Some alleged guidelines for the Hwanggumphyong SEZ

According to the JoongAng Daily:

The JoongAng Ilbo has acquired North Korea’s guidelines for Chinese investors at its economic development zone on Hwanggumpyong Island, and many are more liberal than those offered to South Koreans at the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

The date of the document acquired by the JoongAng Ilbo was not known.

According to the guidelines written by a joint committee for the development and organization of the Hwanggumpyong and Rason special economic zone, transactions in Chinese currency are allowed. Independent and joint banks will also be allowed to be established in the zones.

South Korean companies working in Kaesong conduct all business in U.S. dollars. Unlike South Koreans working in Kaesong, investors in the new zones will receive special privileges when it comes to using land. They are free to lease, lend or even bequeath the land to their relatives, as long it is done within a contracted period of time. Those who reside within the special economic zones can also freely use cell phones and are provided with Internet access.

Cell phones are not allowed in the Kaesong industrial complex.

The goal of the zones, the document said, was to “continue to firmly develop the traditional friendship between the two countries,” which was “agreed upon by the two greatest leaders” of China and North Korea, referring to Chinese president Hu Jintao and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

“It also supports the hopes and future gains of the people from the two countries,” it said.

The economic zones are also meant to improve North Korea’s manufacturing ability, quality of life for North Koreans and the North’s competitiveness in earning foreign currency, the document added. In order to do so, North Korea’s natural resources would be utilized to their fullest, including human resources, land and minerals.

The document’s role, it said, was to “aid the writing of more detailed development policies.” The guidelines are valid in the 470 square kilometers (181 square miles) of the Rason free economic zone and 16 square kilometers of Hwanggumpyong.

In case the zones fill up, the document hinted at the possibility of a third zone that could be established.

For Rason, the document said three piers leased out to different countries – China, Switzerland and Russia – would be modified to allow vessels of more than 50,000 tons to dock. In addition, new highways, bridges and even an airfield would be built in the area.

At Hwanggumpyong, a new port will be constructed for passengers and cargo vessels between the island and the North Korean city of Sinuiju. The document said the airport at Dandong, which is near Hwanggumpyong, would be “actively utilized.”

The document emphasized that foreign investors’ assets would not be nationalized and that all investors’ legal rights were guaranteed.

The document was written in both Chinese and Korean.

Despite all the promises in the guidelines, analysts remained skeptical as to how successful the trade zones will be. “It’s a mystery as to how many investors will be eager to invest there,” said a diplomatic source in North Korea.

Read the full story here:
Pyongyang promises China investors the moon
JoongAng Daily
Chang Se-jeong, Christine Kim
2011-6-24

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