A couple of days ago, we had an interesting exchange in the comments that I want to make sure readers have an opportiunity to see:
Werner Koidl Says:
In that Asia Times report Dr. Petrov wrote:
“… Last year the Russian auto plant KamAZ opened its first assembly line in North Korea, specializing in the production of medium-size trucks named “Taebaeksan-96″. …”
I would be interested in more details about that KAMAZ truck assembly line in North Korea ! Where ?, joint venture ?, size ?
Leonid Petrov Says:
Concerning the “Taebaeksan 96″ truck assembling plant, the KamAZ set it up last year (2007 or Juche 96) in the town of Pyeongseong. The terms of this deal with NK were really “friendly” and last year KamAZ was having no or very little profit. The production volume last year was very limited (45 or 48 trucks). However, it’s just the beginning of such cooperation.
There is one technician-representative from KamAZ who manages the assembling process. He stays in Pot’onggang HTL and commutes to Pyeongseong. Many North Korean drivers and technicians seem to be technically ignorant (i.e. not knowing how to change the engine oil, etc.), so they need a new technological culture to be introduced. Russians train them well and the North Koreans are grateful.
Gag Halfrunt Says:
Now that explains the brochure for the Taebaeksan 96 I’d noticed on the Korean Friendship Association’s exports page. I was wondering how anyone could be making money from sticking badges on KamAZes and trying to sell them on. In any case, the export potential for the Taebaeksan 96 must be close to zero, since anyone outside the DPRK who wants a KamAZ can buy one assembled by KamAZ itself.
Trying to drum up interest in the DPRK as an investment destination, the KFA say, “All business made directly with the government, state-owned companies. No middle agents.” This is amusing, because, on the Pyeonghwa car brochure on the KFA website, they’ve sneakily deleted Pyeonghwa’s own contact details and replaced them with the KFA’s email and web addresses. I think this qualifies them a “middle agent” standing between Pyeonghwa and any potential export customers…
Werner Koidl Says:
The link “brochure for the Taebaeksan 96″ given by Gag Halfrunt seems to indicate that the KamAZ Taebaeksan-96 is assembled in a joint venture with Ryongwang [Ryongbong] Trading Company of North Korea. Ryongwang Trading is also the joint venture partner of Pyeonghwa Motors (Unification Church) to assemble the “Whiparam” in Nampo. And Ryongwang Trading company is also business partner of “Kohas” company from Switzerland. And because of its connections to Ryongwang this Swiss company got in troubles with the US administration.