Invest in North Korea? Foreign Visitors invited to attend Seminar on Investment in the Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang SEZ, and the 2017 Pyongyang International Trade Fair

PRESS RELEASE (2017-08-23)

PYONGYANG, North Korea (DPRK) – The second Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang Investment Seminar and trade fair program will take place September 22-26, 2017 in the Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang Special Economic Zone (SEZ). This is a unique opportunity to explore North Korea’s most dynamic investment area and tourism zone located on the beautiful east coast of the Korean peninsula and explore thousands of unique “Made in DPRK” products which will be on display at the 2017 Pyongyang International Trade Fair.

The biennial Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang Investment Seminar is hosted by DPRK’s Ministry of External Economic Affairs and the Wonsan Development Corporation and is open to the public to attend.

The investment seminar will focus on future and long-term trade and business opportunities in the Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang SEZ. Attendees will take part in investment focused seminars, interactive workshops, factory visits, and can meet face-to-face with government officials, local businessmen, entrepreneurs, and stakeholders.

Travel programs for foreign guests wanting to attend the seminar and trade fair can visit Paektu Cultural Exchange’s (PCE) website at www.paektuculturalexchange.org for more information.  5 and 7-day inclusive tour packages start at 1,190 Euro including transportation to and from China. The deadline to apply is September 15th, 2017.

PCE is a Canadian non-profit organization, supporting educational development programs for rural primary schools through the promotion of various business and cultural exchanges projects.

Coastline at sunset in the Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang Special Economic Zone, Mt. Kumgang, North Korea (PCE 2015)

Following the seminars in Wonsan and Mt. Kumgang, participants will return to the capital and attend the 13th annual 2017 Pyongyang International Trade Fair. Participants will also have the option to attend the Wonsan International Air Festival which will take place during the same weekend.

The investment seminar targets interested potential future investors but is open to all those interested in learning more about the current economic environment in North Korea. It is a unique opportunity for frontier investors interested in the country’s developing markets.

“When people think about foreign investment, North Korea is probably one of the last places you might think about, but as an emerging market there could be some amazing potential as the region’s geopolitical environment improves.” said Michael Spavor, Director of Paektu Cultural Exchange.

Article 12 of the United Nations Security Council sanctions resolution 2371, adopted on August 5th, 2017, prohibits “the opening of new ventures” or the expansion of existing joint ventures with DPRK entities or individuals. New joint ventures or cooperative entities now must apply for approval on a case-to-case basis with the Committee.

Recent UN sanctions have had a negative impact on trade and diminished the possibility for most countries to invest in North Korea. Direct investment currently might only be possible for a handful non-UN member countries such as Taiwan, Kosovo, Palestine and the Vatican City.

“We already have business people and academics from China, Southeast Asia, and a handful of Europeans signed up who are interested in learning first-hand about the current economic situation and the effects of international sanctions for research, or future and long-term investment prospects, when the political situation changes, of course.” said Spavor.

“There is a new administration in South Korea that seems poised on fostering inter-Korean dialogue and increasing exchanges in the hopes of making improvements in North-South relations. We hope these endeavors will lead to a reduction in political tensions and lift sanctions which would allow for more trade, investment and economic development,” said Spavor.

Guests will also attend the 13th annual Pyongyang International Trade Fair. The annual fair will take place at the Third Revolution Exhibition House in the Sosong District of Pyongyang. The Korean International Exhibition Corporation (KIEC) has been hosting the Pyongyang International Trade Fair since 1989 with the aim of boosting trade and multilateral cooperation with various regions around the world.

Toothpaste saleswoman and entrepreneurs proudly displaying their newest “MADE in DPRK” products at the 2017 Pyongyang International Spring Trade Fair, Pyongyang, North Korea (PCE 2017)

“This is an exclusive and unique opportunity where foreign visitors are allowed to mingle with local entrepreneurs and view new products, services and investment projects which are only available in the DPRK”, said Spavor.

Foreign participants can rent a booth at the fair to advertise and promote their products and services as well as buy “Made in DPRK” products on display by North Korean entrepreneurs. Past exhibitions have showcased a variety of products including domestically produced personal electronics, home appliances, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, clothing, food products and domestically made vehicles.

This is a rare occasion where local North Korean businessmen can interact with foreign investors, get feedback on their own products and help promote business collaboration and innovation. This is also where emerging North Korean companies and entrepreneurs can make their local and international debut to advertise and sell their “Made in DPRK” products and services.

Individuals interested in participating in the Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang Investment Seminar can contact Paektu Cultural Exchange (PCE) at contact@paektuculturalexchange.org or visit the PCE website at www.paektuculturalexchange.org. The deadline to sign up is September 15th, 2017.



About the Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang International Tourist Zone

Officially named the Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang International Tourist Zone (ITZ), the Zone was established on June 11, 2014, by North Korea’s Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA), and is officially supported by the DPRK Workers Party and the country’s leadership. It is part of a large-scale tourism belt that includes Wonsan district, the Masikryong Ski Resort and Ullim Falls, as well as the Sogwansa, Tongchon and Mt. Kumgang districts.

The developments of the ITZ are well aligned with the country’s vision. In the 2015 New Year’s address, leader Kim Jong Un asserted the need to actively develop foreign economic relations while advancing special economic zones throughout the country.

The first Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang Investment Seminar was held in May 2015 to promote the region’s new policies for economic development as well as the willingness of the DPRK government to receive foreign investment in this SEZ. Over a hundred foreign investors attended the 2015 seminar to learn about the business climate, while some signed contracts and have begun various investment projects in the Zone.

Earlier this year, the Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang Zone also called for foreign investment for a “restaurant street” that would serve traditional North Korean dishes.

A face-to-face meeting between foreign investors and DPRK officials and investment seeing entrepreneurs at the 1st Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang Investment Seminar held in 2015, Mt. Kumgang, North Korea (PCE 2015)

About the 2017 Pyongyang International Trade Fair

The Korean International Exhibition Corporation (KIEC) has been hosting the Pyongyang International Trade Fair since 1989 with the aim of boosting trade and multilateral cooperation with various regions around the world. KIEC oversees the introduction of new companies, products, markets, and investments, and offers consultation on trade and various joint-venture policies.

Since 2000, two trade fairs have been held annually in Pyongyang—one in spring and one in autumn. They promote not only friendly economic ties, but also scientific and cultural exchange with interested states and individuals. In addition to domestic companies, enterprises from around 16 countries (including Australia, Cambodia, China, Singapore, Germany, and Italy) have attended these past trade fairs.

Article 12 of the United Nations Security Council Sanctions Resolution 2371, August 5th, 2017

“Decides that States shall prohibit, by their nationals or in their territories,

the opening of new joint ventures or cooperative entities with DPRK entities or

individuals, or the expansion of existing joint ventures through additional

investments, whether or not acting for or on behalf of the government of the DPRK,

unless such joint ventures or cooperative entities have been approved by the Committee in advance on a case-by-case basis…”

Paektu Cultural Exchange is a non-profit organization facilitating sustainable cooperation through cross-cultural exchanges involving sport, tourism, business and trade with the DPRK.


Email: contact@paektuculturalexchange.org

Webpage: www.paektuculturalexchange.org

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Despite recent tensions, the DPRK remains to a safe place to travel. As with all of our projects and delegations, will make sure our guests are properly briefed before traveling to North Korea.

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