The First Border Market in front of the Huiryeong Customs Office

[imText1]A border market is to be established for the first time in North Korean history at a border city of Huiryeong, a North Korea city right across the Tuman River from China.

Currently there is a construction underway in the lot size of a soccer stadium (about 90m across and 50m perpendicular length) in front of the Huiryeong Customs Office, and six buildings are to be built. (picture)

It is said that the border market, planned to open in October, will be managed in a completely different manner from any other markets in North Korea. One of the most distinctive characteristics of this “border market” is that it allows parceling (of lots or renting out stalls) to Chinese sellers too, and it guarantees free pass of the border for the Chinese sellers who return to China with the goods they buy in North Korea.

According to sources, the border market is a permanent market that will open early in the morning and close late at night. The purpose of building the market in front of the Huiryeong Customs Office, which is located far from the downtown Huiryeong city, is to induce Chinese sellers.

Killing Two Birds with One Stone : Increase of Revenue and Control of Foreign Goods

Han Duk Chul, whom The DailyNK met on September 11, said, “Aiming for opening in October, basic construction is underway now. Once completed, I heard that the parceling will be also given to Chinese sellers as well. There will be Market Management Office at the entrance of the market and there will be more than 300 stalls.”

It is presumed that there are two reasons why the North Korean government adopted a new thing called “border market.”

“With the success of Sunam Market that was built in Chongjin of North Hamkyung province last year, the state started to build state-owned markets in each city and -gun (county). With the full activation of such permanent markets, dissatisfaction of the people decrease and the state was able to collect more tax. It was killing two birds with one stone. The state is interested in Chinese sellers. There are many Chinese sellers desire to earn money in North Korea, so the state is planning to provide the place and collect tax from them.
Furthermore, the border market is also interpreted as the government’s intention to control the kind and size of the Chinese products coming into North Korea.

According to Mr. Choi, a Chinese tradesman of Korean descendent, “the government of North Korea is deeply troubled about the common people discovering about how advanced South Korea or Japan is through the goods taken into North Korea by individual sellers or smugglers.”

“With the success of the border market, it will become a retail market for basic daily supplies coming into North Korea and the government will start a strict controlling of the sellers or smugglers coming in and out of China,” said Choi.

Presently, Chinese people can obtain a year-pass (visa) for business purpose with 2,500 Yuan(about $330) and with 100Yuan(about $13), they can obtain a one-time pass for visit to relatives in North Korea, regardless of the kind of passport they have.

Huiryeong Market will Move to Huiryeong Boy’s Middle School

Meanwhile, the Huireyeong Market currently located in Manghyang-dong of Huiryeong City is known to be preparing to move to Huiryeong Boy’s Middle School. According to Kim Sul Hwa, a North Korean defectors from Huiryeong whom the The DailyNK met on September 10 in said, “Huiryeong Market located in Manghyang-dong is to be moved to Huiryeong Boy’s Middle School because of inconvenient location for transportation and its small size.”

“These days, people do not have children as many as before, and the number of children decreased so in the process of combining some of the schools, they closed down Huiryeong Boy’s Middle School. They are going to make a market out of the closed school, but putting stalls in and out of the building,” explained Kim.

“Upon their moving of the Huiryeong Market, they are going to increase tax for the sellers and the rent of the stalls. Since all the state is trying to do is extract more money from the people, the people have harder time making a living as the days go by,” added Kim.

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