A large increase in the number of new companies that registered for the 17th Spring International Trade Fair has been reported in a recent Choson Sinbo article. The fair will run from May 12-15, 2014 and be held at the New Technology & Innovation Hall at Pyongyang’s Three Revolution Exhibition. According to the April 22nd article by the Japan-based pro-North Korean news outlet, the number of countries expected to participate rose from 12 to 14, and the total number of registered companies more than doubled compared to the previous exhibition, from 140 to 290. A large variety of new products and technology are expected to be revealed at the upcoming exhibition, such as new machinery and developments in metalworking, electricity, mining, construction, farming and food processing. Other products and technological innovations in energy conservation, environmental protection, transportation and communication are also expected to be revealed at the exhibition. The North Korean media reported that contrary to the negative assessments reported in the western media, foreign economists are actually highly anticipating the rapid growth of the North Korean economy. In an interview, a representative for the Korean International Exhibition Corporation was quoted as saying, “Even amidst economic sanctions imposed by America and its followers, our nation’s economic construction is moving forward with speed.” It was also reported that foreign participants and observers of past exhibitions are relaying this fact to the outside world, which steered the expanding size of the fair.
In addition, North Korean state media boasted the reason for the exhibition’s rise in popularity was due to the increase in domestic product quality, which has led to an expected increase in not only the number of participating countries and companies but also the number of expected visitors to the fair. The Pyongyang International Trade Fair was held for the first time in 1989 with the hopes of establishing friendly economic relations with other countries, and to specifically promote the exchange of goods and technology. In addition, North Korea opened the fair in order to break into new international markets and attract foreign investment. The second International Trade Fair was held three years later in 1992, and has been held annually since the year 2000. The host of the exhibition, the Korean International Exhibition Corporation, oversees the introduction of new companies and products; offers consultation on trade, commerce, investments and joint-venture policies; promotes the exchange of goods and technology, new market openings and foreign investments; and works together with participating companies to facilitate international trade. The Pyongyang International Trade Fair is North Korea’s largest trade exhibition, and is held twice a year in the spring and fall with the goals of attracting foreign capital and finding new export opportunities. In relation to this event, the 10th Pyongyang Fall International Trade Fair will run from September 22-25, and will be accepting applications until August 5.
North Korea recently held a briefing session for foreign investors at the 9th Pyongyang Autumn International Products Expo.
According to Choson Sinbo, pro-North Korean Newspaper in Japan, the expo was held from September 23 to 26, 2013 and many foreign businessmen took part in this event at the Koryo Hotel in Pyongyang.
The briefing sessions for investors was organized by the Korea Foreign Economic Cooperation Committee. An official from the joint venture investment committee, which is responsible for attracting foreign investment, announced that North Korea has great interest in expanding economic cooperation with other nations and working to promote a favorable investment environment.
North Korean government is reported to be welcoming foreign investments and is taking actions to establish protection of foreign investors’ legal rights and interests, and stressed that various tax incentives and benefits for foreign businesses will be granted.
Choson Sinbo reported foreign businesses listened with great interest and expressed hope in investing in North Korea.
The Expo consisted of participants from twelve countries and 226 trading companies with over 800 participants. Out of the total companies, 118 were foreign companies, mostlyfrom China. The number of Chinese companies participating at the Fall Expo increased greatly compared to the Spring Expo where participation of Chinese businesses drastically decreased against the previous year. This increase is attributed to the improved relations between the two allies.
North Korea hosts the Pyongyang International Product Exhibition twice a year — spring and autumn — for the purpose of attracting foreign investments. At this recent event, North Korean machinery, electronics, light industrial goods and food products were on display. There were over 2,400 different items and a total of 57,000 products.
The president of the Korea International Exhibition, Kim Ung Sik, delivered a speech at the opening ceremony saying, “North Korea is working to improve investments, trade, and tourism with many countries in wide-ranging areas and we are hopeful that this exhibition will contribute to the expansion of economic and trade relations with foreign countries and contribute to regional economic development.”
The 9th Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair was opened with due ceremony at the Three-Revolution Exhibition House on Monday.
Present there were Kang Sok Ju, vice-premier of the Cabinet, officials in the trade field, delegations of foreign countries and regions, diplomatic envoys of different countries here and their embassy officials.
Pak Ung Sik, director of the Korean International Exhibition Corporation, made an opening address. Then followed a congratulatory speech by So Kil Bok, vice-minister of Foreign Trade.
The speakers said that the trade fair will offer a good occasion in promoting friendship and unity and boosting broad and multi-faceted economic trade, introducing goods and conducting scientific and technological exchange among countries.
They expressed their will to steadily expand and develop bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the fields of the economy and trade with foreign countries and regions on the principle of equality and mutual benefit.
Then the participants went round products displayed by companies of different countries and regions including the DPRK, Germany, Russia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, Italy, China, Cuba, Turkey and Taipei of China.
Taking part in it are more than 220 trading companies from 10-odd countries and regions, mostly from Beijing, Dandong, Dalian, Shenyang and other areas of China.
Popov Sergey, commercial director of Russia’s Maritime Territory Confectionary Company, told KCNA that he hoped for strengthened economic cooperation between the DPRK and Russia, expecting products of his company to be favored by Korean people.
Juana Navarrete Mendoza, a section chief of Cuba’s LABIOFAM Enterprise Group, said it was honor for them to attend the excellent fair with main products of the Group.
On display at the fair are more than 57,000 products of 2,400-odd kinds, including machinery, electric and electronic appliances, light industrial goods, foodstuffs, medical instruments, medicines, building materials, chemicals and vehicles.
The 9th Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair is going on with attendance of many foreign companies.
Among them is the Beijing Bridge International Trading Company Ltd. of Germany, which has been strange to Korea. The company, founded in Juche 97 (2008), engages itself in sale of Germany-made foodstuffs and electronic appliances in China.
Li Nan, general manager of the Shenyang International Exhibition Corporation of the Shenyang Sub Council of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said:
President Kim Il Sung was the great leader of the Korean people and a close friend of the Chinese people.
He made a great contribution to the victory of the Chinese revolution.
The Chinese people will always remember his exploits.
Li Yongjian, manager of overseas business of the Beijing Purkinje General Instrument Co., Ltd., said that the President dedicated all his life to the prosperity of the country and the happiness of its people, adding that he was a great revolutionary and a peerless patriot.
North Korea currently under robust international sanctions has put on extensive advertising campaign for the recent International Product Exhibition [Spring International Trade Fair] held in Pyongyang.
A week has passed since the 16th Pyongyang International Spring Product Exhibition (May 13-16), but the Choson Sinbo, the bulletin of the Japan-based Chosen Soren, continues to run daily articles on the products displayed in the exhibition.
The products displayed at the Pyongyang International Spring Product Exhibition, which is North Korea’s largest trade exhibition, provided a peak at the country’s current industrial trends. Moreover, this year’s exhibition introduced a number of products which are used in the daily lives of North Koreans.
The (North) Korean United Trading Company exhibited over fifty categories of products including colored metal products and a variety of lubricants and ball bearings. Groups including the Sungri Economic Trade Alliance, the State of the Art Technology Development and Exchange Center, the (North) Korean Hard Glass Company, the Pyongjin Bicycle Joint Venture Company, etc. entered products which contribute to improving the lives of North Koreans. The Chosun Sinbo introduced various new products displayed at the exhibition, including shoes was introduced which treats athlete’s foot and dissipates odors with substances such as nano silver as well as complex lactic acid products and other pharmaceutical products made at the Pyongchon Koryo Pharmaceutical Factory.
North Korea also focused on advertisement for automobiles and electronics. Pyonghwa Motors introduced over 30 new models at the exhibition, with the increase in demand. It also boasted that the new models were equipped with lower fuel consumption, reduced by two-thirds.
North Korean media also praised computer products introduced by the (North) Korean Computer Center for its rise in popularity and international competitiveness. The Ryongak Computation Information and Technology Exchange Center introduced a new tablet PC which it dubbed the ‘Yongheung.’ It was reported that buyers welcomed the site for portable profile projectors which had TVs for viewing and allowed for comfortable exhibition of mass media materials.
To overcome the current international sanctions imposed on North Korea, the exhibition is likely to be intended to increase its economic cooperation with the outside world. On May 22, the Chosun Sinbo reported that despite the United States-led economic sanctions on North Korea, many foreign enterprises participated in the exhibition in the hopes of expanding trade with North Korea. It highlighted that the Rason Comet Trade Corporation which is located in China and North Korea’s joint Rason Special Economic District, participated this year for the first time in the Pyongyang International Spring Merchandise Exhibition. The article explained that the Rason Comet Trade Corporation is exporting clothing including t-shirts and athletic wear to Indonesia, Thailand, China, etc. Pyonghwa Motors which exhibited 36 varieties of cars, passenger vans, and buses at the outdoor exhibition center, benefited from meetings with several foreign companies as well as North Korean trade and economic agencies.
The 16th annual Pyongyang Spring Product Exhibition was held from the 13th to 16th of this month and companies from North Korea, Germany, Malaysia, Mongolia, Switzerland, Singapore, Australia, Italia, Indonesia, China, Poland, and Taiwan participated at the event with various products including machineries, electronics, light industry, foods, medical, and chemicals.
UPDATE 5 (2012-8-28): Thanks to a valued reader, I have posted a marketing flyer for the Rason International Commerce and Trade Center (AKA Rason International Business Trade Center) which is currently under construction in Rajin City (though it is too new to appear on satellite imagery). According to the front page of the flyer, caucasians will live in the complex, enjoying contemporary housing furnished by Pottery Barn and Oneida.
Below I have posted the marketing flyer featuring Pottery Barn on the cover. If a reader out there can translate Chinese, I would appreciate some assistance:
I hope that one day all North Koreans have the opportunity and the means to shop at Pottery Barn, but I am fairly confident that the company has no plans to open a branch in the DPRK for the foreseeable future.
On page 5 of the flyer, an artist impression is given of what the trade center will look like. It is slightly different from the model of the complex which appeared in KCNA yesterday and which was also on display at the second annual Rason International Trade Fair:
Here is what KCNA had to say about the complex:
Int′l Commerce and Trade Center to Be Built in Rason City
Pyongyang, August 28 (KCNA) — The development of the Rason Economic and Trade Zone is in full in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Among the development projects is the Rason International Commerce and Trade Center.
The construction, jointly funded by the Rason Paekho Trading Corporation of the DPRK and a real estate development company in Qin Huangdao, China, began in April this year.
It covers an area of some 40 000 square meters, with a total floor space of 88 000 square meters.
The first-stage construction will be finished in mid-October this year to cover seven buildings for storehouses and wholesale market.
The second stage, to be completed in October next year, will include nine buildings for shops, restaurants and hotel.
The construction is now under way as scheduled.
Song Ryang Dok, manager of the Rason Paekho Trading Corporation, told KCNA that the center is one of the big development projects in the zone.
“There were cases in which North Korea allowed foreigners to invest in factories and commerce centers, but no official case of home sales has been reported,” said Im Eul-chul, a research professor at Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University. “It can be seen as (the North) making another step forward in its efforts to attract foreign investment.”
Some 110 companies from 11 countries have booths at the four-day event, Rason’s second international trade fair, organizers told The Associated Press. Chinese companies dominate the exhibition hall.
While the big goods are parked outside, exhibitors inside are showing off everything from toys to medicine, clothes to household appliances made in countries as far as the Czech Republic and France and as close as factories in Rason. One American is selling T-shirts not far from a North Korean clothing company.
“All these products you see are made or manufactured by our company. And they now are exported to more than 13 countries around the world,” said Pak Kyong Ok, a Rason Hyesong official. “Our products are popular.”
Bob Granger, a British entrepreneur, had something else in mind: a coffee shop in Rason.
“We would like to open in this area, not in the capital, Pyongyang,” said Granger, managing partner of the Green Apple cafe in Tumen, China, as North Koreans sampled his coffee. “We’d like to be bit out in the country meeting the people.”
UPDATE 3 (2012-8-20): Here is the official KCNA video of the opening of the Rason Trade Fair:
UPDATE 2 (2012-8-20): The Exhibition has opened. According to KCNA:
Second Rason International Trade Fair Opens
Pyongyang, August 20 (KCNA) — The Second Rason International Trade Fair opened with due ceremony in Rason on Monday.
The participants laid a floral basket before portraits of smiling President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il in the venue and paid tribute to them.
Present there were Jo Jong Ho, chairman of the Rason City People’s Committee who is chairman of the organizing committee of the fair, officials concerned, officials in the city of Rason, scientists and technicians, representatives and exhibitors of different countries and regions, foreigners active in the Rason economic and trade zone and the consuls general of China and Russia in Chongjin.
An opening address and a congratulatory speech were made there.
The speakers referred to the fact that the fair would contribute to bringing about economic development and common prosperity of different countries of the world.
They expressed belief that the participants would conduct positive and wide-ranging dialogue and multi-faceted commercial and trade activities.
At the end of the ceremony the participants looked round electrical and electronic products, vehicles, light industry goods, medicaments and other commodities presented by more than 110 units of different countries and regions including the DPRK, China, Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Taipei of China.
A reception was given on the same day in connection with the inauguration of the fair.
The second Rajin-Sonbong (Rason) International Product Exhibition is scheduled to be held from August 20 to 23, 2012.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) announced on Aug. 2 that participants from North Korea, China, Russia, France, Switzerland, Australia, Czech Republic, Taiwan and other nations will be attending this exhibition, with electronic, machineries, light industry, and medical products on display.
The KCNA also reported the exhibition will contribute toward trade, economic, and science and technological development and enhance cooperation and exchange with neighboring countries. During this period, North Korea is also planning to hold briefing sessions for investments and visits to Rason Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for companies.
The first international product exhibition at Rason was held last year in August. The Chinese and Russian consul generals of Chongjin attended the opening ceremony with products from over 110 companies from North Korea, China, Russia, Australia, Italy, the United States, and Taiwan.
North Korea continues to expand the joint development of Rason with China, although it is also attracting investments from other countries such as Russia, Australia, and Italy.
In addition to Rason SEZ, North Korea is also promoting tourism. International routes to Pyongyang have increased. From Shanghai, regular flights are scheduled for Tuesdays and Fridays. Since April, chartered flights have been running from Harbin, and since July, from Xian. Other international travelers are visiting Pyongyang via Beijing, Shenyang, and Kuala Lumpur.
The KCNA reported that tourists are visiting Pyongyang and Kaesong on four-to-five day tour packages, touring many historical and cultural attractions including Myohyang and Mt. Kumgang.
With the opening of the Arirang Mass Games from August 1, more foreign tourists are expected to visit.
ORIGINAL POST (2012-5-16): The Hanns Seidel Foundation has made available the marketing and information flyer for the second Rason International Trade Exhibition (RITE) which will take place from August 20 – 23, 2012.
The marketing and information flyer is in a three-part PDF which you can download here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
In the past, it was usually Kim Jong Il or Kim Jong Un who made on-the-spot guidance and inspections. However in the recent years, that has changed. Premier of the DPRK Cabinet Choe Yong Rim, is making onsite inspections in economic sectors, while the director of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) General Political Bureau, Choe Ryong Hae, is doing the same at construction sites.
The KCNA reported on May 15 that Choe Yong Rim and Choe Ryong Hae each made on-the-spot visits.
First, Choe Yong Rim visited the Hwanghae Iron and Steel Complex on May 15.
The KCNA reported that the “workers of the complex are making achievements in updating it and producing heavy-duty rails true to the behests of General Secretary Kim Jong Il.”
The news also added “Going around gas generation and high temperature air combustion heating process and various other places, the premier learned in detail about the progress made in updating the complex and held a consultative meeting.”
Premier Choe was also reported to have visited the 15th Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair on the same day where he stressed “the need to positively develop the bilateral and multilateral cooperation among countries and regions in the economic and trade fields.”
The 15th Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair was held from May 14 to 17 at the Three-Revolution Exhibition Hall with over 270 countries participating. The KCNA reported the exhibit was organized by the Korean International Exhibition Corporation, the sole body in charge of any international trade fair held in the country. On May 10, the KCNA released an article that covered the major achievements of the Corporation, for having won special prizes, gold and silver cups and certificates at international trade fairs. Furthermore, the corporation is known to have made import and export contracts with many countries in Asia, Europe, and other regions.
On the other hand, Choe Ryong Hae was reported to have visited Pyongyang Folk Park on the same day and inspected the progress made in the construction for the park, which is in its final stages.
The KCNA described the park to be, “associated with the noble intention of the great men of Mt. Paektu to provide the Korean people with better cultural and emotional life while valuing the folk tradition.”
Choe Ryong Hae examined the construction site and “encouraged the soldier-builders for their labor achievements for making innovations day by day true to the teachings provided by Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un.”
In addition, he commanded for the construction of the park to be completed at the highest level that was “initiated by General Secretary Kim Jong Il and for which the Supreme Commander has shown concern for.”
Pyongyang International Trade Fair is held every spring and fall. The exhibition is increasing in size and attracting European and other foreign investments.
Japan-based newspaper, the Choson Sinbo reported on November 22 that during the period of the exhibition, over hundreds of business talks went back and forth between the North Korean and foreign companies and over 50 trade contracts and investment agreements were reportedly signed, with total amount of trade reaching in the millions in USD. At the Seventh Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair, held from October 17–20, one contract between a European company was reported to have been over 10 million USD alone.
Initially, the trade fair drew about 100 participating companies with just about 100 trade items. This year, however, roughly 300 companies had participated and over a thousand goods were on display.
It was also reported that “The items presented at the fair represented all sectors of social economic development with machineries, electronic goods, building materials, transportation, chemicals, clothing, food, medical and other consumer goods. In addition to these items, trade items are transitioning from light industry and consumer goods to the state-of-the-art products with CNC technology.”
Recently, multinational companies are exploring ways to enter into the North Korean markets through such international trade fairs.
According to the North Korean press, Chinese companies such as Haier, manufacturer of home appliances, and electronics and television manufacturer Changhong are in attendance at every trade fair held in Pyongyang. This time, particular attention was paid to European companies seeking investment opportunities in North Korea, such as a German paper manufacturing company, French flooring company, and Sweden’s GIA Industries, which is known as a mining equipment supplier.
The trade fair, which used to be held once a year in the spring, is now also being held in the autumn season to meet the increasing interests from multinational companies doing trade in Pyongyang. The scale of the fair has been upgraded as well. Normally the event was held only at the first two floors of the Three-Revolution Exhibition House; but to accommodate for growing size, discussion for building an international exhibition center is currently underway.
In the North Korean analysis, certain factors point to the success of the trade fair: 1) North Korea’s economic revitalization policy that focused on modernization of the people’s economy with large-scale construction projects, as these are gaining attention from overseas companies; and 2) North Korea’s assertive trade goals with economic modernization in mind and the hosting of international trade fairs, which are resulting in long-term trade contracts and an increasing amount of trade.
The 7th Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair ran between October 17 and 20 in the Three-Revolution Exhibition House.
The annual event serves as an occasion in bolstering up economic relations and bilateral and multilateral cooperation among the countries on the principle of equality and mutual benefits.
The fair drew more than 260 companies from many countries and regions including the DPRK, China, the Netherlands, Germany, Bulgaria, Malaysia, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy, Austria, Australia, India, the UK, the Czech Republic, Poland and Taiwan.
On display in the trade fair were several thousand kinds of products such as electronic goods, machines, building materials, chemicals, medicines, food and consumer goods.
Over ten additional trading companies of the DPRK participated in the expo. The Korean firms exhibited more goods and ads in their booths.
The Kumgang Motor Joint Venture Company put a variety of vehicles on show, the Kwangmyong Contractual Joint Venture Company displayed stainless steel pipes and couplings and the Kyongnim Trading Company put on different kinds of far infrared rays-anionic treatment apparatuses, which drew the attention of viewers.
Draws also included paper samples of the Gratenau & Hesselbacher Gmbh & Co KG of Germany and textiles of the Anhui Xinhe Textile Co Ltd of China.
The deputy general manager of the Shenyang Huanggu Seeds Co Ltd of China who attended the exhibition for the first time said:
“The exhibition served as an occasion in promoting economic exchange and collaboration among the countries. We will boost economic exchange with the DPRK counterparts.”
During the fair there were a briefing on the investment environment in the DPRK and business talks.
UPDATE 6 (2011-10-19): I finally received a list of companies participating in the first Rason International Trade Fair. Below is a picture of the names of participating companies listed on a display at the show and a PDF of their names (in English). I apologize for any typos:
UPDATE 4 (2011-8-25): KCNA announces the closing of the first Rason International Trade Fair:
First Rason International Trade Fair in DPRK Closes
Rason, August 25 (KCNA) — The first Rason International Trade Fair was closed with due ceremony on Thursday.
Present there were Jo Jong Ho, chairman of the Rason City People’s Committee, officials concerned and exhibitors of different countries and regions.
In a speech a speaker referred to the fact that the fair was successfully progressed and an advance was made in conformity in favor of mutual interests in economy, exchange of science and technology and trade through wide-ranging contacts.
Diplomas were awarded to the exhibitors who presented excellent goods at the closing ceremony.
UPDATE 3 (2011-8-25)): KCNA publishes a short article advertising the economic advantages of Rason:
Rason Economic, Trade Zone with Bright Prospect of Development
Pyongyang, August 25 (KCNA) — Rason City, the DPRK, is situated in an important area which can link China’s three northeast provinces and Russia’s Far East region, both full of natural resources, and many Asia-Pacific nations with each other.
Rajin, Sonbong and Ungsang ports in Rason and Chongjin Port adjacent to the area provide good conditions for transit trade for Northeast Asia and other continents.
The sea off the ports does not freeze in winter, so they are not subject to seasonal restriction.
The reconstruction projects of the Rajin-Khasan railway and Rajin Port launched in Juche 97 (2008) will make it possible to reduce the transport distance from Asia to Europe, sharply cutting down the transport fee.
The Rajin-Khasan railway will serve as a transport route between the DPRK and Russia and between Asia-Pacific and European nations.
Rason City has seafood, agricultural product and wild vegetable processing bases operated by Korean trading companies. The city also boasts of many ponds, lakes and bays favorable for fresh-water fish culture and offshore farm.
Its natural and geographical environment is suitable to an international tourist resort. There are sea-bird, seal and other animal sanctuaries in the area with beautiful islets, like Pipha and Sol.
Some foreigners have already launched business in the area and an increasing number of investors are interested in the zone.
Rason City with amazing geographical and economic conditions is likely to greatly contribute to the development and prosperity of Northeast Asian nations.
UPDATE 2 (2011-8-21): The first Rason International Trade Fair opens Monday. Some interesting information below:
Rajin-Sonbong or “Rason Special Economic Zone” is a co-development project developed by North Korea and China. The Rason SEZ International Product Exhibition is scheduled to take place from August 22nd to 25th — an exhibition targeted to attract foreign investors to the region.
According to the KCNA article released on August 14, “The exhibition will display a wide array of items from various countries including vehicles, pharmaceutical and clothing products.” It was said that the exhibition promises be an important event to encourage cooperation and exchange with various countries in trade, economic and science, and technology sectors.
This event is expected to not only bring Chinese but also European and other foreign companies into the economic zone, pushing investment into the area.
There is also talk of developing Rason into an international tourism zone to attract tourists from China, Russia, and Japan.
After the closing ceremony of the exhibition, visits to Rajin Harbor, Mangyongbong ferry, and the amusement park are scheduled in order to provide sightseeing tours for the participants to the exhibition.
Mangyongbong ferry, well-known in the past for transporting North Koreans living in Japan back to North Korea, is gaining special attention itself as a new tourist attraction. This cargo-passenger ferry is expected to be utilized further for tourism in the near future, including bringing Chinese tourists from Dairen and other harbors in China to Nampo Harbor close to Pyongyang.
In the late 1950s, Mangyongbong ferry began to shuttle North Koreans in Japan from Niigata Harbor to Wonsan Harbor near Pyongyang. From 1984, it was used to transport cargo into Japan, but this was halted in 2006 due to economic sanctions against North Korea which followed in response to North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests.
There are two ferries in North Korea with the name Mangyongbong. The Mangyongbong-92 will be introduced in Rajin Harbor to maximize the demonstration effect. The Mangyongbong, weighing 3,500 tons, is much smaller and older and inadequate to be used as a ferry.
The Mangyongbong-92 was built in 1992 to commemorate the 80th birthday of Kim Il Sung. The ship was built with funds collected from Chongryon (i.e., the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan). It was estimated to cost over 4 billion JPY at the time, weighing about 9,700 ton with a capacity to hold 350 passengers.
On another note, the fourteenth annual Pyongyang Spring International Product Exhibition held this May hosted over 280 companies from 10 countries. 100 Chinese companies participated in the exhibition. Since then, Chinese corporations from Liaoning and Dandong are reported to have placed contract orders worth 800,000 USD.
ORIGINAL POST (2011-8-15):
Pictured above (Google Earth): Rason geographic border (in red) and security perimeter fence (Yellow).
According to KCNA:
First Rason International Trade Fair to Be Held
Pyongyang, August 14 (KCNA) — The first Rason International Trade Fair will be held in the DPRK from August 22 to 25.
Vehicles, medicines, garments, etc. presented by companies of different countries and regions including the DPRK will be displayed at the fair.
The fair will contribute to boosting cooperation and exchange among countries and regions in fields of trade, economy, science and technology.
The DPRK is no stranger to trade fairs. By my calculations, the DPRK has hosted the Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair since 1998 and the Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair since 2005. These events, which draw vendors from across the planet, are held at the Three Revolutions Exhibition in Pyongyang.
Pyongyang, May 16 (KCNA) — The 14th Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair opened at the Three-Revolution Exhibition Monday with due ceremony.
Present there were Vice-Premier Kang Sok Ju, Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Ryong Nam, officials in the field of foreign trade and delegations from several countries and regions.
Diplomatic envoys of several countries and officials of foreign embassies here were also present.
Kim Mun Jong, director of the Korean International Exhibition Corporation, made an opening address to be followed by a congratulatory speech by O Ryong Chol, vice-minister of Foreign Trade.
The speakers said that the fair will provide multi-lateral economic and trade activities and scientific and technological exchanges among several countries and regions, expressing hope that the entrants would gain good success through broad contacts.
The DPRK will further economic and cooperative relations with other countries on the principles of equality and mutual benefits, they said.
After the opening ceremony the attendants looked round exhibits from companies of the DPRK, China, Germany, Malaysia, Mongolia, Syria, Switzerland, Singapore, Britain, Australia, Austria, Italy, Indonesia, France, Poland and Taipei of China.
A reception as regards the opening of the fair was given at Pyongyang Koryo Hotel the same day.
Uriminzokkiri posted a video of the trade fair on You Tube. Watch it here.
North Korea held an extended meeting of the entire Cabinet in order to discuss the types of projects to be pursued in the last quarter of the year, and to strategize on how these projects should be implemented.
On October 28, the CHOSUN SHINBO reported on an article in the MINJU CHOSUN, which is under the control of the North Korean Cabinet. According to the article, efforts are being made to strongly construct the foundation upon which exemplars of the ‘military-first’ era will be erected. Production lines and facilities in all realms of the People’s Economy need to come into alignment with CNC, and efforts need to be made toward modernization, environmental protection, and reforestation. In particular, the Cabinet has pledged to decisively improve city management and restore socialism in cities and agricultural villages. Efforts will be focused on restoring socialist principles to economic management and ensuring that the centrally planned national economy is implemented.
The newspaper also reported that the North’s Cabinet held discussions on how to successfully fulfill all the goals set for the third quarter while creating a strategy to meet all of the targets set for the annual People’s Economy. It is unknown exactly when this meeting was held, but Premier Choi Yong-rim and other Cabinet members were all in attendance, as were city and town People’s Committee representatives, committee members from factories and farming communities, economic planners, and managers from critical factories and organizations.
As officials discuss economic reforms, the sixth annual autumn Pyongyang International Trade Fair was held from October 18-21, and it saw a greater Chinese presence than the thirteenth annual spring trade fair held last May. This could be the result of Kim Jong Il’s August visit to China. According to the newspaper, seventeen countries were represented by over 140 companies (48 from North Korea, 93 from abroad) — This was three countries and over twenty companies more than were at the spring fair. India participated for the first time this fall.
An official from the trade fair told the newspaper that the increased participation from Chinese companies was a direct result of Kim Jong Il’s recent visit to China’s northeastern region and the improved economic relations between Pyongyang and Beijing that came out of that visit. From machinery and equipment to steel products, electronic goods and light industrial products, food, pharmaceuticals, traditional herbal medicines and chemical products, over 57,000 products in over 2,300 different categories were on display. This is more than 600 categories of goods not seen last year.
Foreign companies participating in the fair signed contracts with North Korean offices for sales, technology exchanges, joint ventures, and investment opportunities, building on the ‘Introduction and Negotiations on the Investment Environment of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’ held on October 18.