DPRK cabinet discusses 4th quarter projects as Chinese participation grows in the Pyongyang International Trade Fair

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
NK Brief No. 10-11-8-1

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.


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