Daily NK sources said the trading companies are at the stage of identifying what items need to be smuggled into the country. The trading companies reportedly plan to send teams to China this week or the next to create a list of items they can acquire in the country.
Generally, military or Cabinet-run trading companies focus on importing construction materials for large national projects along with military supplies and luxury items for the country’s elite.
Daily NK sources suggest that most of these companies are now focusing on securing supplies for the Pyongyang General Hospital project, which broke ground recently and is set to be completed by Oct. 10.
North Korean trading companies will have a difficult time acquiring the materials they need from the Chinese, according to Daily NK sources in China.
“Not all factories, stores and logistics companies have returned to normal operations because of COVID-19,” one source told Daily NK. “It’s not clear whether the trading company teams will be able to acquire what they need here.”
Daily NK sources speculate that North Korean trading companies will first find out what items they can acquire from Chinese traders and then begin smuggling operations from the end of March.
Multiple Daily NK sources have also speculated that Sino-North Korean trade will resume immediately before or after Apr. 15, Kim Il Sung’s birthday.
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