DPRK promoting more cabinet involvement in economic affairs

According to Yonhap (via Global Post):

North Korea revised its trade and customs laws last year to give its cabinet more power over the economy, a copy of the revised laws showed Monday.

The booklet on North Korea laws concerning external economic activities, secured by Yonhap News Agency, showed that the country revised its trade laws in April last year, a first since the previous revision in March 2007.

The revision newly requires trade institutions and other sub-trade groups to have their monthly plans reviewed and approved by the central trade supervision agency, according to the copy of the booklet.

The country’s customs law, also revised in April 2012, indicate that the government has increased its supervision of the customs sector compared with 2007 when the corresponding law was last modified.

The government is also said to be seeking to foster customs specialists and establish an ad hoc committee to review customs affairs.

Analysts said the latest law change suggests that the cabinet’s role in the economic sector has been enhanced compared to the military, which is known to have exerted a strong hold over state affairs reflecting late leader Kim Jong-il’s military-first ideology.

The timing of the revision coincides with incumbent leader Kim Jong-un’s emphasis on the importance of the cabinet in leading national policies. Kim Jong-un took power after the sudden death of his father in late 2011.

“North Korea’s trimming of the trade and customs laws indicates its intention to fasten up the central (government’s) previously loose supervision of trade and customs affairs,” said Im Eul-chul, a research professor of Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University. “It is also related with strengthening the role of the cabinet in the economic sector.”

The monthly management of trade performance, envisioned in the revision, reflects the leader’s plan to boost the trade sector as a means of earning more foreign currency, local experts also said. The military’s and the governing Workers’ Party of Korea’s tight hold on economic affairs are widely believed to have posed obstacles in the country’s economic performance.

The booklet, meanwhile, showed that the country rewrote its immigration law last April, doing away with the clause requiring state permission for foreign travelers wanting to travel outside of the capital of Pyongyang. Such a move could allow more freedom of movement by foreign tourists inside the communist country.

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NK trade-cabinet
Yonhap (Via Global Post)


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