Market prices leap as China implements strengthened customs procedures

[As Heard in North Korea]
Lee Sang Yong  |  2017-06-13 18:04

"As Heard in North Korea" articles contain radio programming content broadcast by Unification Media Group [UMG], an independent multimedia consortium targeting North Korean citizens.


Commodity prices are rising significantly in North Koreas border regions, including North Hamgyong Province, Ryanggang Province, and North Pyongan Province, as China implements strengthened customs procedures. 

According to Daily NKs sources, the rice price has risen from 4,800 KPW to 5,200 KPW per kilo at Hoeryong Market in North Hamgyong Province. Similarly, 25 kg bags of flour have risen by 10 RMB to 13,000 KPW, while sugar (50 kg) has jumped by 50 RMB.
 
May and June mark an annual period of agricultural hardship in North Korea. To make matters worse, the farming season began a month late this year, sending the price of vegetables including cabbage and radish skyrocketing. Chinas recent efforts to restrict the quantity of imported items is further exacerbating the situation. 
 
"Most of the products that are normally imported through Chinese customs offices, including food and industrial goods, have become much more expensive. The price surge must have been influenced by China's stricter measures," a source in North Hamgyong Province said.
 
Until last April, Chinas customs offices generally waved through most items for export to North Korea including food, daily necessities, and clothes, with inspections little more than a formality. But in a sign of worsening relations between Beijing and Pyongyang, an increasing number of items are being placed on the restricted list.
 
"Due to China's implementation of stricter customs procedures, the volume of products coming into North Korea has fallen by half compared to the previous month (April). The period of spring poverty is a hard time for North Korean people in both the cities and rural areas, and China's actions are adding to their problems," added a source in North Pyongan Province.
 
"Some residents are criticizing the authorities [among themselves] saying things like, 'Only the innocent are suffering for the wrongdoings of the regime'. Some residents have even alluded to the Supreme Leaders (Kim Jong Un) role in ruining foreign relations, saying, 'It serves him right for criticizing China.'"

*Translated by Yejie Kim
*Edited by Lee Farrand

 
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2017.06.09
Won Pyongyang Sinuiju Hyesan
Exchange Rate 8,010 8,000 8,070
Rice Price 5,250 5,305 5,130