travels to the north of China to
Liaoning Province and the commercial
region of the DPRK.
Specifically, we are active in the
Dandong region which is the main
city bordering on North Korea.
This allows us a close up view and
quick jaunts into the Worker's
paradise. Our friends at
the Liaoning Import Export
Corporation conduct around 90
percent of their business with the
North, and trade food, for steel.
They operate duty free stores and
restaurants in the capital city and
even sell automobiles to VIP
communist leaders. Here are
just a few images from the frontier.
Give Tom a call if you want to learn
more about what is really going on
in North Korea. email@example.com
(Although we are not allowed to do
anything, there, we certainly know
people who are!) Until last week!
The doors are now open, and we will
be presenting information on doing
business with the Hermit Kingdom!
& Leader Junior!
panicked when I spilled a beer on
this propaganda place mat! Here
Great leader and Benevolent Leader
share the spotlight in a mural
commemorating the 80th birthday of
Kim Il Sung. Tom toured the
border region of the People's
republic of Korea (DPRK) and the
neighboring city of Dandong where he
has business relations with the
Liaoning Province Import Export
with the DPRK
Korean businessmen cross the border
for 1 hour visits to the border city
of Dandong. They load up with
food supplies, head for the Korean
stores on the square near the Yalu
River Bridge and buy cigarettes and
booze and head back. Many are
Chinese who were born on the wrong
side of the river and were trapped
after the war. Now, they are
the merchant class of this nation
and someday will make it rich.
Few return to China as they are
Years later! 45
Years later! What's wrong with this
picture? The Yalu River Bridge
at dawn which connects Dandong with
North Korea. Note the long
last step! The Korean end of
the bridge was bombed heavily during
the war. I was shown a bridge
further to the North which recently
collapsed after too much metal was
taken by scavengers. The
Korean War museum describes the
conflict as a patriotic last stand
by the North Koreans against the
Yankee Imperialists. The
museum includes an entire section on
North Korean War Aces, and also
deserting prisoners of war which
were said to opt for the good life
in the worker's paradise.
Today traffic runs one way on the
remaining bridge over the Yellow.
It also includes a train track down
the middle so it is a tight
fit! Tom was kindly
deported from North Korea by
soldiers who didn't like the way he
and answers from a non
governmental or bureaucratic Source.
15 years ago, TJP started
work in East Germany, then Romania
and down the list of the forbidden
countries. What I learned is
that if you want to do business you
need to throw out the books on
international marketing, don't deal
with acronym companies, and forget
about big deals! Here are some
tips for doing business in the DPRK:
is the business climate like?
Right now, most business in DPRK
is government controlled in
state trading companies,
businesses or by the Armed
Forces who are a substantial
business interest involved in
just about everything. At
first glance you will believe
that all business is locked up
between these large monopolies
and a select group of
who are allowed to deal in the
DPRK. You can imagine that
these are mainly Chinese
companies like my friends in
Dandong, Japanese companies and
a select group of Scandinavian
and Eastern and a few Western
European companies. these
companies have bought their way
into the system, give great
concessions and are all banking
on things getting better.
the North Koreans Pay their
Like the other communist partner
companies, they learned a lot of
bad habits. In short, No.
Everyone who deals with North
Korea is owed a tremendous
amount of money. You
must have a person in country to
collect and grease the skids.
North Koreans change the terms
of contracts, ignore agreements.
They feel you are privileged to
deal in their country and take
what they give.
there small business
One of the concessions given to
the outside companies is that
they have been able to develop
projects which can bring in
revenue. For example, the
Dandong group runs hotels,
restaurants, snack bars and even
a bowling alley with karaoke of
course. If you travel to
the larger cities you will stay
in a foreign hotel or eat at
their restaurant and pay
exorbitant high prices!
That is the system! One
nice concession and opportunity
is in the hard currency or duty
free stores at hotels.
Foreign companies are bringing
in luxury goods such as
cosmetics, liquor and other
items including American goods
for use in the stores.
Although they are intended for
visitors with cash, I am certain
that these goods are trickling
into the population, and will do
more and more in the future.
there private businesses
operating in the DPRK?
You must look very close.
I have heard of small fruit
sellers and a lot of intra
village trade which is
overlooked. But, at this
time the high profile operations
are all state owned or state
controlled ventures. But,
I do know of a number of small
traders operating on the border
regions, who are mainly
Chinese. These guys
were trapped on the wrong side
of the war and stayed.
They have the ability to cross
the border in trucks and pick up
goods to bring to the other
side. I believe they
work in tandem with relatives on
the Chinese side. Although
this is small business, this is
business. I believe
that real business will develop
with private business in the
DPRK and this is the first spark
of life! (I would not
waste time dealing with the
about all of the aid
I wonder about these groups.
I read about a big project, to
give wheat and then I read that
they were delivering a few truck
loads. At the same time,
trainloads of grains and seeds
are at the Chinese border moving
across. They need
everything now, but there must
be a reason why they will allow
and perpetuate. For South
Korean companies to send rice
this is a nice gesture, but a
defeat for the North Koreans.
I have always felt that the
country can be fed with
legitimate imports of goods from
neighboring countries in
significant and meaningful
amounts. Also, there are
enough wheat seed supplies and
agricultural specialists in
China who could come in and kick
start the economy. If
anything these aid organizations
can shame the government into
doing something. But, I
also think this is just a band
can a foreigner source in the
Chinese companies buy cement,
sand and gravel, steel, silk and
chemicals heavy industrial
items. For consumer goods,
the North Koreans have very good
pickled cabbage and traditional
Korean foods, and liquors.
I have also heard they have a
do the North Koreans Need?
On a large scale, they need just
about everything. But, on
a small scale, there are
lots of micro opportunities.
for example, over the past few
decades, they have imported used
Japanese and even American
automobiles from China.
They love Cadillac's.
They are in great need of auto
parts, and especially
windshields for certain models.
They want consumer goods in
small packs like raisins,
almonds, peanuts, cookies,
crackers and chocolates.
All of the items which are sold
in the hotel shops are in or
will be in demand in the future,
especially when and if the
political system changes.
the political climate change?
The school students in North
Korea are taught a number of
songs, dances, and hand
gestures, just like our students
in church schools in the USA.
The North Korean students learn
two salutes: defend with the
raised fist, and defend with the
cocked back fist. They
still have the belief that they
are the last place on earth
which has not sold out to
capitalism. They watch
television shows such as
"Cops" and other
American parades of murders and
crime and they are reinforced
that they are lucky to be in
North Korea. I know dozens
of foreigners who spend weeks
out of each month in North
Korea, and always ask the same
question: Will there be
peace, will there be a status
quo or will there be an attack.
they'll respond: Attack without
a hesitation! I believe
that things will settle down
with each day, as long as they
don't do something very stupid.
and, they do have a history of
doing stupid things!
does a westerner survive there?
You go with the flow.
Bring some of you r own food,
pack your sense of humor and
keep your jokes to your self.
Do not joke about Great Leader
or Dear Leader no matter how
tempting it may get. Do
not spill a beer on a great
leader place mat like I
did! Do a lot of
listening and do not talk
politics, or religion. I
have found a safe topic which
everyone is interested and
when the Dear leader is not
hitting holes in one on the golf
course or writing his voluminous
books of wisdom, he keeping
abreast of the WWF and WCW.
I heard that they even had a
world congress on professional
wrestling at one time. It
is a nice way to break the ice
to ask about their feelings for
the Undertaker, or Jake the
Snake. But, really, you
must be very careful to stay out
of trouble. Know that you
are always being watched or
approaching you to talk is
either crazy or else a secret
police agent. Your phone
and hotel room will be
monitored. Your bags
will be searched going in and
out of the country. A few
simple precautions: Keep
receipts handy for everything
you buy (otherwise you are open
to be accused of stealing or
black market money transactions)
Go along with he stupid
conversions. Always go
along with a guide for now who
you can trust. Otherwise
you can be led to the wrong
place. Always check your
belongings before you leave to
ensure that nothing is planted
for inspection at the airport!
you access the internet from
Not officially, but some do dial
over to the China net in Dandong
and Dalian and Shenyang.