North Korea plans to restrict foreign exchange on open market

Caijing (Chinese Finance Magazine)
Translated by Bert Acosta

A Chinese reporter from the Chinese state media outlet Xinhua saw a government public notice posted on the entryway to a market stating that beginning January 1, 2010, North Korea will prohibit the circulation of foreign currencies on the open market.

Issued by the DPRK’s Public Safety Bureau, these regulations will apply to official state administrations, enterprises, social organizations (such as the military and special organizations), citizens, and foreigners. After these rules come into effect, citizens of the DPRK will not be permitted to use the Dollar, Euro, and other foreign currencies in stores and restaurants. Foreigners bringing these currencies into the DPRK must exchange them for Wan – even at the airport and international hotels.  The various exchange and transportation fees of the past will also change to a Won-centric system.

The notice also states that, in accordance with government authority, related institutions will adopt steps to establish a strict national monetary circulation system. The foreign exchange needs of all organizations will be guaranteed by state planning, and all related banks will be required to established foreign currency and Won exchange programs to responsibly undertake the task of exchange.

Furthermore, the notice stated that organizations found violating exchange regulations will be ordered to cease operational activities or be disbanded – with the government confiscating its trade capital and other resources. Regarding products purchased with foreign currencies, black market trading, usury loans, broker activities, bribery, illegal currency exchange, and other illegal actions, violators will be prosecuted in conformity with legal provisions.

This is North Korea’s first economic management measure since revaluing the Won on November 30th, 2009.  Since revaluing its currency, North Korea has not announced an official exchange rate.


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