Archive for the ‘Joint Ventures’ Category

Jang Song-thaek visits China

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

UPDATE 13 (2012-8-23): The Institute for Far Eastern Studies reports on Jang’s visit to China:

Jang Song Thaek’s Visit to China: Outcomes and Limitations
Jang Song Thaek, vice chairman of National Defence Commission of North Korea recently visited China and is raising many speculations about the outcome of the visit.

From August 13, Jang led 50 North Korean delegations to China, including high ranking officials such as Ri Kwang Gun, the chairman of the joint venture investment committee, Ri Su Yong, the former chairman of the same committee, and Kim Hyung-jun, deputy foreign minister. Together with the Chinese officials, Jang visited Rajin-Sonbong (Rason) special economic zone, and Hwanggumpyong and Wiwha Islands, and discussed the issues of expanding economic cooperation with China.

Jang attended a meeting with China’s Minister of Commerce Chen Deming, titled the Third Meeting of the DPRK-China Joint Steering Committee for the Development of Hwanggumpyong and Rason Districts. In addition to the meeting, Jang visited Jilin and Liaoning Provinces, asking for China’s active assistance and investment in these areas.

Jang also met with Wang Jiarui, head of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiaobao in Beijing to discuss the future economic cooperation between the two nations and to request for China’s further economic assistance.

North Korea was successful in obtaining positive response from China, promising to help the economic development of North Korea. China has agreed to provide electricity and other necessary infrastructures, including roads and communication network, to push forward with the joint development of Hwanggumpyong and Rason.

However, it is still unclear whether Jang’s visit to China will lead to actual revitalization of bilateral economic cooperation. Chinese companies are still cautious about investing in North Korea with its inadequate infrastructures and legal framework and volatile political situations posing as risks to their investments. Other than labor force export, natural resources development and agricultural and fishery product trades, there is yet to be other model for successful economic cooperation.

Chinese companies consistently argued investment in North Korea can be viable only under the condition that government guarantees or other safety mechanisms are provided to protect the investments of the Chinese companies.

However, in the recent agreement signed by Jang Song Thaek and Chen Deming, two sides have agreed to abide by the principle of development cooperation, to be “led by the governments, based on enterprises, and to achieve mutual benefit and win-win through market operation.” Thus, Chinese government has expressed its intentions to not provide government guarantees for the investments and North Korea has not put forth appropriate policy to soothe the apprehensions of the investors.

Moreover, there are more hurdles to be overcome in Rason and Hwanggumpyong development. Although China gains access to the East Sea through Rason, serving as an important logistics and manufacturing hub in the Northeast Asia reaching South Korea, Russia, and Japan, still no major investment is seen in the area due to the poor industrial infrastructures and basic industries.

Hwanggumpyong and Wihwa Islands are also faced with challenges of its own. Geographically it sits in close proximity to Dandong, in the Chinese territory and while North Korea is pursuing for joint development in the area, China is still passive in the development of this area. This area also frequently fall victim to severe flooding, costly in repairs and maintenance.

China is likely to continue to support North Korea’s economic revitalization efforts and the security of its regime. For North Korea, direct aid is limited and economic cooperation is the most effective option for economic recovery but until it fully accepts the international norm and open up to the outside world, it will be difficult to achieve full economic revitalization.

UPDATE 12 (2012-8-22): Marcus Noland comments on the visit and the agreement here.

UPDATE 11 (2012-8-20): The Choson Ilbo reports that Jang received no official support from Beijing as a result of the visit:

Jang left without receiving any pledges of material support from Beijing, a high-ranking government official here said on Sunday.

Asked about a reported request for US$1 billion in loans from China, the official said, “I have yet to hear of any economic support from China to North Korea, whether it involves $1 billion or $1 dollar. China stressed market principles to Jang.”

UPDATE 10 (2012-8-18): The Hankyoreh reports on a number of investment deals that were inked between the DPRK and Chinese enterprises:

The success of the zones’ development is crucial for North Korea in its current push for economic reforms and improvements to living conditions. This accords with Beijing’s strategy of leading Pyongyang into a gradual normalization through reforms and openness, with an eye to eventually resolving its nuclear program issue.

Another positive signal for Pyongyang is the string of Rason investment declarations by large Chinese corporations following Jang’s visit.

The Yatai Group, a major construction and real estate conglomerate, signed a contract with the Rason people’s committee to develop a construction materials complex in the city. On Friday, the large state-owned Ludi Group announced it would also be investing in Rason. Its director, Zhang Yuliang, announced in an interview with the People’s Daily website people.com.cn that his company would be taking on the construction of basic facilities at Rason, including a power grid.

UPDATE 9 (2012-8-18): Xinhua reports on Wen’s meeting with Jang:

Jang is in China for the third meeting of the joint steering committee for developing and managing the Rason Economic and Trade Zone and the Hwanggumphyong and Wihwa Islands Economic Zone.

Wen said both sides should give priority in developing and managing the zones as well as implement the consensus reached by the joint steering committee.

The premier said the two governments should strengthen the leadership and planning of the cooperation on the zones, improving laws and regulations; encourage relevant regions for active participation with close coordination; and let the market play its role creating favorable conditions for land and tax.

He called on the committee to encourage businesses to invest in the zones and help enterprises solve their problems, and improve customs and quality inspection services to help with bilateral cooperation.

UPDATE 8 (2012-8-18): Reuters reports on Jang’s visit with Wen Jiabao.

Premier Wen Jiabao encouraged North Korea to allow “market mechanisms” help revamp its economy, state media said on Saturday, and laid down other pre-conditions as China tries to wean its impoverished ally off its dependence on Chinese aid.

As well as allowing freer rein to market forces, the Chinese premier also recommended Pyongyang encourage economic growth by improving laws and regulations, encouraging business investment and reforming its customs services.

China’s President Hu Jintao also met Jang in a clear show of support for the North and its new leadership. Jang is seen as the driving force behind reforms that the isolated and destitute North is believed to be trying and for which it desperately needs Chinese backing.

So far North Korea has received around $300 million in non-financial direct investment from about 100 Chinese companies, mainly in the food, medicine, electronics, mining, light industry, chemicals and textile sectors.

China’s exports to North Korea rose 20.6 percent last year to $2.28 billion from 2010, while imports plunged 81.4 percent to $147.4 million, according to Chinese customs figures.

Those numbers are dwarfed by trade with South Korea, China’s third-largest trading partner.

UPDATE 7 (2012-8-17):

Hu Jintao Receives DPRK Delegation
Beijing, August 17 (KCNA correspondent) — President Hu Jintao, general secretary of the C.C., the Communist Party of China, met the delegation of the DPRK-China Joint Guidance Committee led by Department Director of the C.C., the Workers’ Party of Korea Jang Song Thaek who paid a courtesy call on him at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday. The delegation took part in the third meeting of the DPRK-China Joint Guidance Committee for the joint development and management of the Rason Economic Trade Zone and Hwanggumphyong and Wihwado Economic Zones.

Jang Song Thaek conveyed greetings of the dear respected Kim Jong Un to Hu Jintao.

Expressing deep thanks for this, Hu Jintao requested Jang Song Thaek to convey his warm greetings and sincere congratulations to Kim Jong Un.

Hu Jintao, on behalf of the party, government and people of China, expressed sincere sympathy and consolation over the recent flood that hit the DPRK, causing huge damage.

He hoped that the Korean people would eradicate the aftermath of the disaster and bring the living of the people in the afflicted areas to normal as soon as possible under the leadership of First Secretary Kim Jong Un.

Noting that China and the DPRK are friendly neighbors linked by the same mountain and rivers, he said that the policy of the Chinese party and government to attach importance to and develop the China-DPRK friendship from the strategic viewpoint and on long-term basis would remain unchanged in the future, too.

He expressed his willingness to strengthen the high-ranking visits, cooperation in various fields and the exchange of views on international and regional problems and upgrade the bilateral relations to a new level as agreed by both sides.

He was rejoiced over the fact that the development of the two economic zones has entered a practical phase thanks to the common efforts, wishing that a good example of economic cooperation would be set.

The Chinese party and government support the Korean comrades following the road of development suited to their actual conditions and wish them greater success in their efforts to build a thriving nation under the leadership of First Secretary Kim Jong Un, he said.

The talk proceeded in a comradely and friendly atmosphere.

Present there were members of the DPRK-China Joint Guidance Committee, Ji Jae Ryong, DPRK ambassador to China, Chen Deming, minister of Commerce of China, Wang Jiarui, head of the International Liaison Department of the C.C., the CPC, Zhang Ping, head of the National Development and Reform Committee, Shi Xuren, minister of Finance, Wang Min, secretary of the Liaoning Provincial Committee of the CPC, Sun Zhengcai, secretary of the Jilin Provincial Committee of the CPC, Zhang Zhijun, executive vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, Chen Jian, vice-minister of Commerce, and Liu Hongcai, Chinese ambassador to the DPRK.

UPDATE 6 (2012-8-16): Xinhua reports on the visit:

The Rason Economic and Trade Zone will focus on the development of raw materials, equipment, high-tech products, light industry, the service sector and modern agriculture, the MOC said after the meeting.

It will gradually become an advanced manufacturing base, as well as an international logistics center and regional tourism center for northeast Asia.

The Hwanggumphyong and Wihwa Islands Economic Zone will focus on the development of the information industry, tourism, modern agriculture and garment manufacturing, the ministry said.

The DPRK passed and promulgated the Law for the Rason Economic and Trade Zone and Law for the Hwanggumphyong and Wihwa Islands Economic Zone in December 2011, Shen said.

“Construction on the two economic zones has entered the stage of introducing enterprises to invest in the zones,” he said.

The two sides will continue to make joint efforts to make laws and regulations, make detailed preferential policies, improve construction planning inside the zones and attract companies to invest in the zones.

“Both sides will make full use of their respective advantages and build the zones into models of China-DPRK economic and trade cooperation and platforms for economic and trade cooperation with the rest of the world,” Shen said.

The MOC said Tuesday that China and the DPRK will continue to follow the principle of “government-guided, enterprise-based, market-oriented and mutually beneficial” cooperation in developing the two economic zones.

The meeting was jointly presided over by Minister of Commerce Chen Deming and Jang Song Taek, chief of the central administrative department of the Korean Workers’ Party.

UPDATE 5 (2012-8-16):

Chinese Officials Vow to Make All Efforts to Implement DPRK-China Agreed Points
Pyongyang, August 16 (KCNA) — The delegation of the DPRK-China Joint Guidance Committee sojourned in Jilin and Liaoning Provinces, China on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Department Director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea Jang Song Thaek, head of the delegation of the DPRK-China Joint Guidance Committee, met and had friendly talks with Sun Zhengcai, secretary of the Jilin Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, in Changchun City and Wang Min, secretary of the Liaoning Provincial Committee of the CPC, in Shenyang.

Sun Zhengcai extended congratulations to the successful third meeting of the above-said committee.

He said that Jilin Province is a significant place featured by historic relics on President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il, recollecting with deep emotion the days when he was received by Kim Jong Il who visited the province in 2010.

The Jilin Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China and the Jilin Provincial People’s Government will make efforts to implement the points agreed at the third meeting of the China-DPRK Joint Guidance Committee, he concluded.

Wang Min said he was pleased with the achievements made by the Korean people in building a thriving socialist nation under the leadership of the dear respected Kim Jong Un.

He underscored the need to contribute to boosting the traditional Sino-DPRK friendly relations provided by the leaders of the elder generations of the two countries by stepping up the joint development of the Hwanggumphyong and Wihwado Economic Zones.

UPDATE 4 (2012-8-15): The Associated Press reports on the meetings:

The ministry said the two sides signed a number of cooperation agreements related to their development of the two special economic zones: Rason on the Korean Peninsula’s northern tip and Hwanggumphyong, an island in the Yalu River that marks their border to the southwest.

It said plans for Rason would see it becoming a manufacturing base, logistics center and tourism hub, though the new agreements were still primarily focused on basic infrastructure, such as a plan to transmit electricity directly to the zone overland from China.

The Hwanggumphyong zone will focus on information technology, tourism, agriculture and garment manufacturing, it said.

Rason has recently begun to develop thanks to Chinese infrastructure projects, but Hwanggumphyong has languished since ground was broken last year.

The China Daily said in an editorial Wednesday that Chinese investment in the zones would help North Korea’s battered economy and improve stability on the Korean peninsula.

“The DPRK is in urgent need of capital to help revitalize its waning economy,” the paper said. “It can be expected that as a result of the agreements, Chinese investment in the special economic zones of the DPRK will increase rapidly.”

It noted that bilateral trade last year was $5.7 billion, up from $3.5 billion in 2010.

UPDATE 3 (2012-8-14): Ri Chol was among the group of DPRK leaders traveling to Beijing.

UPDATE 2 (2012-8-14): The Daily NK reports on Jang’s trip to China:

The level of popular interest in Jang’s visit is a reflection of two things: first, his relative importance in the North Korean power structure, and second, the fact that he is the highest North Korean official to visit Beijing since the official launch of the Kim Jong Eun regime late last year. Both these facts serve to make it highly likely that the remit of the trip extends quite a long way past the economic agenda cited by KCNA, presumably to encompass political and military concerns as well.

According to one diplomatic source in Seoul, “Kim Jong Eun quite possibly assumes that China harbors some anxiety about his newly launched system. Jang will probably explain the recent purging of former Chief-of-Staff Lee Young Ho, since this only made China more concerned.”

Sohn Gwang Joo, a senior researcher with the Gyeonggi Research Institute, went further, declaring, “The main reason behind Jang’s trip to China is to emphasize that ‘Chosun-China friendship transcends generations’, and that without the political, economic and military support that comes from that friendship, the Kim Jong Eun system cannot be maintained.”

“When Jang Sung Taek meets with high-level cadres including Xi Jinping, the two will discuss the issue of a bilateral summit,” Sohn added, noting the likelihood that such a summit is likely to occur after China’s own leadership transition in October.

Lee Tae Hwan, a researcher with the Sejong Institute, noted also that there is certainly more to the visit than KCNA made public, explaining, “There are a bunch of people who can solve economic problems like those at Rasun, Hwanggeumpyong and Wihwa Island, it doesn’t have to be someone as influential as Jang Sung Taek.”

“Therefore, Jang’s trip to China is not a working-level visit. He is raising the level of bilateral communication.”

UPDATE 1 (2012-8-14):

Third Meeting of DPRK-China Joint Guidance Committee Held
Beijing, August 14 (KCNA) — The third meeting of the DPRK-China Joint Guidance Committee for the joint development and management of the Rason Economic Trade Zone and Hwanggumphyong and Wihwado Economic Zones was held in Beijing on Tuesday.

Present there were members of the delegation of the DPRK-China Joint Guidance Committee led by its DPRK side Chairman Jang Song Thaek who is department director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea and Ji Jae Ryong, DPRK Ambassador to China.

Also present there were members of the delegation of the China-DPRK Joint Guidance Committee led by its Chinese side Chairman Chen Deming, minister of Commerce of China and Liu Hongcai, Chinese Ambassador to the DPRK.

The meeting reviewed the work done for developing them since the second meeting of the joint guidance committee.

In the Rason Economic Trade Zone, a master plan for developing the zone was mapped out, reconstruction of ports and railways made brisk headway, the project for reconstructing Rajin-Wonjong highway is nearing its completion and a work has made brisk headway in various fields including tourism and agricultural cooperation and measurement for the transmission of electricity from China was finished.

In the Hwanggumphyong Economic Zone, favorable preconditions were created for substantially starting the development project including the fixing of the spot for border passage according to the drafted detailed plan.

The meeting stressed the need to quickly start the Wihwado Zone development and show the world the will of both sides for the development of both zones.

At the meeting, both sides appreciated as the successes made since the second meeting the amendment, enactment and announcement of the law on the two economic zones, the agreement of development plans, the establishment of management committee, the work of various panels of the joint guidance committee, the training of management officials of the two economic zones, the promotion of already started projects, the border passage and positive progress in tele-communication cooperation through the joint efforts of the two governments.

Both sides reaffirmed that it plays an important role in consolidating and developing the traditional relations of DPRK-China friendship to invariably implement the historic agreement on the joint development and management of the two economic zones reached between the top leaders of the two countries in line with mutual interests.

Both sides said in unison that to develop the two economic zones of weighty significance in boosting exchange and cooperation in all fields between the two countries, developing economy and achieving regional stability and prosperity is in line with the common interests of the two peoples.

They agreed upon a series of matters of jointly pushing forward the top priority processes in creating environment favorable for investment in the two economic zones to meet international standard and mutual interests.

They agreed to make sure that the two governments support and encourage local governments and enterprises push forward this work now that all the matters related to the development of the two economic zones were agreed upon and have reached the phase of implementation. They also agreed to positively promote the development of the Wihwado zone.

They agreed to hold the fourth meeting of the Joint Guidance Committee in Pyongyang in the first half of 2013.

Minutes of the third meeting and the Agreement on Economic and Technological Cooperation between the Governments of the DPRK and the PRC were signed by Jang Song Thaek and Chen Deming.

A ceremony of declaring the establishment of the Management Committee of the Rason Economic Trade Zone and the Hwanggumphyong Economic Zone took place and relevant documents including The Basic Agreement on Investment in Port and Industrial District of the Rason Economic Trade Zone, A MOU on setting up the Management Committee of the Hwanggumphyong Economic Zone for Joint Development and Management between the North Phyongan Provincial People’s Committee of the DPRK and the Liaoning Provincial People’s Government of the PRC and A MOU on Designing Processes for Basic Facilities in the Hwanggumphyong Economic Zone for the Joint Development and Management between the North Phyongan Provincial People’s Committee of the DPRK and the Liaoning Provincial People’s Government of the PRC were signed during the meeting.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce gave a reception in connection with the successful third meeting that day.

ORIGINAL POST (2012-8-13): According to KCNA:

DPRK Delegation Leaves for China
Pyongyang, August 13 (KCNA) — A delegation of the DPRK-China Joint Guidance Committee Monday left here for Beijing, China to take part in the third meeting of the committee.

It was headed by its DPRK side Chairman Jang Song Thaek who is a department director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

The meeting is reportedly to discuss the joint development and joint management of Rason Economic Trade Zone and Hwanggumphyong and Wihwado Economic Zone.

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North Korea presents favorable conditions to foreign investors

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2012-7-27

The Beijing branch of the Joint Venture and Investment Committee of North Korea (JVIC), called the Choson Investment Office, announced on July 18 of various preferential conditions to foreign investors and employment conditions on its website.

The Choson Investment Office opened its doors this year and is the only overseas branch of the JVIC, in charge not only of securing foreign capital but cultural and science and technology exchanges and cooperation.

The website posted an article titled, “Problems Investors Face,” which provided useful information for foreign investors in a question and answer format.

In the article, the employment conditions for workers were included. The minimum monthly wage for workers in North Korea was set at 30 euros or about 42,000 KRW. In addition, foreign companies must pay 7 euros to each employee separately as social insurance. Overtime pay also needs to be paid and at the event of work related injuries or illness, the company is responsible for handling the situation with its board of directors.

In comparison, the minimum monthly wage for North Korean employees in the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) is 110 USD or about 125,000 KRW.

As for preferential tax policies, foreign-capital companies that are not joint venture are exempt from certain taxes including tariffs on exports and resource tax for the development of mines.

North Korea will bear the land use tax, which is 1 euro per square meter, and China and other foreign investors will have no restriction for mining the underground resources.

The income tax rate for the foreign capital companies was specified at 25 percent and business tax between 2 to 10 percent will be collected from transportation, power, commerce, trade, finance, insurance, tourism, advertisement, hotel and entertainment industries.

Power is the main concern for most foreign companies and it will be provided at 0.053 euro per 1,000 kilowatt. The DPRK’s central trade guiding organ will oversee the setting of prices of goods while the trademark rights will belong to the company.

The DPRK’s Joint Venture and Investment Committee was expanded and reorganized in July 2010 from Joint Venture and Investment Bureau, with main activities centered around Hwanggumpyong Island and Rajin-Sonbong development.

The main agents for foreign currency earnings are the cabinet, military, JVIC, and Daepung International Investment Group*. Most of the trading companies are affiliated with one of the four groups.

In March, JVIC announced through the KCNA that “As the investment environment is favorably changing, joint venture and investment contracts are increasing. Investment interests from large companies are rising especially in our abundant rare-earth and underground resources as well as building railroads, roads, and power plants.”

*IFES and Choson Exchange previously discussed the merger of JVIC and “Daephung”

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Lankov on the North Korean economy

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Andrei Lankov highlights in a recent Asia Times article some observations (qualitative data) that indicates the DPRK has seen significant growth in recent years. He is careful to qualify his observations with caveats that the level of growth in the country as a whole (as opposed to Pyongyang) remain more difficult to determine.

More expensive shops stocking luxury goods are becoming more numerous as well. Gone are the days when a bottle of cheap Chinese shampoo was seen as a great luxury; one can easily now buy Chanel in a Pyongyang boutique; and, of course, department stores offer a discount to those who spend more than one million won on a shopping spree. One million won is roughly equivalent to US$250 – not a fortune by the Western standards but still a significant amount of money in a country where the average monthly income is close $25.

The abundance of mobile phones is much talked about. Indeed, North Korea’s mobile network, launched as recently as late 2008, has more than one million subscribers. It is often overlooked that the old good landline phones also proliferated in the recent decade. A phone at home ceased to be seen as a sign of luxury and privilege, as was the case for decades. Rather, it has become the norm – at least, in Pyongyang and other large cities.

The capital remains badly lit in night, but compared with the norm of some five or 10 years ago, the situation has improved much. The electricity supply has become far more reliable, and in late hours most of the houses have lights switched on.

Of course, this affluence is relative and should not be overestimated: many people in Pyongyang still see a slice pork or meat soup as a rare delicacy. The new posh restaurants and expensive shops are frequented by the emerging moneyed elite, which includes both officials and black/grey market operators (in some cases one would have great difficulty to distinguish between these two groups). In a sense, Pyongyang’s prosperity also reflects the steadily growing divide between the rich and poor that has become a typical feature of North Korea of the past two decades.

Nonetheless, those foreign observers who have spent decades in and out of Pyongyang are almost unanimous in their appraisal of the current situation: Pyongyang residents have never had it so good. It seems that life in Pyongyang has not merely returned to pre-crisis 1980s standards but has surpassed it.

And how can we explain these developments? Lankov offers three theories:

The first seems to be the growth of private economic activity. Estimates vary, but most experts agree that the average North Korean family gets well over half its income from a variety of private economic activities.


The second reason is the gradual adjustment of what is left of the state-controlled economy. Nowadays, North Korean industrial managers do not sit by helplessly when they cannot get spare parts or fuel from the state – as was often the case in the 1990s. Instead, they try to find what they need, often getting the necessary supplies from the private market.


The third reason is, of course, Chinese economic assistance and investment.

Read the full story here:
North Korea’s pools of prosperity
Asia Times
Andrei Lankov
2012-7-7

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Jaeil Credit Bank deposit information

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Dr. Seliger has sent in some interesting information on financial products being advertised to North Koreans. I will post it over the next few days.

Today we will look at the marketing materials for the  Jeil Credit Bank in Pyongyang:

Here is what the marketing poster says:

외화저금안내 Currency savings guide

저금종류 리자률                (년리)% Interest Rate
Types of savings              (per annum)%

보통저금
Usual saving 1%

정기저금(6개월)
Regular Saving (6 month) 2.5%

정기저금(1년)
Regular Saving (1 year) 6%

정기저금(2년)
Regular Saving (2 year) 7%

정기저금(3년)
Regular Saving (3 year) 7.5%

정기저금(5년)
Regular Saving (5 year) 8%

정기저금(10년)
Regular Saving (10 year) 9%

제일신용은행은 자기의 이름 그대로 경영전략과 자금관리에서 신용을 제일 생명처럼 여기고 있으며 개인저금잔고를 절대로 남에게 보여주거나 알려주지 않습니다.
Jeil Credit Bank, as the name of itself, consider credit of management strategies and money management as our life and does not show or share ones account information to others.

제일신용은행의 저금자들은 저금하는 날 혹은 저금 만기 전 임의의 날에 리자를 먼저 찾아 쓸 수 있으며 저금만기날이 아니라도 언제든지 필요하면 저금한 돈을 전부 되찾을 수 있습니다.
Jeil credit bank customers can withdrawal the interest before maturity at any time and if needed, all of the money from the savings can be withdrawn before maturity.

제일신용은행은 싱가포르와 50년간 합영계약을 맺고 있는 은행입니다.
Jeil Credit Bank has a 50 years joint venture contract with Singapore.

영업시간 월요일부터 금요일까지 오전 10시~12시 20분, 오후 14시~16시 20분
Business hours: Mon-Fri 10 am – 12.20 pm, 2 pm – 4.20 pm

제일신용은행
Jeil Credit Bank

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KCNA: DPRK encourages foreign investment

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Click image above to see KCNA video of interview with Yun Yong-sok, vice department director of DPRK Joint Venture Investment Committee

According to KCNA (2012-3-23):

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is willing to further improve its environment for foreign investment, Yun Yong Sok, a vice department director of the DPRK Committee for Investment and Joint Venture, told KCNA.

He said:

The nation’s economy is gaining momentum, with many industrial establishments and power stations being built across the country.

It is a consistent policy of the DPRK Government to enhance economic cooperation with other countries, while beefing up its self-reliant national economy.

In December last year, the government amended investment-related laws, including the DPRK Law and Regulations on Foreign Investment, laws on joint venture and joint collaboration and the Law on Foreign-funded Businesses and Foreigners’ Tax Payment, in step with the nation’s developing economy and international practices.

It enacted the law on economic zone on Hwanggumphyong and Wihwa islets in the River Amnok and revised and supplemented the law on the Rason economic and trade zone.

The joint development and management in the two economic zones takes on a new way of cooperation. Now it has been under way in a creditable way, driven by the active efforts of both sides of the DPRK and China.

Contracts on joint venture and joint collaboration have been on increase with the investment environment changing for the better.

Rare earth abundant in the country and infrastructure projects lure foreign investment in the DPRK.

The committee will pay deep attention to ensuring the interests of foreign investors, while invigorating the exchange and cooperation with governments, investors and businesses.

In other news, KCNA has adopted the American colloquialism “beefing up”.

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Kwangbok Department Store

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

UPDATE 1 (2012-2-21): According to the Korea Times, this store is now providing people with a legal window to exchange local for hard currency:

North Korea is apparently allowing foreign currency to be exchanged at unofficial, black market rates at a newly-renovated department store in Pyongyang, according to a diplomatic source who recently visited the country, Tuesday.

The source said people could exchange euros, dollars and yuan at kiosks at Kwangbok Area Supermarket, which recently opened after refurbishment and is said to resemble department stores in the South. The North has long kept the value of its local currency artificially high.

Euros were being exchanged at the rate of one euro for 4,420 North Korean won, while the official rate is around 130 won per euro, the source said.

“They are exchanging hard currency at a rate that seems to be an unofficial rate,” the source told The Korea Times. “People can also shop at the department store using foreign currency by taking their receipts to the booths.”

The source added that the exchange rates were written on a board inside the kiosks.

ORIGINAL POST (2012-1-6): See the original post below.


 

Pictured Above: (L) The original facade of the “Kwangbok Department Store (광복백화점)”. (R) The new facade of the “Kwangbok Area Supermarket (광복지구상업중심)”

Here is KCNA coverage of the opening of the facility (Posted to YouTube):

Astute observers will notice the American beer, Pabst Blue Ribbon, featured prominently in the beer section.

Here is coverage of the opening in KCNA (2012-1-5):

Pyongyang, January 5 (KCNA) — The Kwangbok Area Supermarket was opened with due ceremony on Thursday.

All business service at the supermarket built as a commercial service center has been put on IT and digital basis. Customers can buy varieties of goods according to their taste and requirements in the sales rooms on each floor stacked with household appliances, electronic products, foodstuff, fibre, sundries and others.

Present there were officials concerned, officials of the Korea Taesong General Trading Corporation, officials and employees of the Kwangbok Area Supermarket, members of the Feihaimengxin Trading (Beijing) Co. Ltd. staying in the DPRK and the Chinese embassy here.

O Ryong Il, general president of the Corporation, said in his speech that the work to build the supermarket was successfully completed under the energetic leadership of leader Kim Jong Iland the dear respected Kim Jong Un and the positive efforts of the peoples of the two countries.

He expressed belief that the supermarket would help towards improving the people’s living standard and promoting the well-being of the two peoples through better service and management.

Xue Rifei, executive managing director of the Feihaimengxin Trading (Beijing) Co. Ltd., said in his speech that Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un gave field guidance to the supermarket on December 15, 2011 and named it the Kwangbok Area Supermarket.

He expressed the expectation that an effort will be made to reenergize the supermarket to win high appreciation for its best management, service and credit.

The Korea Taesong General Trading Corporation is a sanctioned organization, and according to the US Treasury, it is a “key node” in the illicit activity of Office 39. According to NK Leadership Watch:

One of the participants at the opening ceremony was Jon Il Chun (Chon Il-chun), deputy director of the Korean Workers’ Party’s Finance and Accounting Department and section chief of Office #39.  Mr. Jon accompanied Kim Jong Il on a visit to the Kwangpok store in mid-December 2011, which was KJI’s last reported public appearance before his death.

On a more casual note, the supermarket marks a point of administrative departure from the way department stores are typically managed in socialist countries. The Kwangbok Department Store (the former name) was one of Pyongyang’s premier formal retail outlets. For decades it operated in the same way as other socialist department stores: customers ended up standing in three lines before they were able to collect their merchandise (one line to order, another line to pay, and another line to pick up). The new Kwangbok Supermarket has adopted a market-style check out line. Though unnoticed by foreigners, this is the first such check out line I have seen in a North Korean department store.

This point was also highlighted in AP coverage:

A separate story in KCNA notes that the shop will sell both foreign and domestic goods:

The supermarket is supplied with home and foreign-made products which are in demand in the country.

Although I have not acquired data specific to this store, I believe it is reasonable (even rational) to assume that if the supermarket sells imported goods it will charge had currency for them. This opinion is based on the following assumptions: 1. The Chinese investors will not accept North Korean won under any circumstances. 2. The goal of Office 39 is to acquire hard currency for the Kim family. 3. North Korean retail outlets frequently post prices in multiple currencies so I don’t see any reason why it would be different here. Today a plurality of North Koreans can easily acquire foreign exchange.

Here is my working assumption of the business model: Chinese partner acquires merchandise and imports it to the DPRK. Sales in hard currency go towards allowing the Chinese supplier to recover its costs. Chinese partner either earns a profit from a markup it charges Kwangbok or it divides the profit with Office 39 along some agreed percentage.

If Chinese profits are earned from a cost-plus markup that it charges Kwangbop, then the partnership is closer to an exclusive supplier deal rather than a true joint equity deal. The North Koreans could cheat on this deal by finding cheaper suppliers and decreasing its purchases from the Chinese partner. If after-sales profits are split between the Chinese and Office 39, then both partners will need auditors on hand to make sure the books are accurate. The Chinese partner will also need a good relationship with the Chinese embassy if it runs into problems with the DPRK managers should they unilaterally change the terms of the contract (the split).

A Chinese firm reportedly tried to invest in the Pyongyang Department Store No. 1 several years ago. Not much seemed to happen, but maybe there is some more info here.

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Daewoo Shipbuilding [not] to invest in DPRK SEZ

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Pictured Above (Google Earth): The Hwanggumphyong and Wiwha Island SEZ on the Yalu/Amnok River which separates the DPRK and PRC.

On Friday, the Donga Ilbo reported that Daewoo Shipbuilding was going to invest in the DPRK’s Hwanggumphyong SEZ (see the original post below).  Today the report appears to be incorrect. According to the Wall Street Journal:

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. on Monday shot down news reports that it had agreed to build a shipyard in North Korea.

“We don’t have any plans to do that,” a spokesman said.

According to some South Korean news accounts over the weekend, the company, which is the world’s second-largest builder of ships and whose controlling stake is owned by the South Korean government, had agreed to help a Chinese company develop an island off North Korea’s northwest coast, near the Chinese city of Dandong.

The DSME spokesman said the company held discussions with the Chinese company but isn’t close to an agreement.

The news accounts said DSME would build a shipyard that would be devoted to repair work. One report said the idea would be presented to DSME’s directors and announced in April.

The company spokesman said it’s unclear how the accounts originated.

See the original report bleow:

(more…)

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Ri Chol out as JVIC chief

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

According to Choson Exchange:

[The] Choson Ilbo has just reported that Ri Chol has left his post as head of the Joint Venture and Investment Committee (JVIC).

As we argued last fall, the name of the game for Pyongyang’s elites is securing trade and investment deals. Two main investment organs exist, the JVIC and the Daepung Investment Group. We have in the past heard rumors of other similar international investment organizations being under consideration, also. From these overarching groups, down to smaller State Owned Enterprises, there is considerable competition to show that one’s organization can deliver.

Ri Chol was a close ally of Kim Jong Il’s and the organization he came to be associated with, JVIC, rose to prominence after he helped put together the Orascom deal and was given stewardship. He was even with Kim on his last official visit, to a joint venture supermarket in Pyongyang.

He also spent most of the 1980’s and 1990’s in Switzerland in various diplomatic capacities, not the least of which was acting as a minder to Kim Jong Il’s children as they studied at private school.

What might his departure portend?

A few possibilities come to mind.

– Has the JVIC fallen out of favor with the new leadership? If this is the case, Ri might be tasked with building a new organization, perhaps with a similar focus. It would seem redundant to add another, rather than reform this one, but redundancy is hardly unheard of in planned economies.

– Has Ri himself fallen out of favor? Is he being put out to pasture? Again, it is impossible to know, but it seems that such a long term friend of the Kims, who has a personal relationship with Kim Jong Un from his school days would be a key ally at this time, especially since his deals are driving economic growth in North Korea. (Though who knows? Perhaps Kim the Younger has never liked him.)

– If not an issue with Ri personally, the move could be a part of a factional reshuffling. Bartering and dealmaking for control of the commanding heights of the economy is no doubt underway as the new government consolidates its power. It might have been deemed necessary to grant control of the JVIC to another group of Pyongyang movers and shakers – of which Ri Chol is not a part.

– Also very possible is that the very top leadership is planning to give Ri some new responsibility elsewhere. JVIC may have been judged to be running smoothly enough that Ri’s skills would be more effectively used another important organization.

This of course is highly speculative. All we really know is that Ri Chol, with a track record of securing investment, has left the JVIC. Whatever the case may be, he is worth watching in the coming months, as Pyongyang is compelled to keep investments from China and elsewhere coming.

You can read a longer bio on NK Leadership Watch.

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Kim Jong-il visits Kwangbok Department Store

Friday, December 16th, 2011

UPDATE (2011-12-19): KJI’s financial manager appears on tour of Kwangbok.  According to Yonhap:

The head of a shadowy North Korean agency charged with managing slush funds for leader Kim Jong-il has again appeared in public after five months.

Recent footage from the North’s state television network showed Jon Il-chun standing closer to Kim than Kim’s heir apparent son, Kim Jong-un, on an inspection tour of a supermarket in Pyongyang.

Kim Jong-un is being groomed to succeed his father Kim Jong-il as the country’s next leader in what would be the country’s second hereditary power transfer.

Jon and Kim Jong-un were also seen standing side by side on an escalator at the Kwangbok Area Supermarket, according to recent photos released by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

Jon, who has rarely been exposed to media, was last seen on Kim’s trip to a factory in July.

He heads Office 39, which has often been referred to as Kim’s “personal safe” for its role in raising and managing secret funds for the North Korean leader.

The office is also believed to be involved in counterfeiting US$100 bills and drug trafficking.

Last year, the United States blacklisted Office 39 as one of several North Korean entities to come under new sanctions for its involvement in illegal activities such as currency counterfeiting.

ORIGINAL POST (2011-12-16): According to the Daily NK:

Chosun Central News Agency (KCNA) today reported news of an onsite inspection by Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Eun and others to the Kwangbok District of Pyongyang, the city’s commercial center. The main site on the visit was reportedly the newly expanded and redesigned Kwangbok Department Store.

The redevelopment of the store was ordered by the elder Kim following his trips to China earlier this year, where he was repeatedly exposed to the full force of China’s commercial development.

According to KCNA, “To enhance the people’s welfare and improve their lives, upon the direct suggestion and boundless affection of the fatherly General with his perpetual concern for the people, Kwangbok Department Store, which was constructed in October, 1991, has been transformed anew into the commercial center of Kwangbok District.”

“From warehouse to sale, the realization of information technology and numerical control of all management operations guarantee accuracy and speed, and the store has been stocked to guarantee the utmost convenience of visitors,” it went on.

KCNA went on to say that Kim Jong Il listening to information from related officials, and subsequently declared himself satisfied with the way the store matched the people’s needs in all areas, from sales plans to the amount and quality of goods available.

“We must proceed with the kind of commercial activity that can sell to the people of the capital city those things that they would not be able to live without in their daily lives such as clothing, shoes, food, conveniences, family items, school goods and cultural things, and leave them with no complaint,” he emphasized.

Read the full story here:
Kim Satisfied with “Transformed” Store
Daily NK
Kang Mi Jin
2011-12-16

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Chinese joint venture company takes over Hyesan Youth Copper Mine

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Pictured above (Google Earth): Hyesan Youth Copper Mine.  See in Google Maps here.

According to Xinhua (China):

Hyesan-China Joint Venture Mineral Company, a large joint project between China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), started operation at Hyesan of Ryanggang province on Monday.

The mineral company was jointly set up by Wanxiang Resources Limited Company of China and the Ministry of Mining Industries of the DPRK on Nov. 1, 2007. Its main business was to produce and sell copper.

DPRK Mining Industries Minister Kang Min Chol and Chinese ambassador Liu Hongcai attended the opening ceremony.

Kim Chol, chairman of the people’s committee of the Ryanggang province, said at the ceremony that the joint venture was one of the symbols of the development of the DPRK-China friendship and would be a model of modernization, science and economic benefits.

Liu believed the company would make profits for both sides, benefit the two peoples and promote traditional China-DPRK friendship.

According to Reuters:

The mine was located a few miles from the Chinese city of Changbai in the northeastern province of Jilin and was 51 percent owned by Wanxiang, a source with direct knowledge of the project told Reuters on Tuesday.

The mine had a designed annual capacity of 50,000-70,000 tonnes of copper concentrate, expected to contain 20-30 percent copper, he added.

“All the concentrate will be sold to China,” the source said.

The source said the joint venture would conduct second-phase construction to expand the capacity of the mine if production ran smoothly, but did not give details on timing or expanded capacity.

China is the world’s top copper consumer but does not produce sufficient concentrate to meet demand. The country imported 3.4 million tonnes of copper concentrate in the first seven months of 2011, down 11 percent from a year earlier.

According to KCNA:

The Hyesan Youth Mine in Ryanggang Province was successfully updated as required by the new century.

The workers and technicians of the mine together with Chinese technicians and skilled workers completed the vast modernization project and successively ensured their commissioning.

The modernization of various production processes including mining, carriage and ore dressing made it possible to boost mineral production and thus contribute to economic development and the improvement of the standard of people’s living.

A ceremony for the completion of the modernization project at the Hyesan Youth Mine and the Hyesan-China Joint Venture Mineral Company was held on Monday.

Present there were Kang Min Chol, minister of Mining Industry, Kim Hi Thaek and officials concerned, Liu Hongcai, Chinese ambassador to the DPRK, and staff members of his embassy and Han Youhong, president of the Wanxiang Resources Co., Ltd. of China, and personages concerned.

Ri Mun Yong, manager of the Ryanggang Provincial Mining Complex, made an address to be followed by congratulatory and other speeches.

At the end of the ceremony, the participants went round production processes.

That day a reception was given in connection with the ceremony.

Although foreign investors and aid groups frequently build/ repair / upgrade North Korea’s state owned enterprises, it is rare that they are given any credit for their work in the official media.

Previous posts about the Hyesan Mine:
1. Poor electricity supply (2011-5-16)

3. Mine is flooded (2007-11-1)

4. China investing in mine (2007-4-12)

5. Chinese investing in mine (2006-12-24)

Additional mining information:
1. DPRK – China minerals for food program (2011-8-19)

2. DPRK looking to export rare earths (2011-7-23)

3. DPRK – China trade: 1995 – 2009 (2011-6-7)

4. Increase in DPRK’s mineral resources exports to China expected again for this year (2011-2-28)

5. DPRK – China mining deal (2011-2-6)

6. China expanding mining rights in DPRK (2010-1-15)

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