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N. Pyongan Province ordered to establish joint ventures with foreign entities

The committee tasked with promoting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s “20×10 regional development policy” recently issued its first order, calling on North Pyongan Province to establish “joint ventures with foreign entities that focus on production.”

Speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons, a Daily NK source in North Korea said Friday that the order was issued to the North Pyongan Province People’s Committee. In the directive, the Non-Permanent Central Committee for Promoting Regional Development 20×10 Policy said it would place priority on approving “the establishment of joint ventures with foreign companies or individuals in all processes of shipbuilding, production, repair and parts production at Ryongampo Shipyard and Pukchung Machinery Complex if the province pushes for such ventures.”

Ryongampho Shipyard builds cargo ships, while Pukchung Machinery Complex manufactures diesel engines, refrigeration equipment, and other products. In essence, the committee urged the province to select a few viable companies for joint ventures or investment promotion.

“[The authorities] stipulate that the companies take the form of joint investment companies so that the foreign companies don’t completely control them,” the source said. “The idea must be to achieve ‘targets’ by normalizing production in existing companies through outside investment.

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“[The order] also calls for reviving the North Pyongan Province region while developing the nation’s shipbuilding industry and creating high production capacity,” he said. “Both North Pyongan Province and the central government will lend a hand to revitalize the two companies.”

In fact, the committee said it would use the efforts in North Pyongan Province to amend several domestic regulations that restrict the growth of trade or production by joint ventures and foreign-invested enterprises. In particular, the committee even said it was drafting the legal basis and administrative rules to grant 30-year exemptions to the regulations.

Challenges ahead for attracting foreign investment

Despite the central government’s helping hand, officials on the ground are worried. Given that the head of the committee, Jo Yong Won, is the powerful secretary for Organizational Affairs of the Workers’ Party of Korea’s Central Committee, officials could be charged with “negligence” and branded as “reactionary elements” for the slightest slip-up.

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Finding foreign investors is also likely to prove difficult. This is because many Chinese businesspeople have turned away from trading with North Korea due to the country’s long, self-imposed border closure that began with the spread of COVID-19.

The source said officials believe that the provincial party’s policies will be evaluated based on efforts to establish joint ventures and attract investment to the Ryongampo Shipyard and Pukchung Machinery Complex, and that “officials are pulling their hair out over trade and joint venture issues.”

The source added that the committee has ordered provincial authorities to draw up plans to build new factories to support the production activities of various regional industries, light industry, and agriculture.

The “20×10 regional development policy” calls for improving people’s material well-being by building 20 modern factories in rural areas each year for the next 10 years. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un himself proposed the policy during a recent expanded meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee. The policy has been dubbed a “new Kim Jong Un style regional development policy.”

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Translated by David Black. Edited by Robert Lauler.

Daily NK works with a network of sources living in North Korea, China, and elsewhere. Their identities remain anonymous for security reasons. For more information about Daily NK’s network of reporting partners and information-gathering activities, please visit our FAQ page here.

Please send any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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The post N. Pyongan Province ordered to establish joint ventures with foreign entities appeared first on Daily NK English.

February 05, 2024 at 07:20AM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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