Mar. 5 – The latest issue of DPRK Business Monthly is now available for complimentary download. The regular magazine looks at current international, domestic, and peninsular affairs concerning North Korea while also offering commentary and tourism information on the country.
In recent international news, North Korea has amended its law on foreign-funded banks. According to KCNA, the law, in 32 articles in five chapters, deals with classification, residence, property rights and independent management of foreign-funded banks.
The law stipulates that foreign-funded banks aiming at ten or more years of banking activities in the DPRK shall be exempted from paying income tax on their first-year profits. It also provides that business taxes shall not be levied on the interest receipts from loans that were credited to local banks and businesses in their favor.
In other international news, Korea Pyongyang Trading USA, a New York-based liquor importer, is working on a plan to attract travelers to the Mount Kumgang (Diamond Mountain) resort on the east coast of North Korea.
The resort, opened in 1998 by the two Koreas as a symbol of hope for reunification, has been closed to South Koreans by the Seoul government since 2008, when a South Korean tourist was shot dead in a restricted area.
“We’re doing this with hopes that resuming tours to Kumgang could help open North Korea up, and thereby help reunite the Korean peninsula,” Simon T. Bai, 67, director of marketing and planning for the company, told Bloomberg News.
In other Asia-related news, about 10,000 tons of fruit are exported every year to North Korea via the Chinese city of Dandong in Liaoning Province, which borders the North at the estuary of the Yalu River.
An informed source in Dandong told The Daily NK: “About 10,000 tons of fruit were exported to North Korea via Dandong Marine Center last year,” adding, “This was worth 100 million yuan (US$16 million).”
Shipments to North Korea have grown about 15 percent per year on average over the past five years, the source said.
Also relating to North Korean-Chinese relations, China has secured the exclusive right to develop and utilize docks 4, 5 and 6 at North Korea’s Rason for 50 years, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.
China will also build an airfield and a thermoelectric power plant in the Rason Special Economic Zone (SEZ), along with a 55-kilometer railway line from Tumen in China’s Jilin Province to Rason. North Korea’s Joint Ventures Committee and the Chinese government agreed on the contract, worth US$3 billion, at the end of last year, according to the report.
In Inter-Korean news, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering will be the first South Korean company to advance into a new special economic district in North Korea, according to the Dong-A Ilbo.
The Hwanggeumpyong district, located in Sindo County, North Pyongan Province, is a project that North Korea and China are seeking to jointly develop. Daewoo’s investment will likely become the first in the North by a South Korean company since the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in December 2011.
Also included in this month’s issue is an essay by Randall Ireson on how agriculture could lead a revival of the DPRK economy if appropriate policy changes were implemented.
To read further about these topics, and much more, please download the complimentary DPRK Business Monthly PDF on the Asia Briefing Bookstore.
DPRK Business Monthly is produced by North Korea expert Paul White.