Archive for the ‘Chamber of Commerce (DPRK)’ Category

DPRK to make appearance at Shanghai Expo

Monday, April 19th, 2010

UPDATE 4: Here is the DPRK Pavilion’s web page (h/t NKNews.org).

UPDATE 3: A video of the DPRK pavilion at the Shanghai expo can be seen here.

UPDATE 2: Voice of America offers a description of the interior of theD PRK’s Pavilion:

Inside, there is a replica of Pyongyang’s Juche Statue, a small waterway that represents the North’s Taedong River, a traditional bridge and large fountain with colored lights.

On top of the fountain, a group of white marble statues of naked boys encircle two others. One boy holds the other up in the air as he lifts a dove into the sky.

In one corner, there is a small cave that contains a reproduction of a mural from the North’s Koguryo Tombs, a World Heritage site.

Along a wall, beneath the phrase “Paradise for the People,” a row of television sets plays videos depicting everyday life in North Korea.

Some of the videos show North Koreans leisurely bowling, playing golf and ice skating. Although some of the footage appears to be recent, other shots seem to be decades old.

Many who visited the pavilion Tuesday say that aside from the fact that there were no lines to get in, they wanted to visit because, as they put it, North Korea is so mysterious.

UPDATE 1:  The Shanghai Expo has posted some information on the DPRK’s Pavilion. Here are some of the details:

Theme: Urban Development of Pyongyang, the Capital of DPR Korea (Prosperous Pyongyang based on the River Taedong Culture)

Pavilion Features: The pavilion perfectly merges national characteristics of DPRK together with its modern beauty. Outer walls are decorated with national flags and a winged steed bronze statue. Main items exhibited in the pavilion include Juche Tower, Taedong River, Korean-style pavilions, rockeries and small stone caves. All of them present a prosperous and modern Pyongyang based on the traditions of DPRK, where education, science, culture and sports have achieved great development during its long history.

Pavilion Highlights
Highlight 1: The Juche Tower Model — 4.5-meter-high model of Juche Tower is exhibited in the pavilion.
Highlight 2: Symbol of Taedong River — winding river flows across the pavilion, reminding people of the stretching Taedong River.
Highlight 3: National Section and Stone Caves — national section and stone caves are exhibited on the right side of the pavilion. Inside the cave the world heritage of tomb murals in Jiangxi County and paintings of DPRK style are displayed.

Here are some photos of the DPRK’s pavilion (h/t Daylife):

expo1.jpg expo2.jpg expo3.jpg

And here are some photos from the Shanghai Scrap blog:

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ORIGINAL POST: According to the PRC’s People’s Daily:

China welcomes countries including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to participate in the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Tuesday.

DPRK Chamber of Commerce Vice-Chairman Ri Song Un told Xinhua on March 18 that the country had already finished preparatory work for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, its first Expo appearance.

Situated in an area of 5.28 square kilometers at the core the city of Shanghai to exhibitions, events and forums, the six-month expo starting from May 1 will attract about 200 nations and regions and international organizations’ participation, as well as 70 million visitors from home and abroad.

Read the full story here:
China welcomes DPRK in attending Shanghai World Expo: FM spokesman
People’s Daily
3/30/2010

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GPI organizaing DPRK business delegation

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

From GPI Consulting:

In the current financial and economic situation, companies face many challenges. They must cut costs, develop new products and find new markets. In these fields, North-Korea might be an interesting option. Inspired by the economic successes of its neighbouring country China, North-Korea has since a few years opened its doors to foreign enterprises. It established several free trade zones to attract foreign investors and there are several sectors, including textile industry, shipbuilding, agro business, logistics, renewable energy, mining and Information Technology, that can be considered for trade and investment.

North-Korea is competing with other Asian countries by offering skilled labor for very low monthly wages and by offering tax incentives.  Last year, North-Korea’s exports rose with 23 percent and its imports with 32 percent. Do you want to explore new business opportunities for your company? Then join us from 19 – 26 September 2009 on our trade & investment mission to North-Korea. The program includes individual matchmaking, company visits, network receptions and dinners. Furthermore, we will visit the annual Autumn International Trade Fair in Pyongyang (see photo). We will also meet European business people who are working and living in North-Korea.
 
The mission is meant for entrepreneurs from various business sectors; tailormade meetings will be arranged by our local partner, the DPRK Chamber of Commerce. The program of this unique mission has been attached and we can be contacted for further details. In case you want to participate: please register as soon as possible, so we can start the visa-application procedure.
 
With best regards,
Paul Tjia (sr. consultant ‘global sourcing’)
GPI Consultancy, P.O. Box 26151, 3002 ED Rotterdam, The Netherlands
E-mail: paul@gpic.nl tel: +31-10-4254172  fax: +31-10-4254317 Website: www.gpic.nl
 
N.B. some examples of investment opportunities in North-Korea:  
http://www.gpic.nl/invest(hungsong).pdf and http://www.gpic.nl/invest(clock).pdf 

GPI’s marketing flyer is here.

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Singapore-North Korea trade deal

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

The Singaporean government is insuring investment in the DPRK…

Quoting from the article:

Singapore firms keen to expand into the largely untapped market of North Korea now have a foot in the door, thanks to two new agreements inked on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said that Singapore signed an Investment Guarantee Agreement (IGA) with the country on Tuesday.

Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang and his North Korean counterpart, Mr Ri Ryong Nam, signed the IGA during the North Korean Foreign Trade Minister’s official visit to Singapore.

MTI said the IGA will help promote bilateral investment flows by protecting investors and their investments.

Under the agreement, investors will be accorded non-discriminatory treatment, compensation in the event of expropriation or nationalisation of their investments, and free transfer of capital and returns from investment – perennial ‘banana peels’ for businesses entering a less-developed and unexplored market.

Separately, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the North Korean Chamber of Commerce.

According to the SBF, North Korea remains an unexplored market for many Singapore firms but there exists many opportunities for local businesses to tap into such as its high-quality yet affordable workforce and the abundance of natural resources.

Read the full article below:
S’pore, N.Korea ink trade deals
The Straights Times
Francis Chan
12/2/2008

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Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair announced

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

From the European Business Association (EBA) web site:

4th Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair
September 22nd – 25th, 2008, 9:30am-6:00pm
Further details here

Information flyer here: eba.pdf
Registration flyer here: registration.doc

The European Business Association (EBA) in Pyongyang issues this bulletin in order to inform about special conditions for participation by European businesses in the upcoming international trade fair in Pyongyang.

EBA Pyongyang and Korea International Exhibition Corporation (KIEC) will co-organise a special collective booth to host European businesses for the third time.

European companies interested in taking advantage of this opportunity are invited to visit the EBA website www.eba-pyongyang.org to see reports about the EBA booths in October 2007 and May 2008, which both were very successfull. Please also click through to membership and consider becoming a member of EBA.

The collective EBA booth has proven to be a convenient and cost-effective way to introduce European companies to the North Korean market. The participation fee is 600 or 700 Euro.

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KFA wraps up business delegation to DPRK…

Monday, March 10th, 2008

In the words of Alejandro himself:

[The] Korean Friendship Association concluded its first busines [sic] delegation, headed by Mr. Alejandro Cao de Benos, Special Delegate and KFA President, in collaboration with the DPRK Committee for Cultural Relations, Ministry of Trade and the DPRK Chamber of Commerce. The group included companies from Australia, France, Spain and Lebanon in different sectors like ship building, foodstuff production, medicine, IT and infrastructure, etc. The visit was a big success and 75% of the investors signed letter of intentions and contracts. All of the participants agreed that DPR Korea has a huge potential and new market with many interesting opportunities with the lowest taxes and wages but with the most skilled, motivated workforce. The companies fullfiled [sic] all their plans and resolved the questions during the visit and they had meetings with their Korean counterparts as well as with the officials of Trade, Chamber of Commerce, Banking authorities and logistics.

They visited a Foodstuff factory,  Heavy Machinery complex, Ostrich farm as well as the ‘Kaesong Industrial Zone’ in the border with South Korea, were they had a briefing by the Director representative of Hyundai-ASAN.

After that, the investors visited a South Korean cable-making factory and a garment manufacturing plant specialized in high quality sport brands.

From KFA we congratulate the companies that concluded agreements and established Joint Ventures in the DPRK and wish them success in their projects.

From a follow up post on the KFA forum, one of the attendees appears to be Mr. Kevin Liu, head of Asian Division of London-based Exclusive Analysis.

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DPRK Chamber of Commerce

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

The DPRK Chamber of Commerce was inaugurated on August 25, 2004 with the purpose of developing economic and trade relations with different countries over the world.

The Pyongyang Chamber of Commerce (PCC), the predecessor of the DPRK Chamber of Commerce, had been established on March 1, 2000 and granted an associate membership of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) at its 33rd World Congress held in Budapest, Hungary in May, 2000.

The PCC had conducted such service activities as trade, finance, arbitration and consultation helpful to the domestic and foreign trade and economic organizations in close relations with the ICC, national chambers of commerce and world trade and economic centres.

It was registered in the directory of addresses published by the ICC, the International Trade Centre and other international economic organizations.

With a view to expanding exchange and cooperation with foreign countries in all fields of the economy, the PCC was developed into the Chamber of Commerce of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

At present, it is extensively carrying on its commercial business in closer ties with the ICC and national chambers of commerce around the world.

The DPRK Chamber of Commerce makes efforts to promote bilateral and multinational exchange and investment with Korean joint venture and individual enterprises in foreign countries as its full members and with foreign individual enterprises and entrepreneurs residing in Korea, overseas compatriots and foreign enterprises who hope to have business transactions with Korean partners as its associate members.

It has an organizational structure consisting of secretariat, trade information committee, trade arbitration committee and exhibition committee as well as non-permanent credentials committee for full members or associate members.

The trade information committee engages in such business as collection and distribution of information data on world economy and trade, international commodity and financial markets.

The trade arbitration committee handles correct examination and settlement of disputes relating to economy and trade.

The exhibition committee organizes the opening of national trade fairs at home and abroad and provides every convenience for the participation of its members in the fairs.

The DPRK Chamber of Commerce will make a positive contribution to the promotion of foreign trade, invitation of investment and economic exchange with other countries.

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The DPRK Chamber is headed by Ri Hak Gwon.  I have been unnable to determine any other posts he might have held in the past.

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The Chamber has two addresses on line:

DPRK Chamber of Commerce
c/o Ministry of Foreign Trade
Central District
Pyongyang
D.P.R. of Korea
E-Mail: micom@co.chesin.com
(This address seems to indicate it is an office within the Ministry of Foreign Trade)

DPRK Chamber of Commerce
Jungsong-dong, Central District,
Pyongyang, DPR Korea
P.O.Box 89
Tel: 850-2-3815926
Fax: 850-2-3815827
E-mail: micom@co.chesin.com

——–

Externally, the DPRK Chamber liases with numerous external business organizations to promote DPRK exports and foreign direct investment (FDI):

European Business Association

The EBA cooperates with the DPRK Chamber of Commerce and supports it as well as the Korea International Exhibition Corporation under the Ministry of Foreign Trade to help European companies participate [in the Pyongyang International Trade Fair].  European companies participating at the European booth [in the most recent fair] said they were very satisfied. European businesses that would like to participate at the European booth during the next trade fairs (11th PYONGYANG SPRING INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR, May 12 – 15, 2008 and the and the 4th PYONGYANG AUTUMN INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR, September 22 – 25, 2008) are welcome to contact EBA from now on. Details on these fairs will also be given shortly on the EBA-website under “Services”

Friedrich Nauman Foundation

“It is a great honour and a token of both appreciation and trust” , said Mr. Kim Myeong-ho, Deputy Director of the Department of International Relations of the Korean Workers’ Party welcoming two representatives of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation at the Headquarters of the Korean Workers’ Party (KWP) in Pyongyang. Since their meeting at the beginning of February this year the international political situation has changed dramatically: the February 13 Agreement on the Denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula was signed between the six parties DPR Korea, USA, China, Republic of Korea, Japan and Russia. Meanwhile, the parties have taken necessary steps to ease the tensions on the Korean Peninsula and to move towards denuclearization. Both the U.S. and the DPR Korea have started negotiations on the normalisation of bilateral relations within the framework of the Six-Party Talks. Finally, both Koreas agreed to hold a second summit on 2-4 October.

Mr. Kim Myeong-ho expressed his appreciation of the training activities of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in the DPR Korea. Referring to the New Year’s editorial of the Rodong Shinmun, the KWP’s newspaper, he mentioned the priority of modernizing the economy in the sectors of agriculture, light industry, IT and banking. According to him, of particular interest are methods of farm management, renewable energy and food security but also city management.

The representatives of the KWP accepted FNF’s offer of having a study tour to Germany for party officials in 2008 presuming further progress in the Six-Party Talks. The members of the delegation would have “fresh ideas” after being back in the DPR Korea, FNF was told.

Walter Klitz, Resident Representative of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Korea, also had meetings with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the DPRK’s Chamber of Commerce. In cooperation with the European Union, FNF will hold the 3rd EU-DPRK Economic Workshop in October, its fourth seminar this year.

Here is the agenda for a training seminr held last April. Here is their summary of the event.

New Clients:

South-North Korean Economic Cooperation Forum

A major South Korean business organization said Thursday (Sept. 27) it plans to form a civilian body for economic cooperation with North Korea on the occasion of the 2007 South-North Korean Summit next week.

The envisioned body, tentatively named the South-North Korean Economic Cooperation Forum, is to be set up in October and have 50 members, including 35 entrepreneurs, the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) said.

It would be the first non-governmental channel for inter-Korean economic cooperation. Currently, the South’s Ministry of Unification and the North’s National Economic Cooperation Federation are the sole channels for inter-Korean economic cooperation.

“The establishment of the body is designed to further promote inter-Korean economic cooperation on a civilian level,” said Kim Sang-yeol, vice chairman of the KCCI.

The planned group will conduct economic cooperation projects with the North and help improve North Korea’s investment environment, the KCCI said.

To that end, the chamber will try to sign a deal with its counterpart, the DPRK Chamber of Commerce, and send an investment inspection team to the North after the end of the summit. DPRK is the acronym for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Established in March 2000, the chamber of commerce, which includes members of 100 major companies, has carried out external economic exchanges and attracted foreign investment in the North, according to the KCCI.     

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun is scheduled to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-il from Oct. 2-4 in Pyongyang. Seoul has hinted that the promotion of economic cooperation will be high on the agenda of the 2007 South-North Korean summit, as it was in the first summit in 2000.

Alejandro Cao de Benos

In his own words: “[The KFA is] looking into development of new areas to expand into, especially those related to economy that are critical also for the development and life improvement of the DPRK. Since KFA has played an important role in building friendship, now we also can play our part in building business.

For accomplishing this goal, I announce the creation of the IKBC (International Korea Business Center).  As a sister organization of the KFA, the IKBC will strictly take care of business issues, facilitate business information to private investors and companies around the world.

In close collaboration with the DPRK Chamber of Commerce, IKBC will become the reference link between the DPRK and foreign businessmen. The spirit is to build a DPRK Chamber of Commerce outside the DPRK that will approach the countless possibilities in trading that will benefit all sides involved.

Alejandro’s involvement raises questions about the relationship between the DPRK’s cultural diplomatic efforts (since he is a client of the Committe for Cultural Relations with Foreign countries) and its business outreach efforts auspiciously under the Ministry of Foreign Trade.  I suspect that various DPRK agencies have been blurring the boundries between the two activities for fiscal reasons.  As access to hard currency comes to play a greater role in the DPRK system, I predict that we will see more of this kind of mission creep on the DPRK side.

They also undertake external activities:

A delegation of the DPRK Chamber of Commerce (KCC) took part in the 5th China International Equipment Manufacturing Exposition on Aug. 29, 2006 and the 2nd China Jilin Northeast Asia Investment & Trade Exposition on Sep. 2, 2006.

During its participation in the expositions, the delegation held an interview on investment and discussed matters of investment in the development of a vanadium mine, stone dressing, the production of agrochemicals and calcium carbonate, seafood breeding and processing and so on.

The KCC secretary-general made an introductory speech entitled “On the trade and investment policy of the DPR Korea”.

At the interview, a series of technical matters on joint ventures and processing trade as well as investment guaranty were discussed and agreed between traders.

A trade and investment seminar for European businessmen was held in Pyongyang under the sponsorship of the KCC on October 30, 2006.

There was the general explanation on the DPRK trade and investment policy and the investment environment.

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DPRK-PRC Friendship Distribution Center Under Construction in Sinuiju

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

Institute for Far Eastern Studies
NK Brief No. 07-9-13-1

It has been reported that Chinese and North Korean governments are working in unison to push forward with a plan to jointly build a goods distribution center in the North Korean city of Sinuiju. According to Yonhap News, China proposed a plan for North Korea to build a ‘DPRK-PRC Friendship Distribution Center’ in Sinuiju, and the two countries are currently involved in negotiations over the idea. North Korea has already signed an investment agreement welcoming Chinese investment firms.

In conjunction with this, North Korean Chamber of Commerce Secretary General Yoon Young-suk held an interview with Yonhap News in the Chinese city of Changchun on September 3. At that time, while refuting a new push for the development of the Sinuiju Special Administrative Region, he stated that “regarding the procurement of a range of goods required in [North Korea], I have heard talk of a plan for a DPRK-PRC Friendship Distribution Center in part of the Sinuiju region.”

The scope of trade between China and North Korea is growing by the day, yet the Sinuiju Customs Office responsible for customs clearance for Chinese imports was limited from the beginning, and the need for a replacement facility has been brought up time and time again. This new distribution center appears to be in response to these calls for a larger facility. The construction of the center will be a cooperative project involving materials and capital from China, while North Korea will provide the land and labor.

A trader from Pyongyang acting as a confidential informant stated, “repairs on the road portion of the [steel bridge spanning the Yalu River connecting Dandong and Sinuiju] carried out from the 10th to the 26th of last month were also part of the material aid from the Chinese.” Officials at the North Korean consulate in Shenyang traveled to the bridge on the 23rd of last month to inspect the progress of the upgrades.

Not long ago, a Chinese trader traveled to Pyongyang, then by road to Sinuiju and over the river to Dandong. He observed, “many construction workers involved in large-scale ground leveling construction work along the railroad tracks running through the heart of downtown Sinuiju,” and, “approximately 10-20 meter deep, very large scale construction appeared to be underway.”

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3rd Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

European Business Association
September 24-27, 2007

The European Business Association (EBA) in Pyongyang and DPRK Chamber of Commerce are orgaizing a booth for European business at the upcoming international trade fair in Pyongyang.  European companies are invited to make use of this opportunity to introduce their business to the North Korean market.

European companies interested in taking advantage of this opportunity are invited to visit the EBA website www.eba-pyongyang.org – please click through to membership for the statutes. The membership fee of 500 Euro will include the following services for companies who would not send their own representative to the trade fair:

  • Poster display (maximum size DIN A2)
  • Distribution of flyers (maximum size DIN A4)
    Feedback for Korean inquiries by e-mail: any contact request and any inquiry by a Korean company will be registered in a special format and will be supplied asap by   e-mail to your company.
  • Photos documenting the participation of your company in the fair.

If a representative will take part, the joint European booth is of course open for him/her to be used during the fair and EBA will support and assist you actively in making contacts and business meetings with potential Korean partners. According to a special arrangement between the EBA Pyongyang and the DPRK Chamber of Commerce, the deadline for visa application has been extended for European businesses to August 20, 2007.

Learn more here

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Politics, blood ties trump trump profits in north

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

Joong Ang Daily
6/22/2006

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.

Another senior North Korean official, Kim Ha-dong, also gave a presentation about Pyongyang’s export policy. Mr. Kim, a senior researcher at the trade ministry, said the communist country had been issuing permits for exports and imports after only a short review process. He encouraged investors to participate in trade.

The North Korean presentations were not very different from those given in any capitalist country, but the concept of “self-reliance” was prominent.

“We will build a self-reliant economy of Koreans and carry out trade on top of that,” Mr. Kim said. He added that North Korea’s self-reliance must not be damaged or controlled by foreign economies through trade.

During the JoongAng Ilbo’s 10-day survey of the reclusive communist country’s economic sites, Pyongyang’s dilemma ― self-reliant socialism versus economic development by attracting foreign investments ― was apparent. Some North Korean officials showed skepticism about China’s model of partially opening its economy, claiming that their country had to be run in a different manner.

“I have toured special economic zones in China several times,” said Ju Tong-chan, the North’s chairman of the National Economic Cooperation Committee. “But we have different ways of managing our economy than China, and I believe we should run our special economic zones in different ways. We are still researching our options, but we will not do it that [Chinese] way.”

China was able to expand its economy at high speed after the central government opened up the economy. It gave local governments enough independence to run business autonomously in their areas and attract foreign investment. But Mr. Ju was obviously unconvinced by the success of China’s model. The opening of the economy could boomerang, becoming a threat to the North’s system, he worried.

On factories and farms, North Koreans were still caught up – or at least gave the outward appearance of being caught up ― in a personality cult centered on the nation’s founding family. At cooperative farms and factories, the senior managers’ introductory briefings were always about the lessons taught by Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s first president, and Kim Jong-il, who succeeded him but did not assume the title of national president. These managers’ presentations began with the number of visits by the Kims to the site. There were always paeans to the communist regime’s “military first” policy and slogans to that effect were emblazoned everywhere, making it clear that the military and politics take priority over the economy.

North Korean officials were also reluctant to lay out all pertinent information to investors and journalists.

Kim Yong-il, 45, the manager of the port at Nampo on the country’s west coast, refused to cite specific numbers about the port’s freight-handling capacity. He said only that it could deal with “large amounts” of cargo.

Mr. Rim, the trade ministry chief counselor, said North Korean politics were extremely stable, which guaranteed the security of foreign investments. He gave no data or examples to support that claim of stability, however, and completely ignored the question of North Korea’s nuclear programs and how they might or might not affect stability.

Reacting to the journalists’ remarks that South Korean firms were reluctant to invest in the North because it has been difficult to make profits there, Mr. Ju, the chairman of the National Economic Cooperation Committee, said, “Why is money the priority? Inter-Korean business must be about something more than just monetary calculations.”

He was also visibly upset about Seoul’s policy on economic cooperation. “We made extremely sensitive military restricted areas at Mount Kumgang and Kaesong available to the South,” Mr. Ju said. “But the South has just given us a lot of excuses and failed to cooperate.”

He continued, “To nurture the Kaesong Industrial Complex into a world-class production facility, electronic and advanced technology industries are crucial. But labor-intensive industries are the majority in Kaesong. In this information era of the 21st century, the South has failed to bring in computers for administrative use in Kaesong.”

He also vented some spleen about the United States, asking the journalists why Seoul was so careful not to irritate Washington. He cited the U.S. restrictions on the re-export without prior approval of so-called “dual-use” goods, those with civilian and military applications, to countries it has blacklisted, including North Korea. Other international accords, such as the Wassenaar Agreement, also prevent South Korea from providing the North merchandise and commodities that have “strategic” applications.

But Mr. Ju sounded firm about continuing operations at Kaesong. “It is the nucleus of inter-Korean economic cooperation, and we must make it a success first. Then we can move on to other projects.”

He also dismissed the U.S. concerns that workers in Kaesong were laboring under harsh working conditions, but seemed to sidestep the basic question. “It is a matter that we should deal with,” Mr. Ju said. “Since we manage businesses differently, we are trying to come up with the best resolution to make direct [wage] payments to the workers.”

South Korean economists and businessmen who listened to similar presentations and looked at some of the North’s accounts were troubled by Pyongyang’s rigidity in opening up the economy. That, they said, coupled with the simmering nuclear weapons problem, is the most serious obstacle to attracting foreign investments. Unless U.S. diplomatic ties with North Korea are established, investing in facilities in North Korea and selling “made in North Korea” products on global markets would be difficult and risky, they agreed.

“If a foreign investor wants to visit a factory in the North that he has put money into, he has to obtain an invitation every time, and his schedule and movements in the North are strictly controlled,” said Kwon Yeong-wuk, the trade promotion director at the Korea International Trade Association of Seoul. “Under such circumstances, the North should not expect much in the way of foreign investments.” He said Pyongyang had a “my way or the highway” approach to the economy: If you’re here, follow our rules. The rigidity, he reiterated, is a serious obstacle to investors.

Other experts and businessmen in South Korea said Pyongyang’s attitude toward inter-Korean business in particular makes it hard to earn profit. They complain about the stress North Korean officials put on the concept that business between the two Koreas should be based on the maxim “blood is thicker than water” and not on market principles. An official at North Korea’s National Reconciliation Council argued that South Korean conglomerates should make large investments there based on that concept.

A South Korean businessman who has been looking for business opportunities in the North said he has run into a series of dead ends. “South Korean firms are doing businesses in the global market,” he said. “The largest market is the United States, and not many people would want to give that up to do business with the North.” He added that North Korea’s cheap but skilled manpower is an attractive point, but that poor infrastructure, extremely low purchasing power and the difficulty of obtaining raw materials make China and Vietnam much more attractive investment locales. Kim Yeon-chul, an academic at Korea University in Seoul, agreed with that assessment. “Large companies in South Korea have already automated their production facilities, so labor costs are not important in deciding on investments,” he said. “North Korea must improve other conditions instead of stressing the merits of its manpower or blaming outside causes.”

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