Stall fees raised for market vendors

Daily NK has learned that the fees vendors pay for the right to sell goods varies depending on their goods and is now applicable to stall and street merchants alike. Home
appliances and industrial items carry the most expensive stall fee, according
to inside sources. This is because these products tend to be large, they sell
for a high price, and they have good profit margins.   

In a telephone conversation with the Daily
NK on the 6th, a source in Yanggang Province said, “The stall fees for market
traders are either 1500 KPW [0.18 USD], 1000 KPW [0.12 USD], or 500 KPW [0.06 USD] according to the size and
type of product. The fees for sellers on the street are based solely on the
type of product, since size is less of a factor for those outside the market.”

Daily NK crosschecked this news with an
additional source in the same province and a separate source in South Pyongan

She explained that the small stalls are
approximately 1.5 meters wide and are mainly used by food and fish vendors.
Medium-sized booths [1000 KPW] are good for sellers of rice, cigarettes, and
other household goods while the largest booths are 2.5 meters wide and home to
the appliance and industrial goods sellers; these set a given merchant back
1500 KPW.

“As the number of stalls in the marketplace
has increased, so have the profits for the authorities, who collect on the
fees. In the past, the stall fees were uniform for all sellers, but now the
regime has found a way to make more money by customizing the pricing model
according to the stall size and the product’s profit margin.”  

“Just a few years ago, there was very
little regulation of the market. In this lax environment, we saw large
increases in the number of market vendors and street sellers. Sellers could
move about freely between areas and markets to try to get the best price. Now
things are much stricter. To sell X, you first have to pay the fee to sell X.”

“Additionally, both market sellers and
street merchants have to pay a fee now. In the past, the fee was exclusively
for sellers in the marketplace, but now everyone has to fork over the cash in
order to get a badge or label authorizing them to sell that day. Inside the
marketplace, the market managers make the rounds at least once a day to make
sure everyone is abiding the rules,” she said.

“Now they also make rounds outside of the
market at least twice a day to make sure all those merchants are paying for the
right to sell. The fees for street merchants are 500 KPW for vegetables and
1000 KPW for light goods. The market managers aggressively police the area to
ensure that everyone has the appropriate credentials.”  

According to the source, the market traders are only checked once a day because
it is easier to track them down and verify that they’ve paid the stall fees.
Outside traders go all over the place to sell their goods, which is why the
market managers go out twice a day to check on them.