Archive for the ‘China-DPRK Trade Expo’ Category

DPRK participates in Xian trade fair

Friday, May 13th, 2016

According to Yonhap:

North Korea on Friday showed off wild ginseng roots, a tiger painting and other health products at an international trade fair hosted by China’s northern city of Xi’an.

Although North Korea and China have held their annual trade fair in the border city of Dandong, it was unusual for the North to set up booths at a trade exhibition in other parts of China.

International sanctions were tightened in early March following North Korea’s fourth nuclear test in January and launch of a long-range rocket in February.

Forty-five nations, including South Korea, participated in the “Silk Road” trade fair, which is organized by China’s top economic planner and commerce ministry.

North Korea came up with paintings, wild ginseng roots, ginseng tea, cigarettes and some medicine.

Wild ginseng roots, which are highly valued in Korea for its perceived healing benefits, were being sold at 3,600 yuan (US$549.80) per package.

A painting featuring a tiger, which is 4 meters wide and 1.5 meters high, was priced at 100,000 yuan, according to a North Korean representative.

There were about 30 North Korean representatives at the fair.

A source with knowledge of the matter in Xi’an said North Korea applied for booths at the fair, although China had not sent an invitation to the North for the exhibition.

Read the full story here:
N. Korea shows off wild ginseng roots, tiger painting at China fair
Yonhap
2016-5-13

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4th annual China-DPRK Economic, Trade, Culture and Tourism Expo

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

UPDATE 3 (2015-10-22): According to Yonhap (via the Korea Herald):

 North Korea and China signed preliminary trade deals worth $1.6 billion at their annual trade fair, a roughly 10 percent gain compared to deals signed at last year’s exhibition, according to a Chinese official on Thursday.

North Korea and China have jointly held the trade fair in October since 2012 in the Chinese border city of Dandong, and this year’s four-day fair ended on Sunday. Last year, the two nations inked trade deals worth $1.36 billion.

Pan Shuang, deputy mayor of Dandong, told the International Business Daily newspaper that about 100 North Korean business entities attended the North Korea-China Economic, Trade, Culture and Tourism Expo.

The number of North Korean business entities attending this year was similar to last year, but Pyongyang sent trade officials and diplomats to this year’s exhibition, Pan said.

At this year’s fair, North Korea and China also agreed to launch new tour routes linking the North’s border town of Sinuiju and Dandong, Pan said.

North Korea and China “further solidified their trade bridge through a wide range of exchange and cooperation” during the trade fair, Pan said.

China is North Korea’s economic lifeline and diplomatic backer, although their political ties remain strained over the North’s defiant pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Political relations between North Korea and China showed signs of a thaw after Liu Yunshan, the Chinese Communist Party’s fifth-ranked official, held talks with North Korea’s young leader Kim Jong-un earlier this month in Pyongyang.

UPDATE 2 (2015-10-11): According to Xinhua:

A 400-strong delegation from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) will attend the fourth China-DPRK expo scheduled next week, said organizers.

The China-DPRK Economic, Trade, Cultural and Tourism Expo will be held from Oct. 15 to 18 in northeast China’s Dandong City, with more than 100 exhibition booths for DPRK companies.

China and the DPRK will also discuss the launch of new tourism projects to DPRK during the expo, according to organizers.

Firms from Russia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam, Egypt as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan regions will seek business opportunities at the expo.

Dandong is a key hub for trade, investment and tourism between China and the DPRK. There are more than 600 border trade enterprises in the city, and trade with the DPRK accounts for 40 percent of the city’s total trade turnover.

The Guomenwan trade zone in Dandong is expected to open soon to boost bilateral economic cooperation.

UPDATE 1 (2015-10-2): Yonhap reports on the expo:

North Korea and China will launch a joint trade fair on Oct. 15, with some 400 Chinese companies expected to attend the annual exhibition, according to Chinese media on Friday.

North Korea and China have jointly held the annual trade fair in October since 2012, but the number of North Korean business entities attending the event last year was about 30 percent less than 2013.

About 100 North Korean business entities will take part in the four-day trade fair, which will be held in the Chinese border city of Dandong, according to Chinese media reports.

Besides North Korea and China, companies from Hong Kong, Vietnam, Mongolia and Thailand will join this month’s North Korea-China Economic, Trade, Culture and Tourism Expo.

In the latest sign that Pyongyang and Beijing are trying to increase economic cooperation despite strained political ties, North Korea and China will launch a border trade zone in Dandong on Oct. 15 when the trade fair opens.

The Guomenwan trade zone in Dandong, where more than 70 percent of bilateral trade between the two nations is conducted, would cost a total investment of 1 billion yuan (US$157 million), state-run Xinhua news agency reported in August.

ORIGINAL POST (2015-7-12): Adam Cathcart informs us that the fourth China-DPRK Economic, Trade, Culture and Tourism Expo will be held this year. Info on the first, second, and third expos here.

Here is the website for the event (in Chinese).

According to Cathcart:

The going-forward of the 2015 fair was announced in Dandong at a hotel by the city’s vice-mayor; no North Koreans were listed as attending. Nor were any DPRK officials in attendance[.]

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3rd annual North Korea-China Economic, Trade, Culture and Tourism Expo

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

UPDATE 4 (2014-10-23): Here is coverage in the Choson Ilbo:

North Korea signed US$1.3 billion worth of investment deals with Chinese businesses at a trade fair in the Chinese border city of Dandong last week.

China’s Xinhua news agency on Monday quoted one of the organizers of the trade fair as saying, “North Korean and Chinese businesses signed letters of intent covering 60 trade and investment pacts amounting to $1.26 billion.

“Another eight letters of intent were signed between North Korea and businesses in other countries involving $11.6 million worth of trade and $100 million worth of investments.”

Around 500 North Korean officials attended the trade fair, including those in charge of economic development.

But the amount of deals struck was smaller than last year (93 deals worth $1.6 billion), due to deteriorating relations between Beijing and Pyongyang.

Skeptics also point out there is no guarantee that the letters of intent will materialize into concrete investments.

UPDATE 3 (2014-10-20): Here is additional coverage by Yonhap:

In an apparent bid to lure Chinese investors, North Korea has publicized somewhat detailed information about its workforce during an annual trade with China, boasting of a well-educated pool of labor.

The North’s National Economic Development General Bureau released a booklet to show off its labor force at the five-day trade fair, which ended on Monday in the Chinese border city of Dandong.

According to the booklet, North Korea’s total population stood at 24.34 million as of last year. About 12.17 million people constituted a “prepared labor force that can adapt to randomly-chosen professions,” according to the booklet.

North Korea also boasted that it extended compulsory education by one year to 12 years from this year.

“In our country, the level of education is high and the potential of intellectual capability is solidly prepared,” the booklet said. “There is no unemployment, labor striking or sabotage in our country.”

North Korea sent 68 business entities to this year’s North Korea-China Economic, Trade, Culture and Tourism Expo, the third of its kind, down about 30 percent from last year.

The decline in North Korea’s participation at this year’s show underscored the continued strain in bilateral relations, particularly since the North’s third nuclear test in February last year and the execution of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s once-powerful uncle, Jang Song-thaek, who had close ties with Beijing.

UPDATE 2 (2014-10-20): Here is coverage from Xinhua:

A 500-strong trade delegation from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is promoting the country’s investment opportunities at a four-day expo in China’s border city of Dandong, Liaoning Province.

The third China-DPRK Economic, Culture and Tourism Expo, closing on Tuesday, has seen 70 million yuan (about 11.6 million U.S. dollars) of trading, agreements on eight investment contracts worth 100 million U.S. dollars, and 60 trade agreements worth 1.26 billion U.S. dollars in total.

Shi Guang, mayor of Dandong, said the expo has drawn 100 DPRK exhibitors, 96 companies from Russia, India, China’s Taiwan and Hong Kong, as well 210 companies from the Chinese mainland. About 250,000 visitors from 20 countries and regions have attended.

The DPRK is developing a Special Economic Zone to help implement its opening-up policy.

Kim Jong Sik, an official with the DPRK Economic Development Association,ssaid the zone is open up to any countries interested in establishing economic and trade relations with the DPRK.

The zone will be dedicated to external trade, assimilating foreign investment and improving the country’s economy, he said.

According to the official, the DPRK has clinched bilateral trade and investment protection agreements with more than 30 countries and mapped out an economic structure including metallurgy, mining, production of construction materials, machinery, garment making, shipbuilding, agriculture and aquaculture.

Kim said the country’s human resources, environment and tourist resources are key factors to appeal to foreign investment. It has been working to optimize investment laws.

The city of Dandong faces the DPRK across the Yalu River. Construction of a bridge linking both sides has been basically completed. It is expected to help facilitate the DPRK’s exchanges with the outside world.

UPDATE 1 (2014-10-18): According to Yonhap:

North Korea is still showing off its products at an annual trade fair with China, but the number of North Korean business entities attending the event this year was about 30 percent less than last year.

The mood is subdued at the five-day trade fair in the Chinese border city of Dandong, reflecting strained political ties between North Korea and China amid Beijing’s signals of displeasure with Pyongyang’s nuclear ambition.

Organizers had said that about 100 North Korean business entities would attend the annual exhibition, but only 68 of them actually attended this year’s event. About 100 North Korean business entities attended last year’s exhibition.

The crowd was also noticeably smaller than it was last year.

“This year, we didn’t bring many products. Instead of selling products, we come here with hopes to meet with Chinese people who want to invest in our factory,” said an official at a North Korean trading firm who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The decline in North Korea’s participation at the North Korea-China Economic, Trade, Culture and Tourism Expo, which began its five-day run Thursday, underscored the continued strain in bilateral relations, particularly after the North’s third nuclear test in February last year and the execution of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s once-powerful uncle, Jang Song-thaek, who had close ties with Beijing.

In what many analysts believe was a message to North Korea, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a two-day visit to South Korea in July this year, breaking a long-standing tradition by Chinese heads of state of visiting Pyongyang before Seoul.

North Korea’s bilateral trade with China stood at US$4.05 billion in the first eight months of this year, down 1.1 percent from the same period last year, according to Chinese customs data.

Economic development, along with the expansion of its nuclear capability, has been a new focus of North Korea’s policy under young leader Kim Jong-un, who took over in late 2011 after his father, Kim Jong-il, died.

North Korea, beset by poor infrastructure and international sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs, has announced plans to set up an economic development zone in each of its provinces.

Despite sanctions that discourage foreign investment, Kim Jong-sik, an official at the North’s National Economic Development General Bureau, told an audience at the exhibition that Pyongyang would set up a “one-stop service” that makes it easier for foreigners to invest in the country.

“With regard to economic development zones, we will simplify immigration procedures and build a one-stop service, which has been widely introduced around the world, to try to fully guarantee conveniences of foreign investors,” Kim said.

ORIGINAL POST (2014-10-16): According to Yonhap:

North Korea and China kicked off an annual trade exhibition on Thursday, with about 2,000 Chinese companies attending, organizers said.

The five-day trade fair in the Chinese border city of Dandong, where more than 70 percent of bilateral trade between the two nations is conducted, suggests economic ties between Beijing and Pyongyang remain largely unaffected despite the North’s nuclear and missile programs.

About 100 North Korean business entities will attend the North Korea-China Economic, Trade, Culture and Tourism Expo, the third of its kind.

At last year’s exhibition, North Korea and China signed 93 preliminary deals worth US$1.6 billion. It has not been confirmed whether the deals usually lead to actual shipments.

Besides North Korea and China, companies from Hong Kong, Russia, Thailand and Taiwan will join this year’s exhibition, organizers said.

North Korea’s bilateral trade with China stood at US$4.05 billion in the first eight months of this year, down 1.1 percent from the same period last year, according to Chinese customs data.

North Korea’s exports to China declined 0.8 percent on-year to $1.84 billion during the eight-month period, while imports fell 1.2 percent to $2.21 billion, the data showed.

Here is coverage of the first and second expo.

Read the full story here:
N. Korea, China kick off annual trade fair
Yonhap
2014-10-16

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Hong Kong firm signs onto Sinuiju Economic Development Zone

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Sinuiju-SEZ-2014-2

Pictured Above (Google Earth): The approximate borders of the Sinuiju Special Economic Zone.

According to Yonhap:

North Korea has joined hands with a Hong Kong-based company to develop the country’s northwestern border city of Sinuiju into a special economic zone, a North Korean official said.

Sinuiju, which borders China’s Dandong city, has drawn much attention from foreign investors for its geographical advantage as North Korea’s western gateway to China, Ri Chol-sok, the vice chairman of North Korea’s economic development committee, said in an interview in the March issue of Kumsugangsan magazine, a North Korean government mouthpiece.

“Now a joint development company has been established for the development of (Sinuiju) and is striving to win back lost opportunities,” said the North Korean official.

Hong Kong-based conglomerate Great China International Investment Groups Ltd. reportedly signed the deal with North Korea.

North Korea is also making efforts to lure foreign investment to other special economic zones, including one in the Rason area in the northern tip of the country, according to Ri.

The foreign company already has deep ties with the North, having joined the country’s project launched in January to renovate the eastern part of the capital Pyongyang.

The Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES) reported the following:

It has been reported that North Korea has established relations with a Hong Kong-based company with the goals of developing Sinuiju, a city bordering China in the northwest region of North Pyongan Province, into a special economic zone (SEZ). Vice Chairman of North Korea’s Committee for Economic Development Ri Chol Sok emphasized the nation’s efforts to attract foreign investors to the Sinuiju economic zone in an interview in the March issue of Kumsugangsan, a North Korean government magazine.

Vice Chairman Ri specifically mentioned that, in the past, Sinuiju garnered praise and attention from foreign investors due to its geographically advantageous location along the western border. Ri also announced the establishment of the Sinuiju-Great China joint venture development company, which plans to draw further interest and investment from abroad.

It is reported that the Sinuiju-Great China joint venture development company was created alongside a Hong Kong-based finance conglomerate known as Great China International Investment Groups, Ltd. (“Great China Groups”). Great China Groups has recently shown great interest in investing in North Korea and recently began the construction of East Pyongyang Commercial Street this past January.

Recent reports from other foreign media outlets have shown that Great China Groups had intentions to invest in the development of the Sinuiju region for some time, but Vice Chairman Ri’s announcement marks the first time that North Korean state media has officially recognized their joint development plans.

Meanwhile, the North Korean foreign publicity website Naenara announced that development of an additional economic development zone (EDZ) in North Pyongan Province along the Amnok (Yalu) River began on January 27 of this year. The Amnok (Yalu) River economic development zone will extend 6.6 square kilometers, with construction taking place in Ryongun-ri and continuing up to the Guri and Ojok Islands, where the North Korean border meets the city of Dandong and the Hu Mountain in China’s Liaoning Province.

North Korea plans to draw in tourists visiting China’s Hu Mountain to Ojok Island, where an “international services station” will offer food, entertainment, and tourist attractions. There are also plans to develop a modern agricultural sciences research complex on Guri Island that will specialize in flower and vegetable production.

North Korea specifically pushed for this location for the development of the Amnok (Yalu) River economic development zone — which will operate autonomously in Pyongan — due to its border location with China. In addition to its desirable geographical location, convenient transportation between the two nations will likely attract more attention from Chinese foreign investors, giving the Amnok (Yalu) River EDZ a higher chance of success compared to other economic development zones.

Investments reaching upwards of 240 million USD (approx. 260.3 billion KRW) make the Amnok River EDZ the largest in scale among the 13 total development areas.  In terms of actual size, however, the largest economic development zone in North Korea is the Shinpyong tourist development zone (8.1km2), located in North Hwanghae province.

Apart from the EDZs in the North Pyongan region of Sinuiju, the central government has announced their plans to push forward with two other special economic zones. The Hwanggeumpyong and Wihwa Islands SEZ was announced in June 2010, and in November of last year, plans were revealed to develop an additional special economic zone in the Sinuiju region.

All the economic development zones are listed here. Some people say there are 13 of them. Some people say 14 because they consider the Sinuiju Special Economic Zone an economic development zone. I am in the 14 camp. There have also been at least three other zones proposed that did not make the final list. 

The Sinuiju Special Economic Zone was announced on 2013-11-21 (the same day as the other 13 EDZs were announced–though in a different article).

Besides the Sinuiju Special Economic Zone, the only other EDZ to have reportedly made any progress is the  North Hamgyong Provincial Onsong Island Tourist Development Zone.

Read the full story here:
N. Korean, Hong Kong firms to develop border city of Sinuiju
Yonhap
2014-3-12

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2nd annual China-DPRK Economic, Trade, Culture and Tourism Expo

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

UPDATE 1 (2013-10-15): Yonhap reports on the activities carried out at the expo:

North Korean companies participating in an annual trade fair with China signed a total of 93 preliminary deals worth US$1.6 billion at the event, China’s state media reported Tuesday.

North Korea and its economic lifeline, China, wrapped up the trade expo, the second of its kind, on Monday in the Chinese border city of Dandong with some 130 North Korean firms attending the five-day exhibition.

The North Korea-China Economic, Trade, Culture and Tourism Expo came as China has been deepening its economic ties with the North even though Beijing appears to have become increasingly frustrated with Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

During the trade fair, preliminary investment deals worth $510 million and export deals worth $1.09 billion were signed, the official China News Service reported.

North Korea and China held the inaugural trade fair last year, with $1.26 billion worth of preliminary deals signed.

In the first eight months of this year, two-way trade between North Korea and China stood at $4.09 billion, compared with $4.1 billion for the same period last year, South Korean government data showed.

ORIGINAL POST (2013-10-10): According to Yonhap:

An annual trade fair between North Korea and China kicked off in the Chinese border city of Dandong on Thursday, with some 130 North Korean firms attending the five-day exhibition, organizers said.

The North Korea-China Economic, Trade, Culture and Tourism Expo, the second of its kind, comes as China is deepening its economic ties with the North even though Beijing appears to have become increasingly frustrated with Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

About 500 North Koreans, including a 115-member propaganda troupe, joined the exhibition that features 700 booths for products ranging from foods and garments to mining and machinery equipment, according to the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), which organized the event.

Of the booths, about 200 were allocated to buyers from Pakistan, Malaysia, India, Russia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, a Dandong branch of the CCPIT said.

North Korea and China held the inaugural trade fair last year, with US$1.26 billion worth of preliminary deals signed.

According to Xinhua:

The second China-DPRK economic, trade, culture and tourism expo has opened in the border city of Dandong in Northeast China’s Liaoning province.

The DPRK’s National Folk Art Troupe performed its ethnic dances at the opening ceremony on Thursday. A 500-member delegation from the DPRK is attending the expo which lasts from Thursday to Monday.

The expo is by far the largest foreign economic and trade event for the DPRK. And more than 90 percent of the country’s foreign trade companies have sent their representatives. Meanwhile there are over 10,000 traders from China.

The expo also attracts companies from Malaysia and Thailand. There are 16 events including promotion of China-DPRK commodities, and DPRK tourism. The DPRK’s investment policies are also to be introduced to attract investors.

The first such expo was held in 2012 with 72 agreements of cooperation signed. They have a combined value of over 1 billion US dollars.

According to KCNA:

The 2nd DPRK-China Economic, Trade, Cultural and Tourism EXPO opened on Thursday with due ceremony in Dandong, China.

Colorful events are to be held during the EXPO including trade fair, fine art exhibition, exhibition of photos on tourism and art performance.

Present at the ceremony were officials of the party and government of Liaoning Province and the city and those in the field of culture, economy and trade including Bing Zhigang, vice-governor of the province, citizens in Dandong, Liu Hongcai, Chinese ambassador to the DPRK, and his embassy members and diplomatic envoys of different countries to the DPRK.

Also present there were members of the delegation of the 2nd DPRK-China Economic, Trade, Cultural and Tourism EXPO led by Hong Kil Nam, vice-chairman of North Phyongan Provincial People’s Committee, Kim Kwang Hun, DPRK consul general to Shenyang, and Choe Un Bok, chairperson of the General Association of Koreans in China.

An opening speech was made there, which was followed by congratulatory speeches.

The speakers said that the EXPO will be a good opportunity to swap the successes and experience gained in various fields and boost the cooperation between the two countries.

They expressed the conviction that it will contribute to deepening the mutual understanding and trust and promoting the friendly and cooperative relations between the peoples of the two countries.

An art performance was given by the National Folk Art Troupe on the same day.

Prior to this, a reception was given for the participants of the Expo.

Xinhua also published this helpful advice for North Korean policy makers:

China-DPRK economic cooperation is important for maintaining peace and stability in Northeast Asia. China has a long history of investment in the DPRK, and is the country’s biggest trade partner. So what’s it like to do business in the DPRK?

Economic cooperation between China and the DPRK has strengthened as tons of goods are coming in and out the border each day. And the scale of their trade and investment has expanded over the past few decades. But the rapidly developing China-DPRK economic relations have certain problems that need to be solved. Many concerns have been raised in regards to the risk factor when investing in the country.

Today, China’s investment in the DPRK is mainly concentrated on minerals and other strategic resources. And many investors claimed that the main difficulties when they set up businesses in the DPRK is to cope with the country’s frequent policy changes.

Many Chinese companies and manufacturers have come to the exhibition hall for trade talks with the DPRK, and to have a better understanding of the country in which they have invested or intend to invest. The best way to find out the business environment there is to speak with someone who has been there long enough.

“You need to have certain knowledge about the rules and regulations in the DPRK before conducting investments there. A thorough business plan is a good start, and it’s crucial to have a business partner from the DPRK with a strong background,” said Ma Pengxiu, general manager of Dandong Hantong Trading company.

Some Chinese companies that have invested in the DPRK reportedly suffered losses, for which they blame the investment environment in that country. It’s true that enterprises cannot be certain of making profits, no matter which country they invest in they need to cope with local laws and regulations to avoid risks. But it’s also true that the DPRK has to improve its investment environment and make its policies more stable.

“There were companies and individuals who have experienced failures in the investments in the DPRK, so investors in these days are more concerned about the relevant protections from the DPRK side; my advise is to protect your business with a written wontract always,” said Ma.

Needless to say the DPRK delegation at the EXPO this year was well prepared and ambitious in seeking cooperation opportunities with the outside world. The country is keen on drawing investments to beef up its industries. In the meantime the DPRK still needs to take measures to ensure a stable business environment to make it easier for investors to thrive in the country.

Here is a link to the inaugural trade fair post.

Read the full stories here:
N. Korea, China kick off annual trade fair
Yonhap
2013-10-10

2nd China-DPRK Expo opens in Dandong
Xinhua
2013-10-11

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1st annual China-DPRK Economic, Trade, Culture and Tourism Expo

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

UPDATE 5 (2012-11-7): The China Daily’s English-language Dandong page offers additional details of the expo:

Despite the global economic slowdown, more than 6,000 business representatives from 20 countries signed agreements on more than 200 cooperative projects. Some 72 of the largest projects have a total combined value of $1.26 billion.

During the 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-2010), total trade value between Dandong and DPRK amounted to $3 billion. Imports and exports between Dandong and the DPRK reached $1.86 billion in 2011.

So far, trade between Dandong and DPRK accounts for 40 percent of total China-DPRK trade, and the volume of the cross-border cargo trade via Dandong port makes up 80 percent of the total Sino-DPRK trade volume.

UPDATE 4 (2012-10-16): Xinhua reports on the closing of the expo:

The five-day 2012 China-DPRK Economic, Trade, Culture and Tourism Expo, held in the border city of Dandong, concluded on Tuesday with 72 agreements of cooperation intent signed. They have a combined value of 1.26 billion US dollars.

Pan Shuang, vice mayor of Dandong, said more than 6,000 Chinese and overseas people from over 20 countries and regions exhibited at and attended the expo. There were talks on 200 projects.

He said the projects related to industries ranging from aquaculture, clothes manufacturing, chemical production, wind power generation equipment, iron steel production to hotel construction.

AT THE EXPO

At the exhibition, the DPRK delegation exhibited ginseng products, food specialties, hand-made Hanbok, a traditional Korean costume, as well as mining and machinery equipment.

Ri Yong Chol, sales manager of Korea Roksan General Trading Corp., which is a ginseng supplier, said “I came to look for Chinese friends and potential business partners. Our company is also seeking opportunities to set up a subsidiary in China to get better access to the Chinese market.”

A Korean girl wearing brightly-colored Hanbok and traditional ornaments was selling costumes. “Our factory can make 20 such hand-made Hanboks a day. The clothes are for important occasions with exquisite workmanship and high-quality material,” she said.

Liu Songyu, chairman of a Korean garment firm from Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture of Jilin Province, was interested in the business.

“Chinese labor costs have been rising fast. In Yanbian, a garment-factory worker’s salary has risen to 2,000 yuan (319 US dollars) a month. While, if the company had a factory in DPRK, it would save a considerable amount on labor costs. I would give a serious thought to that,” he said.

Yanbian is a heavily Korean ethnic populated region in China, where people also wear Hanbok during important occasions.

Elsewhere, Huang Zijun, an authorized dealer of Total Petrochemcial, was overwhelmed to obtain 20 orders from the DPRK delegation during the expo.

“I felt their enthusiasm in promoting business at the expo. I believe the DPRK is a big market for petrochemical products like lubricating oil,” he said.

Here is coverage of the closing in the Daily NK.

UPDATE 3 (2012-10-14): Martyn Williams pointed out this video to me which readers may also find interesting:

Click image to see video at CCTV web page

UPDATE 2 (2012-10-14): According to Xinhua:

An economic, trade, culture and tourism expo jointly initiated by China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) opened Friday in the border city of Dandong in northeast China’s Liaoning Province.

A delegation of 500 members from the DPRK is attending the 2012 China-DPRK Economic, Trade, Culture and Tourism Expo, which is scheduled to run from Friday to Tuesday, the event’s organizers said.

Over 400 Chinese companies from 12 industries are also attending the expo.

With the theme of “friendship, cooperation and development,” the expo consists of commodity exhibitions, trade fairs, DPRK art performances, craftwork exhibitions, a border trip to the Yalu River and an exhibition for the tourism resources of the two countries.

Supported by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, the event is being organized by the Liaoning Provincial Government.

China is DPRK’s biggest trade partner. Statistics show that bilateral trade volume went up 62.4 percent year on year to 5.64 billion U.S. dollars last year.

Xinhua posted these official photos.

CCTV also covered the expo.  Here is their English-language report:

Here is KCNA coverage of the expo:

The Daily NK also reported on the expo:

A source from Dandong described the unusually vibrant scene to Daily NK yesterday, saying, “The North Korean authorities have mobilized companies from Pyongyang and from here in China to sell goods and pitch for joint venture opportunities. There are loads of people; it’s standing room only.”

The source added that North Korean companies attending the event are pushing very hard to attract investment; notably, by distributing their own promotional literature expounding upon the given company’s superior virtues and providing exact contact details for follow-up inquiries. It is not hard to find meetings continuing in local North Korean eateries, as the North Korean side tries to woo potential sources of capital.

Chinese companies are keen to hear about the joint venture opportunities available, the source also said; and with most of the larger enterprises from China’s three northeastern provinces sending representatives to Dandong for the event, which runs until the 16th, most of the city’s hotels are apparently full to bursting.

However, due to past and present cases of lip service being paid to contractual obligations by North Korean companies whose only goal has been to attract funding rather than build business, Chinese representatives are still very cautious about actually signing on the dotted line.

One such representative from a Dandong-based company with a 10-year history of doing business with North Korea pointed out to Daily NK, “We have seen countless examples of companies making contracts and then there being little contact between the partners thereafter. Unbelievably, one manager I tried some minerals business with last year just changed the name of the company and came back again this year.”

Additional Information:

1. Here is IFES coverage of the expo.

2. The DPRK also held investment seminars back in late September.

UPDATE 1 (2012-6-7): The expo appears to have been pushed back to October 2012. According to KBS:

North Korea and China will jointly hold a fair on economy, trade, culture and tourism in the Chinese border city of Dandong for five days from October 12th.

A Dandong-based newspaper reports that this will be the first comprehensive fair covering several fields that the two countries hold. The paper said the fair will exhibit products, offer trade consultations, hold cultural and art performances and introduce both nations’ tourist attractions.

Roughly 400 Chinese companies exporting to North Korea will participate in the event. About 100 North Korean companies and cultural troupes will partake.

Dandong is China’s largest base for trade with North Korea, with 70 percent of its trade with North Korea running through the border city.

Read the full story here:
N.Korea, China to Hold Joint Industrial Fair in October
KBS
2012-6-7

ORIGINAL POST (2011-12-3): Dandong to host Sino-DPRK economic and cultural expo. According to Xinhua:

The northeastern Chinese city of Dandong, which borders the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), will host a Sino-DPRK economic, trade and cultural exposition in June next year, a local Chinese official said Saturday.

A series of activities, including a commodity fair, investment and trade talks, tourism exhibition and arts exhibition, will be staged during the exposition, said a spokesman with the Publicity Department of the Dandong Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China.

The Phibada Opera Troupe of the DPRK, an artists group well known to Chinese people, will give performances during the event, he said.

Adam Cathcart took the time to send me this interesting link to the official Dandong web page.  It contains some videos (in Chinese) in which local officials promote the changes they expect to come to this city as it transitions into a regional trade hub.

Below I have added some links to recent blog posts that a re related to Dandong:

1. Dandong customs house is busy, busy, busy (2011-9-13)

2. Chinese foreign ministry publication frank on Rason and Hwanggumphyong (2011-8-31)

3. New Yalu River bridge in south-west Dandong (2011-6-25)

4. Some alleged guidelines for the Hwanggumphyong SEZ (2011-6-24)

5. DPRK and PRC launch joint Yalu patrols (2011-6-15)

6. Sinuiju SEZ Version 5: Hwanggumphyong-ri and Wihwa Island (2011-6-14)

7. Dandong-DPRK trade and growth (2010-12-2)

8. Future Sinuiju development affecting Dandong today (2010-10-19)

9. DPRK-China trade and investment growing (2010-10-1)

10. Dandong launches DPRK trade program (2010-8-19)

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