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Last updated : Nov 2009
Korea North Business
Korea North Business Overview - TravelPuppy.com

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has a Soviet-style command economy based around heavy industry. In addition the country has rich mineral deposits, which include most of the main base metals, as well as tungsten, silverand gold. Development resources have slowly changed to light industry and latterly concentrated on automation and modernisation since the main industrial infrastructure was developed during the 1950s.

Commerce is conducted with the Russian Federation, China and Japan, where a wide range of joint industrial enterprises have been set up. These measures have only partly compensated, for the stern loss of commerce with the former Soviet Union, which hastened Korea (Dem Rep)’s economic decline during the 1990s. Estimated at 4% per year, this contraction has been compounded by a series of extremely severe floods. It is obvious that people in North Korea have currently suffered from serious shortages and, in some areas, starvation, even though most evidence has little information and in the absence of complete official details.

The people in North Korea have not taken political or economic reforms on the scale seen in China, Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation. China is probably the most model; however, so far Korea (Dem Rep) has gone no further than devaluing the won (a mostly artificial measure since the won is not convertible) and cutting the financial support on some fundamental goods. Pyongyang has pinned its hopes on a progress of relations with the South. There is approximately 300 million of commerce between the 2 countries, conducted at present through go-between's. During August 2003, an economic and trade agreement was signed under which South Korean companies manufacture goods and products in the North where labour costs are lower. A main difficulty is political as Washington is still antagonistic towards Korea (Dem Rep)’s nuclear ambitions.

Business Etiquette

Business Suits are generally required. Business transactions will widely take place outside the office, normally during the evening, since visitors are not allowed to go into offices.

Commercial Information

The following organisation can provide advice:

The DPRK Committee for the Promotion of External Economic Cooperation,
Central District,

Telephone number: (2) 381 6163
Fax number: (2) 381 4498).