Archive for the ‘Pyongyang International Trade Fair’ Category

Increase in DPRK companies involved in Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (FES)

Despite the tough sanctions of the international community, Pyongyang’s Autumn International Trade Fair has opened. A standout in this year’s proceedings is that, unlike previous years, there are now more North Korean companies participating than foreign companies.

According to reports in Chosun Sinbo, a pro-North Korean newspaper published in Japan, the trade fair was held from September 5th to 8th in Pyongyang’s Three Revolutions Exhibition Hall. A total of 15 national and 280 regional companies in fields as diverse as electronics, machinery, metals, construction materials, transport, medicine, agriculture, light industry and foodstuffs participated.

The newspaper’s reporting highlighted “the release of many processed products for export using domestically produced materials as a result of cutting-edge science and technology introduced into our country’s [North Korea] factories and workplaces, upholding the value of autonomy and self-strengthening, which is a feature of this, the 12th Pyongyang Autumn Trade Fair.”

In addition, the newspaper added that “in the recent few years, the fair has seen a rising number of domestic (North Korean) companies participate, and this time around too, there were more domestic than foreign companies involved. . . . As with previous years, domestic companies have bravely displayed many light industrial products, with the number of products from the electrical sector rising every year being particularly noteworthy.”

The newspaper especially pointed out “in recent years, research and development, and production of a variety of electrical and electronic products with our branding has been actively proceeding in [North] Korean factories. . . . There are now more than 30 brands of electrical products being produced including ‘Blue Sky’ and ‘Morning’, with 10 such brands being on display at this year’s autumn trade fair.”

These companies exhibited up-to-date consumer electronics including tablet computers, desktops, laptops and LCTVs.

Ri Gyong Sim (36), an employee of the Rakwon General Trade Company (participating for the second time in the trade fair) stated that “of late, demand has been rising amongst the people for electrical goods with our brand name. . . . this is because, first of all, our credibility is guaranteed by production units, and direct sales points also do repairs, so the consumer’s demands for convenience are satisfied.”

Ri also said that coming to the fair allowed him to check what was good about competitors’ products and this would help his company improve their offering. He also said that “there is a multiplier effect in quality terms with the products on display at the trade fair as domestic companies compete with the same products.”

What’s more, there were many participants from the Fareast including China and Mongolia, and Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Russian, German, and Italian participants were also present.

The newspaper pointed especially to the fact that “since last year, Singaporean companies, food companies in particular, have shown an active interest in trading with [North] Korea.”

This includes a Singaporean trade company called Gold Kili, a manufacturer and seller of drinks including coffee and a variety of teas. It is a famous food company in Singapore, which exports its products to 30 countries.

The company’s head, Chu Wai (44) said that of the products on display at the Trade Fair, the Korean people purchased much coffee in particular, and that he was satisfied with having a number of discussions about commercial transactions.


2016 Pyongyang Spring Trade Fair

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

UPDATE 5 (2016-6-1): The photographer Aram Pan (DPRK360) shot an incredible video of the trade fair. You can really learn a lot about the DPRK from watching it. There were lots of little surprises for me.

Also check out his Facebook photos of the Trade Fair here.

UPDATE 4 (2016-5-26): KCTV covered the trade fair.

UPDATE 3 (2016-5-23): KCTV Covered the trade fair.

UPDATE 2 (2016-3-17): According to the Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES):

North Korea to Host International Trade Fairs despite UN Sanctions

Despite the newly imposed sanctions by the UN Security Council (UNSC), North Korea does not appear to be deterred from hosting large-scale international events, as Pyongyang plans to host its annual Pyongyang International Trade Fair (PITF) twice this year, in May and September.

North Korea’s official web portal ‘Naenara’ reported that the spring PITF will be held at the Three-Revolution Exhibition House in the Sosong District in Pyongyang from May 16th to the 19th and the autumn PTIF will be held at the same venue from September 5th to the 8th.

‘Naenara’ claimed that the country “has been hosting hundreds of trade shows both in the country and abroad for over 50 years since April 17, 1958 and such events will enable the DPRK to accelerate its friendship and cooperation with other states and boost its international trade.”

According to the website, these trade fairs will exhibit items such as machine tools, mining equipment and their manufacturing technology for minerals—items in a sector now heavily targeted by the new sanctions imposed by the UNSC.

According to the report, the trade fairs will also include displays of construction machinery and building materials, energy and environment protection materials, communication and information technology, agricultural equipment and technology, foodstuffs and production technology, print and packing machinery, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, light-industry products, consumer goods, and even vehicles.

Advertising is of course permitted at the trade fairs, with installation and removal displays and promotional materials requiring pre-approval by the host Korean International Exhibition Corporation. Transportation of the items for exhibition is to be dealt with by the Pyongyang Agent Department of the Italian company OTIM (Organizzazione Transporti Internazionali Marittimi). OTIM, a freight forwarding company established in the late 1940s, has been authorized and in charge of transporting goods between North Korea and Europe.

‘Naenara’ announced that the fairs will accept emailed or faxed applications until 40 days prior to the opening and has requested companies to send along their list of participants.

Apart from domestic enterprises, companies from around 16 countries or more — including Australia, China, Cuba, Cambodia, Germany, Italy, Indonesia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, and Vietnam — have reportedly participated in these trade fairs in the past.

Given North Korea’s isolation from the international system and closed-nature of its economy, the international trade fairs have been important events for its economy. However, while North Korea seems determined to host its annual spring and autumn events despite the international sanctions and pressure, just how many companies from other countries will participate is an open question.

UPDATE 1 (2016-3-1): The 2016-Q1 issue of Foreign Trade is out, and it contains some additional information on the 2016 Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair.


ORIGINAL POST (2016-2-11): Everyone may be talking about nukes, rockets, sanctions, and the closure of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, but the North Koreans have begun planning the 2016 Pyongyang Spring Trade Fair. Below you can see images of the first flyers to emerge:



Promotion of the trade fair appears to be in the hands of a Chinese internet firm named Ex-Easy.

Thanks to a reader (Andy) for translating some of the flyer:

“Pyongyang International Business Products Exhibition” is organised by an affiliated company under DPRK’s Ministry of Trade. This international exhibition is DPRK’s largest and most trade-conducive of its kind. It is organised yearly since 1998, and is held twice yearly – in spring and autumn – from 2005. The exhibition will be held in Pyongyang’s Three Revolution Exhibition hall, with a capacity of 6500 square meters. The DPRK has been gradually liberalising its economy in recent years and increasing its trade with neighbouring countries. At the same time, it has raised its domestic living standards, and they are attracted to Chinese products and (manufacturing) techniques.

Products exhibited:
1. Daily necessities, office supplies, household appliances, manufacturing / packing equipment, sewing equipment, clothes, stitched (embroidered?) products, …
2. Food, flavourings, food additive facilities/techniques, high temperature processed products and equipment, fruits, vegetable processing equipment, techniques, nucleic acid manufacturing facilities/techniques/products, bean processing and techniques, fish/seafood processing/techniques, health product processing/techniques
3. Sealing machinery, vacuum packaging, engraving machinery, food packaging machinery
4. Injection moulding machinery, moulds.
5. Misc hardware and DIY materials: bathroom/kitchen, construction/DIY, locks, safety equipment/accessories, small scale electronics, construction decorations, interior decoration – doors/windows/ceiling/walls/paint/chemicals/ceramics/masonry materials, building tech, environmentally frendly materials, furniture, inspection and certification
6. All sorts of large machinery – mining and related equipment, farming equipment, electronics, light industries, food processing and related equipment, chemical products, medical equipment, medicine manufacturing facilities.

Last exhibitions featured exhibitors from DPRK, China, Germany, UK, Australia, Italy, Poland, Cuba…. 400 over companies from 16 countries/regions. A total of 6372 square meter of exhibition space over two floors, taking up all usable space. Cars and engineering machinery took up about 1000 square meters of space outdoors. Exhibited products included cars, tooling machine, chemical, machines, communication equipment, electrical equipment, transportation machinery, plastics machinery, engineering equipment.


2015 Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair

Monday, September 28th, 2015

UPDATE 1 (2015-9-30): Aram Pan (DPRK 360) has posted a comprehensive video of the trade fair for those of us unable to make it.

ORIGINAL POST (2015-9-28): According to Yonhap:

A Chinese envoy has urged more Chinese companies to make inroads into the North Korean market, while calling for deepening economic and trade ties with North Korea.

Li Jinjun, China’s ambassador to North Korea, made the remarks on Thursday as he visited an annual trade fair in Pyongyang, in which about 110 Chinese firms took part, according to the Chinese Embassy in the North on Monday.

Li urged the Chinese companies to “better understand and enter into the North Korean market.”

The Chinese ambassador also “encouraged them to develop friendly relations between China and North Korea and deepen bilateral economic and trade cooperation.”

Political relations between North Korea and China remain strained over the North’s defiant pursuit of nuclear weapons and missiles, but China is the North’s economic lifeline.

About 300 companies from 10 nations, including China, Germany, Singapore and Vietnam, joined the 11th Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair, which was held last week, according to the Chinese Embassy.

Read the full story here:
Chinese ambassador calls for deepening economic ties with N. Korea


18th Pyongyang Spring Internaitonal Trade Fair

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

KCNA reports that the 18th Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair has opened (2015-5-11):

The 18th Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair opened with due ceremony at the Three-Revolution Exhibition House Monday.

Displayed at the venue of the fair are products presented by companies of the DPRK, New Zealand, Germany, Russia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Switzerland, Singapore, China, Cambodia, France, Poland, Australia, Italy, Indonesia, Viet Nam and Taipei of China.

Present at the ceremony were Vice-Premier Ro Tu Chol, Ri Ryong Nam, minister of External Economic Relations, officials concerned, delegations of different countries and regions, diplomatic envoys of different countries and embassy officials here.

An opening address was made by Pak Ung Sik, director of the Korean International Exhibition Corporation, to be followed by a congratulatory speech by O Ryong Chol, vice-minister of External Economic Relations.

The speakers said the fair is developing as an international economic event for boosting the economic and trade relations among different countries of the world and regions and promoting economic development.

They noted that during the fair the participants would witness for themselves achievements made by the Korean people in building a economic power and conduct multilateral scientific and technical exchange in various fields.

The participants will steadily boost cooperation in economy and trade on the principle of equality and mutual benefit in the days ahead, they noted.

The fair will last till May 14.

There was a side conference on the Wonsan – Mt. Kumgang Tourist Zone.

“Paekok”-trademarked Koryo Medicines were also on display.

KCNA also played up Russian involvement:

The 18th Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair goes on in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with attendance of many home and foreign businesses.

Businessmen from various countries, including Russia, New Zealand, Germany and Malaysia, have expressed their will to strengthen the economic cooperation with the DPRK.

Boris Stupnitsky, president of the Primorsky Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Zaytsev Dmitry of the Export Development Center of Primorsky Territory and Igor Agafonov, deputy representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, told KCNA at the fair:

We attach weight significance to the international trade fair in Pyongyang.

That’s why we are here at this fair with an unprecedentedly big delegation. Among the delegation are firms engaged in meat processing, construction and bean production.

Their intention is to develop Russia’s commercial relations with the DPRK through detailed survey of its trade situation.

We realized, through the autumn trade fair held here last year, that the DPRK has great potentials.

We have a long-term plan for economic cooperation with the DPRK and this vast plan will be carried into practice without fail. Next year more businessmen will come here from Russia.

The city of Pyongyang has undergone a radical change. The development speed of Pyongyang, beautiful and covered with green foliage, took us by surprise. This would have been unthinkable without the guidance of the leader of the DPRK, we dare say.

Here are two videos of the trade fair.

Here is coverage in NK News.


10th Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair opens

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

According to KCNA:

10th Pyongyang Autumn Int’l Trade Fair Opens

Pyongyang, September 22, 2014 (KCNA) — The 10th Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair opened with due ceremony at the Three-Revolution Exhibition House on Monday.

Present at the opening ceremony were Vice-Premier Ro Tu Chol who doubles as chairman of the State Planning Commission, Ri Ryong Nam, minister of External Economic Relations, Kim Song Dok, vice-chairman of the Pyongyang City People’s Committee, Ri Hak Gwon, head of the DPRK Chamber of Commerce, officials in the field of foreign trade, delegations of different countries and regions, foreign diplomatic envoys and staff members of their embassies here.

Pak Ung Sik, director of the Korean International Exhibition Corporation, made an opening address which was followed by a congratulatory speech by Ri Myong San, vice-minister of External Economic Relations.

The speakers said the fair would offer a good opportunity to promote friendship and cooperation among countries and boost the wide-ranging economic and trade transactions and scientific and technological exchange.

They expressed the will to boost bilateral and multilateral cooperation with various countries and regions of the world in the fields of the economy and foreign trade on the principle of equality and mutual benefit in the days ahead.

The participants looked round products presented by companies of various countries and regions including the DPRK, Germany, Russia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, China, Cuba, Italy and Taipei of China.

The fair will run through Thursday.


The 17th Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair sees sharp rise in applicants

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

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.


9th Autumn Pyongyang International Trade Fair

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

UPDATE 1 (2013-10-1): Briefing session for investors held at the Pyongyang International Product Exhibition
Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

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.”

ORIGINAL POST : According to KCNA (2013-9-23):

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.

The trade fair will last till Thursday.

On 2013-09-24, KCNA reported the following:

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.

On 2013-9-26 KCNA reported the following:

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.

On 2013-9-26 KCNA also reported the following:

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.

Martyn Williams tracks down other participating companies here.


North Korea promoting extensively for the international product exhibition

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

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.


2nd Rason International Trade Fair (UPDATED)

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

UPDATE 6 (2012-9-1): Over at Choson Exchange, Andray Abrahamian updates us on the current state of Rason’s new highway to China (completed: see here and here for more), Russian railway connection (completed), port construction (on hold), energy supply, tourism and investment.

Some additional areas of construction are available in this Yonhap report.

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.

Additional Information:

1. Here is Yonahp coverage of the story.

2. I hope Qin Huangdao has better luck than Xiyang.

3.Choson Exchange posted pictures of the Rason trade fair including  a large poster of the Pottery Barn image!

4. Yonhap also reports (via the Choson Sinbo) that housing in this facility would be sold to foreigners:

“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.”

UPDATE 5 (2012-8-22): Here is a video of the investment forum that was held at the zone. It features another architectural vision for the city which differs from the previously released video:

 UPDATE 4 (2012-8-21): What’s on offer at the Rason Trade fair? According to the Associated Press:

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.

Here is coverage of the opening of the trade fair in Xinhua.

UPDATE 1 (2012-8-9): The Second Rason International Product Exhibition to be held this month (Institute for Far Eastern Studies):

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 1Part 2Part 3.

Additional Information:
1. Previous posts on the Rason International Trade Exhibition can be found here.

2. Previous posts on the Pyongyang International Trade Exhibition can be found here.


DPRK’s Premier Choe Yong Rim makes onsite inspections

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

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.”