Archive for the ‘Pyongyang International Trade Fair’ Category

GPI 2010 business delegations to DPRK

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

From GPI:

In the current financial and economic situation, companies face many challenges. They must cut costs, develop new products and find new markets. In these fields, North-Korea might be an interesting option. Since a few years, it is opening its doors to foreign enterprises. The labor costs are the lowest of Asia, and its skilled labor is of a high quality. It established free trade zones to attract foreign investors and there are several sectors, including textile industry, shipbuilding, agro business, logistics, mining and Information Technology that can be considered for trade and investment.
European Business Mission (May 2010) & Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair
Information Flyer Here(PDF)

In order to explore these business opportunities, we are organizing again a business mission to North-Korea (15 – 22 May). We will also visit the annual Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair. This fair can be used by European companies to come in contact with potential buyers and suppliers in North-Korea. Information abouth both events has been attached.
North-Korean investment mission to visit The Netherlands (February)
There are investment opportunities in several areas, such as textiles; agro business (e.g. export of vegetables, fruit and flowers to South-Korea); mining (e.g. zinc, mica, tungsten, rare metals); real estate (e.g. office buildings); renewable energy (e.g. windenergy, batteries); Information Technology; electronics; chemicals and tourism. A high-ranking delegation from North-Korea will visit The Netherlands at the end of February, in order to discuss these opportunities in detail and to present specific investment projects. We can be contacted for further details.
New book on European – North Korean relations
Information Flyer Here (PDF)
This spring, the Hanns Seidel Foundation (Germany) will publish a new book about the relations between Europe and North-Korea. The publication: “Europe – North Korea: Between Humanitarianism and Business?” also contains two chapters about trade development and business issues – including my article on IT-cooperation. Its Table Of Contents has been attached.     

With best regards, Paul Tjia (director) 
GPI Consultancy, P.O. Box 26151, 3002 ED Rotterdam, The Netherlands
E-mail: [email protected] tel: +31-10-4254172  fax: +31-10-4254317 Website:


Campaign to sell Kaesong goods in Pyongyang

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
NK Brief No. 09-10-26-1

Companies in the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) are pushing for permission to transport goods manufactured within the complex along the railway running from Kaesong to Sinuiju and the highways connecting Kaesong, Pyongyang, Sinuiju and the Chinese city of Dandong.

Currently, the majority of goods exported from the KIC flow through the South Korean port of Incheon. They are then distributed elsewhere after arriving at the Chinese port of Dalian. This route is expensive and slow. Shipping by sea costs 1,900 USD per container and takes as many as 10 days, while if the railway infrastructure was built up between Kaesong and Sinuiju, both the cost and the time could be significantly reduced.

Seventeen percent of Kaesong goods are exported not only to China, but to Europe, the Middle East and Russia. In the mid- to long-term, Kaesong needs to be connected with Rajin-Sunbong, so that goods can be distributed throughout Russia and Europe via the Trans-Siberian Railway. In order to make this happen, companies within the KIC are seeking to attract foreign joint-ventures and investments while at the same time lobbying North Korean authorities in an effort to convince them of the need for such land transportation infrastructure.

These companies are also pushing for improvements in the highway spanning the 160 km between the KIC and Pyongyang and the injection of KIC goods into the Pyongyang markets, where they could compete with Chinese imports. One part of this effort is promoting the attachment of ‘Made In DPRK’ labels to goods produced in these factories.

It appears that North Korean authorities have been receptive to these ideas, but questions still remain on the logistics of the project. One source has said that the North Korean Central Special Direct General Bureau has shown interest recently in the idea of including KIC goods in the annual Pyongyang International Trade Fair.

On the one hand, the number of North Korean workers in the KIC has now topped 40,000; but on the other hand, given the number and size of the factories in the complex, the factories are about 26,000 workers short of full capacity. The effort to find suitable workers means that now people from Sariwon, Pyongyang and Hamheung have been brought in. Companies in the KIC are adamant that construction of dormitories in the complex needs to be sped up. At the same time, North Korean authorities are demanding that workers be paid according to their level of education, job description, and experience.

For the first time in 13 months, trade between the two Koreas began to rise again. In September 2009, inter-Korean trade amounted to 173.17 million USD, a 2.6 percent rise over the 166.86 million USD recorded in 2008. The economy has shown signs of recovery since last July, and as inter-Korean relations have inched toward improvement, trade has also risen.


Pyongyang International Trade Fair (’09)

Monday, September 14th, 2009

According to Yonhap:

The Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair, set for Sept. 21-24 at the Three Revolution Exhibition, will present machine tools, electric and electronic equipment, transport equipment, petrochemical and medical goods, food items and daily necessities, said the Korean Central News Agency.

Participating businesses come from 16 countries or regions — China, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Britain, Australia, Austria, Italy, Indonesia, Vietnam, France, Finland, Poland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as the host, the report said.

The North began its fall trade fair in 2005 and the spring fair in 1998 with goals of promoting its homegrown goods and acquiring advanced technology from foreign countries. This year’s spring fair was held in May.

Here is the location of the Three Revolution Exhibition.

Here are previous posts about the PITF.


FDI and JVCs in the DPRK…

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

The General Association of Koreans in Japan (Chongryun) have made a video about foreign direct investment and joint venture companies in the DPRK.  I have posted links to the video below.  It features the PyongSu pharmaceutical factory among other things.  It is in Korean and Japanese (with Japanese subtitles), so if there are any readers who care to translate, please let me know if there is any interesting information in the videos:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:


DPRK 2008 trade hits record USD $3.8billion

Monday, May 18th, 2009

According to Yonhap:

North Korean trade with the outside world, excluding South Korea, hit a record US$3.8 billion last year, a report said Monday, despite rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Trade jumped 29.7 percent compared with 2007, the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, a South Korean trade agency, said in the report.

Last year, North Korea’s exports rose 23 percent to $1.13 billion with imports climbing 32.7 percent to $2.69 billion, the report said. The country still posted a trade deficit of $1.56 billion for the year.

The report also showed that China’s influence on North Korea’s moribund economy is rising quickly.

The communist nation exported $750 million worth of goods to China and imported $2.03 billion last year.

“North Korea’s trade with China hit a record last year and keeps growing,” the report said.

“In the face of the global economic slump and the North’s rocket launch, North Korea’s external trade is expected to shrink this year. But, China’s influence on the North Korean economy is likely to grow further,” it noted.

According to the CIA World Fact Book, South Korea’s 2008 exports totaled $419 billion.

Read the full article here:
N. Korea’s 2008 trade hits record US$3.8 bln: report

UPDATE: DPRK trade deficit hits record high in 2008
Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
NK Brief No. 09-5-27-1

North Korea’s overseas trade (excluding inter-Korean exchanges) continues to grow, in particular with China, and last year recorded the highest amount of trade since 1990.

On May 18, results of analysis by the Korea Trade & Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) of overseas trade statistics provided to the Korea Business Center in countries around the world revealed that last year’s exports grew by 23 percent (1.13 billion USD), while imports shot up 32.7 percent (2.69 billion USD). The North registered a 1.56 billion dollar deficit, but the overall volume of trade (3.82 million USD) was the highest since the North’s trade amounted to 4.17 million USD 18 years prior.

Business with China, traditionally North Korea’s largest trading partner, totaled 750 million USD-worth of exports and 2.03 billion USD-worth of imports, as the North’s dependence on trade with its neighbor continues to grow. In 2003, trade with China accounted for 32.7 percent of the North’s overseas trade, but that grew to 48.5 percent in 2004, made up more than half (52.6 percent) in 2005, and rocketed up to 73 percent last year.

KOTRA reported that the North’s imports from China have grown by 46 percent over the last decade, and that in 2008, both trade with China and trade deficit with China hit record highs. At the recent Pyongyang Spring Trade Exhibition (May 11-14), 167 companies from 17 countries, including vendors from China, Russia, Germany, Malaysia, Syria, Sweden, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand showed their wares, but China’s overwhelming presence was felt, with over 100 of the companies present were from the PRC.

Business with Pyongyang’s second-largest trading partner, Singapore, accounted for a mere 3.1 percent (123.6 million USD) of overall trade, although that showed a 116.1 percent increase over 2007. Trade with India and Brazil, the North’s no. 3 and 4 trade partners was relatively stable.

With sanctions in effect by the United States and Japan, the North’s exports to these countries were practically nonexistent, although imports registered 52.1 million USD and 7.7 million USD, respectively.

According to KOTRA, “it appears that, aside from China, North Korea’s overseas trade with other countries showed no significant change,” and, “with negative issues such as the global economic slump and North Korea’s rocket launce, this year North Korea’s overseas trade is expected to contract slightly, while reliance on China will grow as China’s economic influence on the North expands further.”


Korea Business Consultants Newsletter

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Korea Business Consultants has published their latest newsletter.  You may download it here.

Topics covered include:
Six Party Talk progress
South Korea/Russia gas deal
More factories opening in the DPRK
UN survey of DPRK population
Summit pledges
Pyongynag hosts autumn trade fair
KEPCO to Abandon NK Reactor Gear
Trust Company Handling DPRK’s Overseas Business
DPRK-Russia Railway Work Begins
ROK Opposition Calls for Renewed Cooperation with DPRK
ROK Delegation Leaves for DPRK
ROK Aid Workers Leave for DPRK
“ROK Makes US$27.6 Billion from DPRK Trade”
“Kaesong Output Tops US$400 Million”
DPRK, Kenya Set Up Diplomatic Ties
Medvedev Hails DPRK Anniversary
Claim to North Korean rock fame
International Film Festival Opens


Interview Blog: Felix Abt, European Business Association

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Interview Blog
How a hopeless pharmaceutical joint venture was turned into a success story, why and how humanitarian aid and economic development mostly follow conflicting interests, how foreign business people challenge and survive an environment overshadowed by heavy geopolitical influences including arbitrary sanctions imposed by foreign powers, how North Korean managers prepare themselves to get fit for export and international competition, and what the dos and don’ts are for those who want to successfully start a business in this very special country.

(click here for other North Korea-related interviews)

Klaus-Martin Meyer: Felix Abt, you came as country director for the ABB group to North Korea in 2002 where you have been resident since. ABB closed its representation just about 2 years after your arrival but you have successfully been involved in a number of other businesses since then. What happened?

Felix Abt: At the time the Swiss-Swedish ABB, a global leader in power and automation technologies, not only faced huge asbesto claims in the United States but also large debts versus a tiny equity that culminated then into a matter of life or death for the group. To survive it decided to immediately save 800 million USD cash expenses, making the closure of a number of factories and offices around the globe unavoidable.

Though we at ABB Pyongyang fully covered our cost through sufficient sales with a good margin the funds and other resources necessary to set up the planned joint ventures I had been negotiating, however promising they may have become, were definitely not available any longer. In addition the pre-contracts I secured for ABB – including one for a 9-digit USD infrastructure project I signed at the dismay of the competitors in presence of the Swiss foreign minister, the Swedish ambassador and the North Korean minister of power and coal industries – would have required even more substantial funding. Given ABB’s critical financial condition that I, far from the headquarters, grew aware of only later, neither ABB could have provided this in the form of supplier credits nor commercial banks in the absence of sufficient export risk cover nor institutions like the Asian Development Bank or the World Bank from which North Korea remained excluded as a member due to US and Japanese opposition.

It led ABB to shut down its country representation. The speculations put into circulation suggesting political rather than economic reasons or the failure of its local business operation for the shutdown were all wrong. ABB’s case also drew more attention than it deserved because this company and British tobacco giant BAT were then the only multinational groups active with resident expatriate staff in North Korea.

After the closure of ABB’s offices I continued to work in Pyongyang as an agent for ABB and added other firms to a strategic agency portfolio which comprised first-rated companies in promising key sectors like mining (e.g. Sandvik) and light industries (e.g. Dystar). On behalf of the companies represented by me I realized multi million USD sales in the following years. I was also involved in setting up mining operations.

Klaus-Martin Meyer: From heavy involvement in infrastructure and mining business to raising a North Korean pharmaceutical factory to world standard – how come?

Felix Abt: The PyongSu Pharma J.V. Co. Ltd. in Pyongyang is the first pharmaceutical joint venture between North Korean and foreign investors and the largest operational European investment at present. The foreign investors that had been holding the majority equity stake sent first a Philippino production pharmacist to Pyongyang to build up and run the joint venture. After he had been in Pyongyang for some time he decided some day not to return to Pyongyang from a holiday. The project suffered a setback and got stuck until a second one from Germany was found who stayed some years until he decided to retire. Both of them were excellent production experts and successfully set up and run pharmaceutical operations elsewhere before. And yet, PyongSu’s situation still looked desperate when the second one left and when I was asked to become managing director and the third one to, so to speak, try his luck: A WHO-sponsored international inspection had just come up with 75 objections, rejecting Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) acknowledgement, a universally recognized production quality standard in the pharmaceutical industry as defined by the WHO. In addition from being far from reaching the necessary standards, the company had no sales but only expenses, large quantities of Aspirin and Paracetamol nearing their expiry dates were stockpiled at its warehouse, and last but not least both investors, unwilling to give the company any more support, and staff were discouraged and they had little confidence left in the company’s future.

Having had the unique chance of getting to know North Korea and gaining, unlike other foreign business people, a pretty good insight and understanding of the way business is done here during the previous years of my stay thanks to my multi-faceted business activities and having worked and survived for a large multinational pharmaceutical group as country director and regional director before in no much less challenging places in the Middle East and in Africa, I thought I should dare it. At the beginning I felt really lonely in the belief that PyongSu had a fair chance of succeeding and many told me straightforward I was a day dreamer. But already recognizing the impressive potential of the Korean staff when I was a member of the board of directors before taking over as chief executive and the ability to recruit more of the industry’s best talents I believed that with proper management that included coaching and training in all business aspects good results were achievable.

The results of the new approach are quickly told: PyongSu did become the first North Korean pharmaceutical factory to reach international GMP-level confirmed by the World Health Organisation. It also became the first ever North Korean company to participate in tender competitions and to win contracts against foreign competitors from Germany, China, India, Thailand and elsewhere. With an increasing cash-flow generated by ourselves, we have even become able to add significant value to the company by buying and profitably operate pharmacies and other sales outlets in the country.

Being recognized as a model pharmaceutical company PyongSu has, at the request of the government, also made itself socially useful by sharing know-how with other pharmaceutical companies to help raise their standards.

Klaus-Martin Meyer: You have been the initiator and the first president of the European Business Association (EBA) in Pyongyang, the equivalent of a European chamber of commerce. What was the motivation for its foundation and what has been the result of it so far?

Felix Abt: I always felt that there are plenty of misconceptions about North Korea and the way business is done here. Not only was the country underreported and often misunderstood but when Western media did report about it they tended to repeat old, mostly negative stereotypes. Thus, I saw a need to provide the business world with more accurate information, ideally by competent business people on the ground themselves. I also thought an entity should be created that could serve as a bridge between European and North Korean enterprises to accelerate investment and trade between them and to break the isolation the country was pushed into by the powers who have been trying to overthrow it ever since the DPRK or, in full, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea’s official denomination) was founded 60 years ago. I also thought it could some day become a welcome medium for European businesses and North Korean authorities to hold dialogues in order to learn to understand one another’s problems, concerns and thinking which would strongly benefit both sides. I could, by the way, also imagine a larger meeting and communication platform not just limited to few European businesses but open for enterprises around the globe interested in investing and doing business in North Korea.

Since its foundation the EBA Pyongyang made some headway into the direction described before. However, my presidency was marked and overshadowed by an avalanche of arbitrary economic and financial “sanctions” imposed on the host country which kept me busy to find ways and means to keep (legitimate) business going.

As things have stabilized and as we have learnt how to deal with obstacles to our businesses in the meantime and, last but not least, in order to save time for existing business projects as well as new business opportunities in North Korea and Vietnam including those your readers may approach me with I decided a few months ago that I would no longer be available as president or committee member for a second several-year-term.

But having closely experienced Vietnam’s economic adjustment process and the way it so successfully attracted foreign investment where I have been living and working for many years before I moved to Pyongyang I would still be prepared to spend time and share experience and know-how with the competent North Korean authorities should they be interested in it.

Klaus-Martin Meyer: One of the many hats you are wearing is the one as director of the Pyongyang Business School. Is capacity building for enterprises a better alternative to sending rice bags in order to prevent hunger and starvation in North Korea?

Felix Abt: Let me explain you first that with the exception of Sweden and Switzerland all European countries, invited by the North Korean government to do development projects in North Korea, have refused to do so until now for political reasons (following largely US-policies) and provide only humanitarian assistance, particularly in times of disaster. It is mainly the United States plus European and certain Asian countries that have been donating rice and other food items instead either directly or through the World Food Programme (WFP) each and every year for more than a decade and they are continuing to do so. This not only allowed donors to get a glimpse into North Korea through the eyes of WFP-food distributors but it also created a culture of dependency which I suspect was not entirely without political intentions by the donor countries and which economists and development experts claim to also have prevented necessary economic adjustment measures that would have allowed the DPRK to get on its own feet faster.

Recently, for example, I saw that an NGO bought a large quantity of cookies fortified with vitamines in China with taxpayers’ money from a European country for malnourished kids in North Korea. They thought that European hygiene, safety and quality standards of food items can be met in China but not in North Korea. Instead of helping the North Korean food companies with some capacity building reach these standards they were in fact undermining the efforts that the North Korean food processing industry is undertaking to catch up with the rest of the world. How do these do-gooders imagine that domestic factories can thrive and feed their workers and their families if they place their orders with competing industries just across the border? I can illustrate my point also with PyongSu’s example. Some organizations like the WHO and the IFRC have supported and sincerely honored PyongSu’s efforts to reach international quality and safety standards and competitive prices. They were fully aware of the fact that by purchasing quality pharmaceuticals made in the DPRK they would help raise the quality and safety of pharmaceuticals and save additional lives! And yet there are still many NGO’s and countries that prefer to buy pharmaceuticals to be donated abroad rather than from us, directly undermining efforts of PyongSu and the rest of the North Korean pharmaceutical industry to reach and maintain high international standards. This proves that there is a lot of politics, self-interest and hypocrisy involved in what I would call the foreign aid industry which literally beats the domestic manufacturing industry.

A former country director of the Swiss governmental Development and Cooperation Agency (SDC) and I thought food security could only be established by promoting adequate economic development leading to increasing income in domestic and hard currency, job creation etc. Since, of course, we would not have been able to mobilize finance for the upgrading of the infrastructure, or to buy spare parts and raw materials for enterprises, we thought that a very cost-effective means of helping North Korean companies is capacity building for senior officials and managers to enable them to make the best out of their existing enterprises and to prepare them to get fit for export and international competition.

I made a concept for approval by the sponsor SDC and the DPRK-government and then I started organizing the business school seminars (including some essential elements of an MBA-course) with lecturers from different countries with an outstanding theoretical knowledge and practical international experience. Having gained a good idea of the state of North Korean enterprises, their environment and a fair understanding of the needs of their managers when doing business with them I was not only able to select the most suitable lecturers but also brief them in such a way as to have their lectures tailored to the students’ real needs – something other foreign economic training organizers have failed to do. The students at the seminars are North Korean senior officials and company executives. It was therefore not surprising that they expressed great satisfaction with what they learnt and with the practical benefits they drew from it for their businesses. Since SDC did not pay my work and my expenses during the first two years I was not only a co-initiator but also a co-sponsor. In addition I could convince some large foreign companies to send senior executives and experts to hold seminars in Pyongyang at their own expense.

Western media like The Financial Times were quick at speculating that we were about to challenge the socialist system but that, of course, is non-sense. It’s very simple: If a country, regardless of whether it is capitalist or socialist, wants its enterprises to successfully export they need to get to know and apply the corresponding marketing tools. Or irrespective of whether an enterprise is privately or state-owned it needs to have a strategy and a business plan. So the company managers have learnt such basics at our seminars and, to stay with the example, know that if they fail to plan they plan to fail.

This year most of the lecturers have been coming from Hong Kong. They have an academic teaching background and, in addition, international management experience of 20 years on average. A further asset they have, and that’s another reason why I have chosen them, is that most of them also built up subsidiary companies in mainland China on behalf of Western companies. Thus, they are not just teaching knowledge acquired from books but have a lot of highly useful hands-on experience and are also well aware of the different business worlds and of the very different economic, cultural and political aspects in East and West, which is essential to know when interacting with businesses of other countries. Needless to say that they can understand and empathize with North Korea better than European and other Western lecturers who would have to overcome much more than just a wide geographical distance.

Klaus-Martin Meyer: With your unique and large wealth of experience in North Korea what do you recommend to business people who want to start a business in North Korea.

Felix Abt: This is your toughest question since it would take me at least a full evening to give some really useful reply.

Perhaps I would summarily try to answer that if you want to understand why and how certain companies succeed you have to know first why certain other foreign companies fail. Those who fail are quick at blaming North Korea, its system and so on, and, of course, never recognize their own shortcomings.

But it’s worthwhile having a closer look at them to learn how to avoid costly errors. From my observations these are the five main causes of their failure:

– lack of basic knowledge of the country due to a lack of due diligence (no or little home work done before traveling to Pyongyang)
– advice by ignorant and/or biased advisors and sponsors (all advisors belong to this category to at least a certain extent)
– choice of random, suboptimal business partner based on a recommendation (see above) rather than a systematic selection (i.e. asking for a range of alternative business partners from which to choose the most suitable one)
– no identification of a leverage for a long-term joint venture (e.g. lasting technological advance, ownership of unique loyal customer base etc.)
– appointment of unsuitable project manager (with lack of technical and/or social and/or cultural competence as well as lacking patience, stamina and flexibility and/or a background difficult to accept for the North Koreans)

A larger number of Chinese but also some European business people have successfully started businesses in North Korea in recent years. Readers of yours may join the growing foreign business community and I wish them good luck and success, too!


Download glitch fixed: North Korea Google Earth (version 11)

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

The most authoritative map of North Korea on Google Earth
Download it here

This map covers North Korea’s agriculture, aviation, cultural locations, markets, manufacturing facilities, railroad, energy infrastructure, politics, sports venues, military establishments, religious facilities, leisure destinations, and national parks. It is continually expanding and undergoing revisions. This is the eleventh version.

Additions include: Mt. Paegun’s Ryonghung Temple and resort homes, Pyongyang’s Chongryu Restaurant, Swiss Development Agency (former UNDP office), Iranian Embassy, White Tiger Art Studio, KITC Store, Kumgangsan Store, Pyongyang Fried Chicken Restaurant, Kilju’s Pulp Factory (Paper), Kim Chaek Steel Mill, Chongjin Munitions Factory, Poogin Coal Mine, Ryongwun-ri cooperative farm, Thonggun Pavilion (Uiju), Chinju Temple (Yongbyon), Kim il Sung Revolutionary Museum (Pyongsong), Hamhung Zoo, Rajin electrified perimeter fence, Pyongsong market (North Korea’s largest), Sakju Recreation Center, Hoeryong Maternity Hospital, Sariwon Suwon reservoir (alleged site of US massacre), Sinpyong Resting Place, 700 Ridges Pavilion, Academy of Science, Hamhung Museum of the Revolutionary Activities of Comrade Kim Il Sung, South Hamgyong House of Culture, Hamhung Royal Villa, Pork Chop Hill, and Pyongyang’s Olympic torch route. Additional thanks go to Martyn Williams for expanding the electricity grid, particularly in Samjiyon, and various others who have contributed time improving this project since its launch.

Disclaimer: I cannot vouch for the authenticity of many locations since I have not seen or been to them, but great efforts have been made to check for authenticity. These efforts include pouring over books, maps, conducting interviews, and keeping up with other peoples’ discoveries. In many cases, I have posted sources, though not for all. This is a thorough compilation of lots of material, but I will leave it up to the reader to make up their own minds as to what they see. I cannot catch everything and I welcome contributions.  Additionally, this file is getting large and may take some time to load.


Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair announced

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

From the European Business Association (EBA) web site:

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

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

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

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

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

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


“The Economist” on Pyongyang Trade Fair

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

From The Economist:

Originally designed to promote business-to-business contacts, the trade fair, along with a companion event in the autumn, has become one of the few opportunities for North Koreans—or, more accurately, a few thousand residents of the capital—to buy, or gawk at, foreign merchandise. More than 100 Chinese companies, together with some from Taiwan, Indonesia, Britain and North Korea itself, offered up everything from T-shirts to heavy machinery. Cutting-edge technology it wasn’t. Duvets, refrigerators, flat-screen televisions, DVD players, cooking pots and cosmetics were the most popular items. More than 15 units of one of the show’s most expensive items, a $1,200 refrigerator from Haier, a Chinese company, were snapped up. Counterfeit iPods were also popular, even if downloading is illegal.

In pursuit of the country’s goal of becoming a net exporter, around 40 local enterprises also displayed their wares, including medicines, oil paintings, machinery, spectacles and a polarised-light device that the makers claimed could cure any disease. But it was the imports that galvanised people’s inner shopper. A billboard at the entrance trumpeted the slogan “Building an Independent National Economy” and included numerous photographs of Kim Jong Il and his father inspecting farms and factories, a reminder to visitors of the all-embracing love and compassion of the Kim family. As the shopfest ended, however, some North Koreans refused to leave, demanding that the event’s organiser allow them to continue their buying spree. The dear leader’s love apparently wasn’t enough.

For a different perspective, read this post by Dr. Petrov.

Read the article here:
North Korea’s new rich
How the other 0.0000001% live
The Economist