North Korean workers who are employed at construction sites are added, the number stood at 6,859 as of April 21.
Ko added that as some North Korean workers have now worked at South Korean factories for more than one year, some of them have taken annual leave. Under the labor rules applied to North Korean workers in Kaesong, they are entitled up to two weeks of paid vacation a year.
In addition, some South Korean companies started to train their North Korean employees in China. [Training]
Ro Tu Chol Meets Delegation of Finnish Mondo Minerals Company
Pyongyang, April 24 (KCNA) -- Vice-Premier of the DPRK Cabinet Ro Tu Chol met and had a conversation with a delegation of Finnish Mondo Minerals Company headed by General Manager Wulf-Dietrich Keller at the Mansudae Assembly Hall Monday. On hand were Paek Hyon Bong, chairman of the DPRK Committee for Promotion of External Economic Cooperation, and officials concerned.
On the occasion the head of the delegation said that they will make active efforts for economic cooperation with the DPRK, wishing the Korean people led by Kim Jong Il greater progress and prosperity.
Development of Leading Sectors of National Economy Called for
Pyongyang, April 23 (KCNA) -- The preferential development of power, coal and metal industries and railway transport is an essential requirement for a decisive progress in the building of a great prosperous powerful socialist nation, says Rodong Sinmun Sunday in a signed article. The development of national defence industry onto a higher stage as required by the Songun era and the drastic development of heavy industries along with light industry and agriculture depend on how the growing demand for power, coal and iron and steel and transport is successfully met, the article says, and goes on: What is important in developing the leading sectors of the national economy as required by the developing economy at present is to decisively increase investment in those fields and establish the discipline and order of preferentially providing equipment, labor force, raw materials and other conditions needed for production. A fresh surge will be kept in the economic construction as a whole when an economic measure is taken and put into practice for the preferential provision of equipment, raw materials and other conditions for the normalization and expansion of production along with increased investment in the leading sectors of the national economy. What is also important in drastically propping up the leading sectors of the national economy at present is to push ahead with the reconstruction and modernization of these sectors, establish scientific management and business strategy and positively solve their problems to suit their specific conditions in the spirit of self-reliance. The technical reconstruction of heavy industries requires a lot of funds and high technology. It will be effective to improve overall technical equipment qualitatively and modernize production processes by way of renovating objects one by one to suit the trend of economic development and their reality.
These fields will make great progress when the centralized guidance of the state over the economy is ensured and the lower units establish and implement their scientific management and business strategy by giving full play to their creativity.
Including Mixed-Korean Products in FTA Possible: US Business Leader
By Christopher Carpenter
A U.S. business representative hinted Thursday there could be a way around the issue of including products made at the Kaesong Industrial Complex in a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States.
Myron Brilliant, speaking at an International Trade Commission (ITC) public hearing on the South Korea-U.S. free trade agreement, said the two countries need to discuss issues related to Kaesong.
``There is a political ramification on such discussions, but we are open-minded,'' he told the hearing.
Seoul to Consult With US on Kaesong Project
WASHINGTON (Yonhap) _ South Korea will consult closely with the United States before pushing ahead with the next stage of developing an inter-Korean economic project, a senior Seoul official said Wednesday.
Go Gyoung-bin, directorgeneral of the Kaesong industrial complex project office at the Unification Ministry, is visiting Washington with other Seoul officials to drum up support for the ambitious venture, which some here have raised questions about.
According to Go, the next development phases will require progress in inter- Korean relations, including the stalled nuclear negotiations.
"When we seek secondstage development, we will consider the nuclear issue.
We will consult with the United States beforehand when necessary," he said.
[Kaesong] [Sovereignty] [US dominance]
SEOUL (Yonhap) -- South Korea's state-run industrial complex operator plans to start building an apartment-type factory complex in an industrial park in North Korea in May to accommodate labor-intensive companies of the South, the operator said Monday.
Kim Chil-doo, chief of Korea Industrial Complex Corp., said the complex will house up to 40 South Korean companies at the industrial park in the North Korean border city of Kaesong.
It will also provide living quarters for South Korean workers of the companies and about 15 other firms already operating there, Kim said.
Global player wins N Korea's only JV bank
By Tom Tobback
20 May 2004
BEIJING - Media attention shifted from the Ryongchon railway disaster to the six-way working-level talks here last week, while the very quiet visit of a certain British businessman to Pyongyang, reported tersely by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) this month, went unnoticed. But it was far from unimportant. In fact, it was a major signal of North Korea's willingness to open up its economy. Dr Johnny Sei-hoe Hon, formerly of Hong Kong and now chairman of the UK-based Global Group of Companies, agreed to take over North Korea's only joint-venture bank, Hon told Asia Times Online on Tuesday in a telephone interview
Hon revealed to Asia Times Online that his Global Group is taking over the majority stake in the Daedong Credit Bank (DCB), the only foreign joint-venture bank in North Korea, from a British company based in Hong Kong. The Daedong Credit Bank, run in Pyongyang by Nigel Cowie, has been serving the expatriate community and the few foreign business ventures in North Korea for many years.
North Korea's Nuclear Push May Be Stymied by U.S. Banking Rules
March 7 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. law enforcement actions that are hobbling North Korea's financial system may be as important as diplomacy in persuading the country to give up its nuclear weapons program.
U.S. efforts to cut off funds from counterfeiting and drug trafficking may move dictator Kim Jong Il to trade warheads for development aid, says David Asher, coordinator of the State Department's North Korea working group from 2003 to 2005. U.S. officials plan to present evidence of North Korea's money- laundering to Kim's representatives today in New York.
``There's no doubt this is the most powerful reverberation we've ever had on North Korea,'' Asher says. ``Cutting into the illicit foundations of their regime should provide an incentive for them to start opening up and cooperating.''
The U.S. case against Kim's government was set back on March 5, when a Melbourne jury acquitted the captain and three crew members of the North Korean freighter Pong Su of drug trafficking. Australian police said they discovered 275 pounds (125 kilograms) of heroin on the Pong Su after seized the ship in April 2003. U.S. officials had cited the case as evidence of North Korea's involvement in drug smuggling.
[Camouflage] [Drugs] [media]
Steps towards the real world
December 12, 2005
On a visit to Pyongyang, Stephen Timewell examines the state of North Korea's fledgling banking system, which is slowly developing in order to increase foreign trade.
On my journey to Pyongyang a Beijing receptionist remarked that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is very much like China was 25 years ago. And as the motorcade of China's president Hu Jintao passed thousands of flower-waving North Koreans on his visit to the world's most secretive and politically isolated country at the end of October, he may well have agreed.
Visiting Pyongyang is like going back decades in a time machine, to a land with no advertising, no Nokia, Microsoft or McDonald's billboards and almost no cars. Impressive grand avenues and massive public monuments dominate the landscape but there is no new construction or shops.
The streets are scrubbed clean by hand and are full of hundreds of orderly people wearing their 'Great Leader' badges and walking everywhere. Curiously, bicycles are discouraged because of bad accidents and the government encourages power walking for good health, or so I am told. In a country said to spend 30% of its GDP on defence, there is no visual military presence (or overt police presence) in the capital at all.
[FDI] [Media] [Finance]
Gravity-fed Irrigation System to Be Built
Koksan, March 31 (KCNA) -- A gravity-fed waterway extending several hundred ris (10 ri equals to 4 km) will be built in the Miru Plain in the wake of the construction of Kaechon-Lake Thaesong and Paekma-Cholsan waterways. This waterway will help provide sufficient irrigation water to more than 20,000 hectares of farm land in Koksan, Singye and Suan counties, North Hwanghae Province and satisfactorily supply drinking water for the inhabitants.
The completion of this project will save over 100 big water pumps and tens of thousands of kilowatts of electricity.
Roh Encourages CEOs to Invest More in N. Korea
By Park Song-wu
President Roh Moo-hyun Saturday asked South Korean businessmen to proactively participate in inter-Korean economic cooperation projects, saying that business has leeway to move even in cases of political deadlock.
``For better inter-Korean relations, I hope our businessmen move faster with a frontier spirit than the government,'' Lee Byung-wan, presidential chief of staff, quoted Roh as saying.
The president said the government's initiatives for inter-Korean economic programs take longer than those from businesses because government policies are subject to political and diplomatic considerations.
Roh made the remarks at a meeting at Chong Wa Dae with chairpersons of the nation's five major economic organizations, including Kang Shin-ho of the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI). [In denial] [Sanctions]
Seoul National University of Technology and Businesses in the Gaeseong Industrial Complex Sign MOU on Cooperation
The Seoul National University of Technology and six businesses in the pilot factory site signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on cooperation between the university and companies in the Gaeseong Industrial Complex on February 28.
The six businesses attending the signing ceremony were GS Corp., a semiconductor components manufacturer; Solutech GS Corp., an electronic components manufacturer; Jessicom Corp. & Gaeseong Bucheon Corp., electrical wire producers; Gaeseong Daehwa Corp., a car components manufacturer; and Munchang Corp., a sewing company.
The MOU enables businesses to set up a cooperative system similar to that enjoyed by companies in South Korea. It will help enhance the competitiveness of companies through technological development, consultation and the solution of technical difficulties.
In particular, since January of this year, the Seoul National University of Technology has operated a program to assist factories, called ???Company Doctor.??? Under Company Doctor, two or three professors will be assigned to each business. They will visit Gaeseong frequently and provide tailor-made, professional advice to factories.
Samilpho Foodstuff Processing Factory
Pyongyang, March 30 (KCNA) -- The Samilpho Foodstuff Processing Factory, located in Raknang District in Pyongyang, is a leading food processing center which is conducive to improving the dietary life and health of working people. The factory, built in August Juche 85 (1996), covers thousands of square meters of area. It has been furnished with a complete set of modern machinery and equipment in accordance with the assembly-line production processes.
It produces hundreds of kinds of processed foodstuffs including tea, spirits, noodle and processed local farm products.
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Interest Revived in the Sinuiju Special Administrative Region
Report by the Institute for Far Eastern Studies
Policy Forum Online 06-25A: March 30th, 2006
The Sinuiju Special Administrative Region (SAR) project lost momentum
in September 2002 when its first governor-to-be, Chinese-born Dutch
businessman Yang Bin, was arrested in China. North Korean leader Kim
Jong Il's visit to China at the beginning of this year, however,
appears to have triggered a turnaround. With Kim's China trip focused
on the revision of economic policies, the rejuvenation of Sinuiju SAR
development plans came into the spotlight.
Most South Korean press have run pieces, based on the stories of
North Korean defectors and Chinese residents in Dandoong and other
border areas, alluding to the fact that there is change in the air
around Sinuiju. A North Korean businessman in Dandoong was quoted as
saying, "No official word has come down from central [authorities],
but they are busy preparing the Sinuiju SAR," while rumors are
spreading among area residents that "Sinuiju is the next Hong Kong."
Under the direction of central authorities, foreign currency
management groups are rapidly being moved into Sinuiju, while
ordinary residents are being relocated to other regions only to be
replaced by residents of Pyongyang and other areas who are in the
process of moving in.
Carrefour outlets tagged at $1.5 bn
March 30, 2006 ? Carrefour Korea Ltd., the fourth-largest discounter in Korea, could sell for at least 1.5 trillion won ($1.5 billion) should it be put up for sale, analysts said yesterday.
French retail giant Carrefour SA's local unit is known to be contacting prospective buyers to sell all 32 outlets as the parent company plans to exit Korea.
Carrefour Korea is widely expected to pick a prime bidder next week, but the company has yet to announce its sale plan.
Knowing the rules of the game when doing business in Asia
Investing in business relations networks / Frequent changes in staff have a negative impact on sales / Networking culture
by FELIX ABT
Comments on "Linking Europe and Northeast Asia"
(by James Goodby and Markku Heiskanen)
Comments by Georgy Bulychev
March 28th, 2006
These comments are by Georgy Bulychev, Research
director, Center for Contemporary Korean studies
at the Russian Institute of International Relations and Global Economy (IMEMO).
Globalization tends to shorten distances, blur
borders, and sometimes makes geography to seem
irrelevant. But in Korea geography is held
hostage to politics. That is why issues raised by
Aidan Foster-Carter in relation to the project of
Transkorean-Transsiberian railroad (TKR-TSR,
i.e. why no trains are running between North and
South Korea regardless of the recent relinking of
the railways, who will pay for modernization of
North Korean rail network, how and when a
decision on the routing will be reached, and why
North Koreans are passive - should be addressed
in the context of a broader geopolitical picture
The very natural idea of a land connection
between South Korea and Eurasia from the very
start was highly politicized and became only a
small part of a political game - both inside and
outside the Korean Peninsula. Therefore, given
the current showdown involving North Korea, it is
naïve to expect that the project would get off
the ground before the basic differences of
opinion on the nuclear issue and the overall status of the DPRK are resolved.
Even after such a resolution is reached, a
compromise still must be found between diverging
economic and political players. What are these divergences?
For North Korea the railroad project is of great
strategic importance. First, linkage with the
South, China, Russia and the European
Commonwealth allows North Korea to become an
important international transportation hub,
increasing its ability to resist volatile
pressure from the US and its allies. Second,
implementation of the project requires 'upgrading
the entire decrepit DPRK rail network' - the
sorry state of which is seen in Pyongyang as a
major stumbling block on the way to economic
recovery. Third, the revenue from transit - which
comes almost without any additional expenses -
would be very welcome in Pyongyang (although the
temptation to abuse the power of 'putting the red
light' on the railroad for political pressure
might be too strong to resist at times - but such
an interruption of the transportation system
would come at a price and is unlikely). Fourth,
the idea of North-South joint efforts in
international transportation does not seem to be
at odds with the North Korean policies regarding
its relations with the South and unification
(economic cooperation without political
concessions to benefit Pyongyang and increase its
international standing). Fifth, the choice of
transit alternatives is a good opportunity for
Kim Jong Il to loggerhead China and Russia and
play his father's favorite balancing game.
Ground-Breaking Ceremony for Water Purification and Supply Station in Kaesong
Kaesong, March 28 (KCNA) -- A ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a water purification and supply station in the Kaesong Industrial Zone was held here on Tuesday. Present there were Ju Tong Chan, director of the General Bureau for Central Guidance to the Development of the Special Zone, and officials concerned from the north side and Kim Jae Hyon, director of the Land Corporation, and others related to the construction of the Kaesong Industrial Zone from the south side.
Speeches were made at the ceremony.
Inter-Korean Trade on an Upward Curve
(March 21, 2006)
(This statement was released by the Korea International Trade Association)
Inter-Korean trade has been on an upward curve from the beginning of this year. According to the Report on Trends in Inter-Korean Trade during January and February 2006, released by the Korea International Trade Association, inter-Korean trade recorded US$129.59 million, a 34.4 percent increase year on year, thanks to increases in processing-on-commission trade and trade related to the Gaeseong Industrial Complex.
While general trade, mainly import of agricultural and marine goods and minerals from North Korea decreased by 2.6 percent to US$30.32 million, processing-on-commission trade increased by 37.9 percent to US$40.53 million.
Trade related to the Gaeseong Industrial Complex, which recorded sharp increases last year, jumped by 77.4 percent to US$28 million.
Assistance from the South Korean government and civilian sector to North Korea also has been expanding and reached US$20.22 million, a 59.8 percent increase year on year.
Mother Factory of Machine-Tool Building Industry
Pyongyang, March 27 (KCNA) -- Huichon in Jagang Province is not a big city in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. But it has been famous for the mother factory of the machine- tool building industry in the country. Over the last 50-odd years since its foundation the Huichon Machine-Tool Factory has developed to be a leading machine-tool building base, making a positive contribution to modernizing the technical equipment of different sectors of the national economy. It, the mother factory of the county's engineering industry, has all machine-building processes including milling machine workshop and lathe-assembling workshop and manufactures latest machine-tools. Its history is associated with the leadership exploits of the peerlessly great men, President Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. The President went to Huichon in March Juche 40 (1951) when the Fatherland Liberation War (June 1950-July 1953) was at its height to choose the site of the factory and solve the problems arising in its construction.
Dock No. 2 of Ryongnam Ship Repairing Factory Commissioned
Nampho, March 24 (KCNA) -- A commissioning ceremony of the Dock No. 2 of the Ryongnam Ship Repairing Factory took place on the spot on Friday. With the building of the large computer-aided dock capable of repairing tens of thousands of tons of several ships simultaneously at the factory the capacity of ship repairing has remarkably increased and firmer material and technological foundations have been laid to develop the shipping industry of the country as required by the new century. A message of thanks sent by the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea to officials and builders of the Ministry of Land and Marine Transport who performed great labor feats in the construction of Dock No. 2 was conveyed at the ceremony
Kim Jong Il Gives Field Guidance to Kanggye City
Kim Jong Il giving on-the-spot guidance to the Kanggye Wood Processing Factory.
Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission, gave on-the-spot guidance to various economic sections of Kanggye City, Jagang Province, the KCNA reported on February 4.
According to the report, he was accompanied by Kim Ki Nam, secretary of the Central Committee of the WPK, and Ri Yong Chol and Jang Song Thaek, first vice department directors of the Central Committee of the WPK.
The first leg of his field guidance was the Kanggye Wood Processing Factory. He went round the processing shop and the finishing shop and other production processes to acquaint himself with the equipment and the production there. He highly appreciated the successes made by the workers of the factory, very pleased to learn that they are producing and supplying a variety of attractive and useful furniture including wardrobe, bedclothes chest and bookshelf in the spirit of devoted service to the people.
World Water Day Observed
Pyongyang, March 22 (KCNA) -- Minju Joson today dedicates an article to World Water Day. Reviewing the energetic drive to preserve water resources in various fields in the DPRK, the author of the article says:
The preservation of water resources is legally guaranteed. Noteworthy in this connection is the adoption of the "Law on water resources in the DPRK" in 1997. Work for a rational use and protection of water resources has gone on full blast under the concern of the state, typical of which is the building of reservoirs for the supply of drinking water and the already completed Kaechon-Lake Thaesong waterway and Paekma-Cholsan waterway
The ceremonies for the completion of transit facilities construction on the Gyeongui and Donghae roads were held simultaneously at 11:00 a.m. on March 15.
Given increases in flows of personnel and goods on the roads, South Korea embarked on the construction of the transit facilities in 2004 and has completed the construction of the facilities in one and a half years.
U.S. aides visit briefly at Kaesong complex
March 21, 2006 ? A U.S. congressional staff member and U.S. Embassy officials traveled to the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea yesterday, the first visit there by U.S. officials.
Robert Ogburn, the embassy's spokesman, said the principal visitor was Doug Anderson, counsel to the House of Representatives' International Relations Committee. He and the embassy staff members visited the complex "briefly" after a U.S. request. Other sources said the North responded favorably on Thursday. Mr. Ogburn said the visitors wanted to learn more about the complex, but declined to comment on their reactions.
The complex now hosts 15 South Korean factories, and is expected to be an issue in free trade negotiations between Korea and the United States. Seoul wants its products to be called South Korean goods, a proposal unlikely to win U.S. favor.
Meeting of Asian Countries for Railway Cooperation
Pyongyang, March 10 (KCNA) -- A meeting of Asian countries under the Organization of Railways Cooperation was held here from March 6 to 10. It was participated in by railway delegations and delegates from the DPRK, Russia, Mongolia, China, Vietnam and Kazakhstan.
'UN Preparing Economic Package for N. Korea'
SEOUL (Yonhap) _ The United Nations is working to help the world prepare an economic package for North Korea and help resolve the dispute over the communist state's nuclear arms program, a former deputy chief of the world body said Tuesday.
``The United Nations has concentrated on helping the international community to prepare an economic package (for the North) that could help resolve the nuclear issue,'' Maurice Strong, former vice secretary general of the U.N., said in a special lecture here.
Strong, also a former special envoy of the U.N. on North Korea, said the preparation was still going on, although ``not as rapidly as we'd like.''
The economic package, according to Strong, would at least include fuel for energy-starved North Korea, but the aid would not come directly from the United Nations.
``It is not one that has to be done exclusively through the United Nations but one that can be done with the active support of the United Nations,'' he said.
Kim Jong Il Gives Field Guidance to Munchon Kumgang Smeltery
Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the National Defense Commission of the DPRK gave field guidance to the Munchon Kumgang Smeltery, the official KCNA reported on February 25.
Samsung opens Indian mobile phone unit
Samsung Electronics Co. has begun production of mobile handsets at its plant in India, company officials said yesterday.
About 100 people, including Samsung representatives and Indian government officials, attended a ceremony on March 7 to celebrate the completion of the factory, located in Haryana in North India.
Samsung is set to produce about 1 million handsets at its Indian factory this year but will expand output later, officials said.
India's cellular phone market is a fast growing one, posting more than 20 percent in annual growth in recent years. This year the market is estimated at 40 million units, up sharply from 27 million last year.
Nokia currently is the top mobile phone vendor in India [ICT]
Concern Raised Over Kaesong Workers' Conditions
WASHINGTON (Yonhap) _ A leading U.S. labor organization expressed concerns Tuesday about North Korean workers' conditions at an ambitious inter-Korean industrial zone, especially ahead of free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations.
Thea Lee, assistant director of the AFL-CIO, said the concerns have arisen recently following press accounts of the zone, known as the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
AFL-CIO stands for American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations, a voluntary union group established in 1955.
Kim Jong Il Gives Field Guidance to Work in Various Fields of Kanggye City
Pyongyang, February 4 (KCNA) -- Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission, gave on-the-spot guidance to the work in various fields of Kanggye City. He was accompanied by Kim Ki Nam, secretary of the Central Committee of the WPK, and Ri Yong Chol and Jang Song Thaek, first vice department directors of the C. C., the WPK.
Roh Aims for Inter-Korean 'Cooperative Economy'
President Roh Moo-hyun on Friday announced plans to build a "cooperative economy" between North and South Korea. "Through infrastructure projects like the Kaesong Industrial Complex as well as energy, materials distribution and information networks, we will lay the foundation for a cooperative economy between North and South," the president said at a graduation ceremony at the Korean Military Academy.
On Sept. 20 last year, one day after North Korea in principle agreed to dismantle its nuclear program, Roh instructed the Unification Ministry to come up with a comprehensive plan to help build up the communication and logistics infrastructure in North Korea. The ministry has twice reported on progress since.
Trade Volume between North Korea and Japan in 2005
ROK MoU 3 March 2006
The trade volume between North Korea and Japan amounted to around 200 million U.S. $, recording a negative year-on-year rate of 22.9 percent. The North's export to Japan decreased 19 percent, totaling 132 million U.S. $ while the North's import from Japan shrank by 29.2 percent, recording 63 million U.S. $, down from 900 million U.S. $ in 2004.
Since 2002 when the issue of the Japanese abductees bulged out, bilateral trade volume has been on the decrease for four consecutive years. The issue worsened the North's images and raised anti-sentiment among the Japanese consumers, which deepened their reluctance to buy North Korean goods.
The increase in bilateral trade will be expected to be restrained by two factors: Japan's ban on the entry into its ports by ships weighing over 100 metric tons which are not insured, and Japan's regulations on export of strategic goods to North Korea.
Prospects Dim for Early Linkage of Cross-Border Railway
By Seo Dong-shin
South Korea's push for re-opening the railways across the inter-Korean border has once again hit a snag as the two Koreas failed to narrow differences over plans to test-run the trains.
Despite Seoul's initial hopes, the two Koreas failed to come up with a fixed schedule for the plan at the two-day working-level talks that ended on Tuesday, according to the Unification Ministry on Wednesday.
The two sides also failed to set a date for a subsequent meeting, although the ministry officials said the contact will be resumed at an early date.
The North Korean delegates were not cooperative in setting specific dates during the meeting, citing more materials allegedly needed for finishing roadbeds inside the train stations in the North, according to ministry officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. The North asked the South to help with them, they said.
Linking Europe and Northeast Asia
by James Goodby and Markku Heiskanen
March 2nd, 2006
James Goodby, former U.S. ambassador to Finland and current Senior
Fellow at the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at The
Brookings Institution, and Markku Heiskanen, a senior Finnish
diplomat, who is currently Associate Senior Fellow of the Nordic
Institute of Asian Studies, Copenhagen write, "Two inter-Korean
railway corridors are now waiting for the first test trains to cross
the demilitarized zone, for the first time in half a century. The EU
supports the "Iron Silk Road"--the initiative of former South Korean
President Kim Dae-jung to connect the Korean peninsula to Europe
through a Eurasian railway network."
Uri head sets a visit to North's plant zone
March 02, 2006 ? Uri Party's chairman, Chung Dong-young, said yesterday he planned to visit North Korea's Kaesong Industrial Complex with other party leaders this month. He said he would also ask opposition party leaders to join the trip, and was pushing for a meeting with Kim Jong-il and other senior North Korean leaders.
The Grand National Party dismissed Mr. Chung's invitation yesterday, calling a trip to North Korea an old-fashioned way for politicians to promote themselves before an election.
The complex, occupied by South Korean manufacturers using North Korean labor, is an attempt both to promote cross-DMZ ties and give southern companies some relief from high wage costs here. Mr. Chung stressed when he announced his trip that the complex could also result eventually in an additional 100,000 South Korean jobs.
Seoul's long-term goal is to coax North Korea into economic reforms that would lead to a transformation of the Stalinist country into one more open and modern.
Made in North Korea - or is it?
When South Korean products are made by North Koreans, the US argues that they were not 'Made in South Korea.'
By Donald Kirk
KAESONG, NORTH KOREA - In gleaming new factories amid hills stripped bare for fuel, six thousand North Korean workers toil for South Korean companies.
"Workers from North Korea and South Korea are committed to work hard under the slogan, 'One for all, all for one,' " says Moon Chang Seop, president of a company producing shoe parts for its parent company in South Korea. "We operate under a very unique system for North Korean workers. They get $57.50 a month regardless of position" - plus overtime pay. Mr. Moon admits that figure is "1/10th or 1/20th" of what South Koreans are paid.
An Industrial Park in North Korea Nears a Growth Spurt
By JAMES BROOKE
Published: February 28, 2006
KAESONG, North Korea, Feb. 27 - On a cavernous factory floor here, where hundreds of North Korean women diligently cut and sewed women's jackets on Monday, a South Korean businessman seemed to have found an answer to China: wages of 26 cents an hour.
"Kaesong has more advantages than Vietnam, China or Guatemala," Hwang Woo Seung, president of the Shinwon Ebenezer Company, said, citing other countries where his company produces clothes. "We opened here last March and we are already starting to build another factory here twice the size of this one."
Job training set at plant site in North
February 28, 2006 ? The South Korean government will build a job-training center for North Korean workers in Kaesong industrial complex, with the aim of supplying a skilled workforce to South Korean factories in the North Korean border city, sources at the Ministry of Labor and other government offices said yesterday. The funding source for the project prompted criticism here.
KT&G Rejects Icahn's Hostile Takeover Bid
By Choi Kyong-ae
KT&G Monday officially rejected an offer made five days earlier by U.S. corporate raider Carl Icahn and his partners to buy KT&G shares at 60,000 won a share, the tobacco company said on Monday. Icahn said that it has 2 trillion won in reserve to buy the stocks at the proffered price.
Apartments in Kaesong
SEOUL (Yonhap) -- South Korea's state-run industrial complex operator plans to start building an apartment-type factory complex in an industrial park in North Korea in May to accommodate labor-intensive companies of the South, the operator said Monday.
Kim Chil-doo, chief of Korea Industrial Complex Corp., said the complex will house up to 40 South Korean companies at the industrial park in the North Korean border city of Kaesong.
It will also provide living quarters for South Korean workers of the companies and about 15 other firms already operating there, Kim said.
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No polish yet on Korea's brand image
February 01, 2006 ? Synovate, a market researcher in Chicago, threw a dose of cold water on Korean pride recently when it said that only one out of eight consumers in Europe and the United States think Korean products are high in quality. The results of a survey conducted in December among 6,000 people said that Korean and Chinese products were about equally regarded ? not highly, in other words.
About 55 percent of the respondents said Korean goods were low quality, and another 40 percent said they were so-so. In the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands, Synovate said, Chinese goods were more highly regarded than Korean.
Mike Sherman of Synovate suggested that that perception had to change if Korea wanted to compete with lower-priced Chinese products.
But what about Samsung and LG, which consistently draw good marks in consumer satisfaction and in electronics reviews, or the quality rankings of Hyundai automobiles, which have been on a steady climb for several years? They may be a victim, if that's the right term, of the companies' own marketing strategies, some marketers here say.
Lee Jung-ho at the Samsung Economic Research Institute said, "Korean brands that have recently become famous tend to emphasize their global brand image, instead of resorting to the national image. Korea has a less positive national image than Japan or the United States."
In other words, while those companies certainly do not deny they are Korean, they don't plaster the Korean flag on their products either. A recent brand recognition study by Samsung Electronics in France said almost 70 percent of consumers there thought Samsung was a Japanese company.
South-North Trade to Exceed US$1 Billion in 2005
The annual South-North Korea trade volume exceeded US$1 billion last year for the first time. It have been 14 years to exceed US $ 1 billion, which is ten times more than US $ 100 million which was recorded in 1991. Inter-Korean was resumed in accordance with the July .7 Declaration announced in 1988 after the national division between the two Koreas.
According to Korea International Trade Association (KITA) on Jan. 23, 2006, the South-North trade volume for last year reached US$ 1 billion 55million, a 51.5% year-on-year increase. [Kaesong]
National Agricultural Meeting Held
Pyongyang, January 26 (KCNA) -- A national agricultural meeting was held at the April 25 House of Culture on Wednesday. Present there were Kim Yong Nam, Pak Pong Ju, Ri Yong Mu, Choe Thae Bok, Kim Jung Rin and other senior officials, chief secretaries of provincial committees of the Workers' Party of Korea, Cabinet members, and chairmen of the management boards of farms, secretaries of ri-committees of the WPK, workteam leaders, sub-workteam leaders and members of the farms who distinguished themselves in farming, scientists and technicians in the agricultural field, leading officials of provincial, city and county committees of the WPK and people's committees and agricultural guidance bodies, and officials of ministries, national institutions and factories and enterprises of the relevant field.
Kwak Pom Gi, vice-premier of the Cabinet, in a report at the meeting said that last year leader Kim Jong Il energetically led the agricultural field after singling out it as a key front in the socialist economic construction and setting forth a revolutionary policy of concentrating and mobilizing all forces on farming.
'China's Reform Model May Not Work for NK'
WASHINGTON (Yonhap) -- The hard core communist nation North Korea may not be able to pursue economic reforms mimicking China, due to key differences in problems and infrastructure, the New York Times reported Thursday.
Pyongyang's top leader, Kim Jong-il, visited China earlier this month, touring high-tech industrial sites as he had done during his travel in 2001.
Kim appeared serious about following China's capitalist road, the paper said, quoting Chinese officials. They said Kim described Beijing's market reforms as "correct," a sea change from 1983 when he called the reforms "revisionism."
"But there is a more fundamental question: even assuming that he (Kim) has the will to carry out Chinese-style changes, has he the ability?" the paper said.
For one, North Korea may not be able to control the effects of free markets so that they do not undermine the leader's political grip, it said.
Beijing was able to confine the reform effects to the southern cost where special zones were established, but North Korea is a smaller country in which rapid economic growth will, wanted or not, lead to social and political transformation, the paper said.
Secondly, China had a large agricultural sector to use as an industrial base. But North Korea is already largely industrialized with Stalinist factories, although they may be useless.
China could count on foreign investment from businesses ready to jump into a market promising boundless growth. North Korea cannot, the paper said.
"North Korea's trade with China and South Korea has been rising sharply in recent years," it reported, "But to carry market reforms to the next level, analysts say, North Korea would need to repair relationships with the United States and Japan."
"Only then would it secure the necessary energy resources and aid to run, repair or build its factories," it said.
[Economic reforms] [In denial] [Media] [China model]
Korea Food Trading Company
Pyongyang, January 25 (KCNA) -- The Korea Food Trading Company in Songyo District, Pyongyang, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, has produced many kinds of quality foodstuffs. Very popular among its products are Pyongyang Soju (spirits), cold noodle (made with acorn, buckwheat and other materials), soybean paste, soy sauce and Kangso mineral water.
Large quantities of its products have been exported to China, Mongolia, Australia, New Zealand and other countries and areas of the world. In particular, several hundred thousand bottles of Pyongyang Soju, traditional liquor indigenous to Korea, are sold in various countries annually. The foodstuffs, which are made with plants which grow free from environmental pollution and are not based on gene variation technology, are thick in national odor and famous among the overseas Koreans and foreigners.
The company, founded in Juche 81(1992), has scores of production and supplying factories such as the Pyongyang Soju Factory and Pyongyang Essential Foodstuff Factory.
Sohn Calls for Expansion of Inter-Korean Farming
By Seo Dong-shin
Governor Sohn Hak-kyu of Kyonggi Province Thursday proposed that cities and provinces of South and North Korea alligng themselves on a one-on-one basis to expand joint rice farming and help boost the North's agricultural productivity.
He also called on the government to consider his previous proposal to establish an inter-Korean special economic zone linking Paju of Kyonggi Province, and Kaesong, a North Korean border town where a joint industrial complex of the two Koreas is located.
Sohn, a presidential hopeful of the Grand National Party (GNP), was speaking at a forum to report on inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation pursued by Kyonggi Province at the local government level.
North Koreans, satisfied with the high productivity of joint rice farming, have temporarily agreed to expand the scale to some 100 hectares of land, an official at the Kyonggi provincial government was quoted as saying by a local newspaper.
``Kyonggi Province has been actively pursuing inter-Korean exchanges and a feeling of cooperative responsibility as a precursor of reunification,'' Sohn said. ``The Kyonggi-Pyongyang rice is a symbol of trust and reconciliation.''
'North Lags South by 35 Years'
SEOUL (Yonhap) _ North Korea lags behind South Korea by 35 years in terms of industrial development, a state-run bank said Wednesday.
A book published by the Korea Development Bank said most of North Korea's industries are shown to remain at a level not seen in the South since the late 1960s.
The industrial gap is most conspicuous in the electricity, shipbuilding and textile sectors, the book said, followed by the fields of steel-making, auto-manufacturing, machinery and electronics.
According to the book, North Korean industry only produces one-twentieth of what its counterparts in South Korea make each year, hampered by perennially low factory operation rates.
The operation rate for the steelmaking and automobile sectors stands at an average of 11.1 percent, the book noted.
To help narrow the industrial gap between the two Koreas, the KDB said the North needs to focus more on cementing a firm infrastructure to further develop its industries.
It also recommended that the communist state nurture business activities in special economic zones such as the experimental Kaesong industrial park, which marries investment from the South with cheap labor from the North, to attract more foreign direct investment.
Inter-Korean Cooperative Efforts to Normalize North Korea's Industry
Choo Won Suh
Head, Center for Northeast Asian Studies
Korea Development Bank
North Korea's industry is facing daunting challenges, which extend well beyond the backwardness and dilapidated condition of its facilities and an overall lack of resources. Of particular concern, its electrical, energy, and railway infrastructure are seriously underdeveloped. This situation has resulted in the manufacture of inferior-quality products and contraction of production capacity, which have contributed to the North's virtual absence of industrial competitiveness. In order to overcome these current difficulties and normalize its manufacturing industry, the North will have to focus its efforts on the following problem areas.
First, the attempts by North Korea's leadership to promote internal economic reforms must be accompanied by bold initiatives aimed at opening up the country to the outside world in order to secure much-needed external assistance. As such, Pyeongyang will have to adjust various principles, like the pursuit of self-reconstruction and self-reliance, its unbalanced development policy as well as regional self-sufficiency policy, in response to current circumstances, along with implementing a new economic management framework that is capable of optimizing the benefits of the anticipated external support.
Inter-Korean trading beat $1 billion in 2005
January 23, 2006 ? Trade between South and North Korea rose by more than half to surpass $1 billion for the first time last year, a local trade association said yesterday.
The bilateral trade expanded 51.5 percent to $1.05 billion in 2005, according to the Korea International Trade Association.
The result came nearly 20 years after the re-opening of trade in 1988 and the breaking of the $100 million barrier in 1991.
Imports to the South reached $340 million, while exports to the North amounted to $710 million.
Rising trade from the joint industrial complex in the North Korean border city of Kaesong was the biggest single reason for the increase, the association said. However, the bilateral trade accounted for only 0.19 percent of South Korea's total trade volume, the association said.
Inter-Korean Trade Tops $1 Billion
By Choi Kyong-ae
Inter-Korean trade volume broke $1 billion for the first time last year since the North began to import South Korean products in 1988, the Korea Investment-Trade Association (KITA) said Sunday.
Trade between South and North Korea brought to a halt with the division of the peninsula 55 years ago reached $100 million in 1991 and again soared 10 times to $1.05 billion in 14 years last year, up 51.5 percent from a year earlier.
``As companies in the North's Kaesong industrial complex are expected to put themselves into a full gear this year, inter-Korean trade will surely surmount last year's trade volume,'' a KITA official said.
Per Capita GDP to Top $45,000 by 2020
By Choi Kyong-ae
A state research institute Thursday forecast the national economy will grow an average of 4.6 percent annually to post a $45,000 per-capita GDP by 2020, making Korea the world's 10th largest economy in terms of GDP.
In a seminar at the Grand Inter-continental Hotel in Samsong-dong, southern Seoul, Thursday, the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade (KIET) gave this rosy economic outlook and others.
Over the next 15 years, South Korea's trade volume will become the world's seventh largest at $1.4 trillion, with manufacturing products accounting for 4 percent of the global market, the world's fourth largest, the KIET projected. A total 3.6 million jobs will be created. ][ROK]
Key Industries Updated
Pyongyang, January 19 (KCNA) -- Many efforts have been directed to reconstructing and modernizing key industries in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Workers in the power, metal, engineering and other key industries are updating production processes while constructing new production centres on the basis of latest scientific and technological successes.
Those of the power industry have set a goal to put the production and management activities of the power stations throughout the country on a higher level. The electric power systems have been divided according to the local and production features and projects for introducing a new electric supply system are being pushed ahead as a nation-wide campaign.
The metal industry, too, is building new production bases and is updating equipment to further enhance the Juche character of the industry. The workers of the September General Iron Works have constructed an iron production base depending on local resources by introducing modern scientific technical achievements, thus remarkably increasing iron and steel production.
A 100-ton electric furnace has been built at the Hwanghae Iron and Steel Complex and metallurgical facilities are being improved at the Kim Chaek Iron and Steel Complex.
Workers of the engineering industry are registering successes in solving difficult scientific and technical problems arising in checking the efficiency of machine tools and heat treatment.
Positive efforts are being made at the Huichon Machine Tool Factory to complete the unique machine tool control system and the assembling process of the main axis of machine tools on a high level.
Two Koreas to Resume Economic Talks
By Seo Dong-shin
Working-level officials of South and North Korea will try to iron out differences on a number of inter-Korean economic cooperation issues during a two-day meeting set to begin today in the North Korean border town of Kaesong.
But the chances the two Koreas will actually seal a deal this time are not high, a South Korean government official said Wednesday.
'5th Column Syndrome' Hits Samsung
Employees Caught Smuggling High Tech to China in 2 Cases in 2 Months
By Cho Jin-seo
While South Korea's electronics leaders are making an all-out effort to compete against foreign companies, big threats to the industry are coming from profit-seeking insiders who try to smuggle out Korean firms' technologies to China, a seen in two recent cases,.
The National Intelligence Service (NIS) said Monday that it caught two former Samsung Electronics employees attempting to smuggle out its liquid-crystal display (LCD) panel technologies, something which could have damaged the company up to 1 trillion won over the next five years.
According to the counter-espionage agency, the two engineers, identified by their surnames Park and Bae, tried to build their own LCD color-filter factory in Shenzhen, China, together with a dozen of their old colleagues currently working in Samsung.
Foundation and North sign copyright pact
January 17, 2006 ? The Inter-Korean Economic and Cultural Exchange Foundation said yesterday it has obtained the publication rights for 47 works by 34 North Korean authors after negotiations with North Korea's copyright bureau. The foundation said it has signed contracts with four South Korean publishers to print them.
The works include historical novels, medical publications and children's novels.
The cultural foundation said it would pay royalties to the North of 10 percent in most cases, and 40 percent for the publication of illustrated children's books.
"We have established an easier way to negotiate the sale of publication rights between the two Koreas. South Korean publishers will be able to negotiate with us in advance," said Park Jun-young of the Inter-Korean Economic and Cultural Exchange Foundation.
Status on trade between North Korea and China from January to November 2005
Trade between North Korea and China from January to November 2005 totaled approximately 1billion 457million U.S. dollars which was a 24.0% increase compared to the same period last year. Exports to China totaled 462.1million U.S. dollars which was a 13.0% decrease compared to the same time last year while imports from China recorded 995.7million U.S. dollars which was a 54.6% increase compared to the same time last year. As a result of such transaction with China, North Korea made 533.5million U.S. dollars of trade deficit. During the same period of time inter-Korean trade totaled 975.5million U.S. dollars of which exports and imports to South Korea were 349.3million U.S. dollars and 670.5million U.S. dollars respectively. This was a 57.2% increase compared to the same time last year.
Koreans Find Prime Property Near the DMZ
By JAMES BROOKE
Published: January 15, 2006
PAJU, South Korea - Six miles from the heavily mined and guarded zone that divides North Korea from South Korea, workers at LG.Philips LCD are starting to produce liquid-crystal display screens at a new $5 billion plant. Nearby, apartment buildings are on the rise. And in the shadow of an old hilltop machine-gun nest, a cheery blue and red billboard announces that English Village, a new 65-acre language-teaching theme park, will open in March.
For two generations, the 30 miles between the demilitarized zone and Seoul were intentionally kept sparsely developed, a kind of buffer zone against a North Korean attack. But the political détente between the two countries is bearing economic fruit as South Korea's economic expansion washes away psychological barriers and now laps at the southern edge of the long-feared DMZ.
The stampede to what developers bill as the last best place near Seoul is propelled by the pressure of nearly 50 million people squeezed into South Korea, a country smaller than Virginia, and by an economy that looks to cap costs and compete with China.
Agricultural Front Advances for Fresh Victory
Pyongyang, January 9 (KCNA) -- The people of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea have turned out with a great ambition and confidence in the efforts to make a higher leap, in response to the joint editorial issued by Rodong Sinmun, Josoninmingun and Chongnyonjonwi on the occasion of the New Year Juche 95 (2006).
Minister of Agriculture Ri Kyong Sik said in an interview with KCNA that the ministry has worked out a plan of making a fresh progress in implementing the Workers' Party of Korea's policies of bringing about innovations in seed production, potato and soya bean cultivation and two-crop-a-year farming and is striving hard to implement them.
The ministry, he added, is focusing efforts on taking steps to decisively increase the grain-cultivation area, acquire new land, reclaim wasteland and raise the fertility of soil. It also pushes ahead with full preparation for finishing the construction of setups of the Taegye Island reclaimed tideland before the start of sowing while carrying on land-rezoning projects.
Steps are being taken beforehand to plant more high yielding varieties suitable for potato producers in highlands and to protect them against blights and harmful inspects.
Preparations are being made for making the Kaechon-Lake Thaesong and Paekma-Cholsan Waterways, the gravity-fed ones, pay off and for carrying on in earnest similar waterway projects in the Miru Plain and other parts of the country.
Seoul to Expand Economic Cooperation With Pyongyang
By Seo Dong-shin
Vice Unification Minister Rhee Bong-jo said Thursday that South Korea will seek to advance inter-Korean relations in accordance with the peaceful resolution of North Korea's nuclear programs issue this year.
Koreas' trade climbs to an all time high
January 06, 2006 ? Trade volume between North and South Korea reached an all-time high of $1 billion in 2005, putting total inter-Korean trade over $6 billion, according to officials at the South Korean Unification Ministry.
South Korean imports increased more than 30 percent from 2004 to about $340 million, while exports to the communist state jumped to $710 million, up more than 60 percent from 2004, the officials said.
Inter-Korean trade has steadily increased since the historic meeting of the countries' leaders in 2000, after having reached $200 million for the first time in 1995. The trade volume increased to more than $425 million in 2000, then to $724 million in 2003.
South Korea Economic Data
Data from Bank of Korea via PowerPoint (December, 2005)
North Korea Economic Data
Data from Bank of Korea via PowerPoint (December, 2005)
Leaders Ought to Bring Smiles Back to Working Poor
One of the biggest economic topics of 2006, not just in Korea but in the whole world, will be polarization. Since the 1997-98 financial crisis, the income gap between the nation's rich and poor has kept widening to emerge as a serious social problem [ROK]
Koreas hope for change in New Year
GAESEONG, North Korea - About an hour from northern Seoul, a sparse huddle of crumbling traditional Korean-style houses, old apartments, and schools, stand in Gaeseong, North Korea.
After the recent energy crisis, the city looked desperate as a few North Korean women struggled to wash their laundry in icy streams.
Pointing to the treeless mountains that surround Gaesong, the guide accompanying a group of South Korean journalists, said they may have been deforested to provide people with much needed fuel.
"I've heard it is because of the serious shortage of firewood here. They (North Koreans) have cut down many trees on the mountain," said Jin Seung-won, an employee of Hyundai Asan.
About 400 South Koreans, including journalists, politicians and employees of KT Corp., South Korea's largest fixed-line telephone company, visited Gaeseong last week to attend a ceremony opening 300 phone lines between Seoul and Gaeseong for the first time in 60 years.
In the isolated country which forbids foreigners to freely wander and talk to people, most citizens and soldiers on the streets looked at us with expressionless faces as buses from the South traveled into the city. Some initially stared in wonder then some children waved to the buses.
But Gaesong is a focus for demystifiying the differences between North and South. Every day around 6,000 North Koreans work with 600 colleagues from the South at the city's industrial complex, built after a joint-agreement was struck after the historic inter-Korean summit of 2000.
Coal Production Goes up in DPRK
Pyongyang, December 26 (KCNA) -- Efforts are being made to ardon this year with fine labor feats at collieries throughout the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The coal production is ever growing these days thanks to the enthusiasm of coal-miners who have turned out to implement the tasks set forth in the joint editorial for this year and joint slogans.
The Sunchon Area Youth Coal Complex has given precedence to tunneling to create reserve coal cutting faces, thus opening a bright prospect for coal production.
The February 8 Jikdong and Chonsong Youth Coal Mines, which take the Lion's share in the complex, are making use of rational cutting and transporting methods to turn out more coal than before while saving materials.
All the coal mines of the Tokchon Area Coal Complex including the Tokchon, Sochang Youth and Toksong Coal Mines are carrying on the daily tunneling assignments at over 150 percent with the application of advanced tunneling method, creating reserve coal fields.
A collective innovation is taking place at coal mines of the Onsong and Kaechon Area Coal Complexes. They have introduced into production innovative mining and blasting methods to suit the conditions of coal fields and rock quality.
The Kujang Area Coal Complex is concentrating efforts on big coal mines with good cutting conditions and big production capacity while improving transport conditions.
The workers of the Anju and Pukchang Area Coal Complexes provide thermal-power generations and other fields of the national economy with a large amount of coal with high sense of responsibility and pride of being the pilot of the national economy.
Light Industrial Factories Updated
Pyongyang, December 27 (KCNA) --Efforts have been made to renovate light industrial factories for the betterment of the people's living standard in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Investment and scientific and technical forces have been concentrated on these projects, with the result that many successes have been scored in this field this year.
A new modern knitting yarn workshop with production capacity 4 times that of the existing one was commissioned at the Pyongyang Textile Mill. And the Songyo Knitting Factory had its production processes reinforced with more than 200 knitting machines. It makes it possible to mass-produce quality knitting yarn and fabrics with colorful patterns.
The Pyongyang Textile Machine Factory has renovated the flexible loom production base, thus opening a prospect to manufacture flexible looms on an assembly-line.
The Pyongyang Korean Clothes Factory has built an embroidering process controlled by computer to beautifully decorate silk fabrics woven by the Pakchon and Nyongbyon Silk Mills to meet women's taste.
Renovation projects have been carried out in the local industrial field. Essential foodstuff factories including the Kaechon and Rason Essential Foodstuff Factories were built or reconstructed on a modern basis in over 30 cities and counties. They are producing tasty soy and bean paste and other nutritious essential foodstuffs.
Bean-milk production bases with a production capacity of several thousand tons have been built in all provinces to supply bean milk and bean sour milk regularly to the children. Among the newly built factories and workshops are the Sinuiju Bean-milk Factory and the bean milk workshop of the Hamhung Essential Foodstuff Factory.
More Stock-breeding Farms Built
Pyongyang, December 28 (KCNA) -- A lot of stock-breeding bases have been built or reconstructed on an expansion basis in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea this year,the 60th birthday of the Workers' Party of Korea. Servicepersons constructed Duck Farm No.115 in a stony area in a little over one year. It, with a total floor space of more than 50,000 square meters, is equipped with modern facilities.
Ryongnam Ship Repair Factory Expanded
Pyongyang, December 29 (KCNA) -- The Ryongnam Ship Repair Factory of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has been reconstructed on an expansion basis. The factory successfully constructed a large dock, three wharves to repair big cargo ships, a combined repair workshop, an acetylene generating workshop, oxygen generating workshop, a heavy oil power plant, a wind and solar power station over the last four years.
The newly built Dock No. 2 can repair several ships of tens of thousands of tons simultaneously.
The repair processes are automatized and controlled by computer.
'Economic Polarization Deepens in NK'
By Seo Dong-shin
North Koreans seem to feel that economic polarization has deepened since the Stalinist regime implemented some economic adjustment policies in July 2002, a survey said.
The survey of about 500 North Korean defectors currently residing in the South said some 55 percent or 274 of the respondents pointed to growing economic polarization in the communist country as one distinct change since the so-called July 1st measures were introduced there, aimed at introducing some market economy elements to the North.
Some 28 percent, or 141, said that ``individual property has increased,'' according to the survey released Friday by Yoon Dae-kyu, director of the Institute for Far Eastern Studies affiliated with Kyungnam University. Yoon presented it to a monthly Seoul forum of researchers studying North Korean law. The survey was conducted during the second quarter of last year.
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