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Labor Reserves

Prospects for cooperation between Russia and the DPRK

Labor Reserves

The Korean People's Democratic Republic (DPRK) is not Russia's largest trading partner, but the countries have good potential for developing foreign economic relations - for example, in the field of transport and the exchange of labor resources.

According to the data of the Far Eastern Administration of the Federal Customs Service of Russia, the volume of foreign trade turnover of the Far Eastern constituent entities of the Russian Federation with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 2013 reached $ 24,5 million, an increase of 61% compared to 2012 in the year. The balance of trade was positive in the amount of $ 20,7 mln.

According to the press service of the Ministry of Regional Development of Russia, the following regions of the Far East carried out trade and economic cooperation with the DPRK in 2013:

1. Primorsky Territory - $ 23 million;

2. Amur Region - $ 641,3 thousand;

3. The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) - $ 484,2 thousand;

4. Khabarovsk Territory - $ 93,1 thousand;

5. Sakhalin region - $ 11 th.

Trade of the Khabarovsk Territory with the DPRK is uneven. In 2012, the commodity turnover between the countries reached $ 745 thousand, and in 2011 - $ 2716 thousand. Exports to the DPRK in 2013 were represented by petroleum products (45% of total exports) and machinery products (55%); Import - products from ferrous metals. In the province there are 15 enterprises with DPRK investments (2,1% of the total number of companies with foreign investments), including 6 enterprises with 100% capital of the DPRK.

“The main profile of the enterprises is construction, logging, trade and attraction of foreign labor from the DPRK. The representative office of the Main Directorate of the Forest Industry "Wondon Rimob" of the Ministry of Forestry Industry of the DPRK continues to work in the region, - Alexander Pilenko, Deputy Head of the Department for Foreign Economic Cooperation and Investments of the Government of the Khabarovsk Territory, told - The representative office attracts citizens of the DPRK to carry out work mainly at enterprises of the forest and construction complex of the region, and also maintains contacts with regional enterprises and authorities to resolve issues of using the North Korean labor force ».

Now an agreement is being prepared between the Khabarovsk Krai Government and the Ministry of Foreign Trade of the DPRK on trade, economic and humanitarian cooperation and a plan of measures for its implementation for the period of 2014 - 2018. The agreement reflects the trade and economic sector, agriculture, culture, tourism, health and youth policy. In 2014, it is planned to attract more than two thousand DPRK citizens to work on the territory of the region.

The total foreign trade turnover of Yakutia with the DPRK in 2013 was $ 484,2 thousand. This region exported coal to the DPRK in 2013. According to in the Ministry of Federal Relations and External Relations of the Republic of Sakha, the region and the DPRK do not have joint ongoing projects, as well as joint ventures. The ministry proposes to promote Yakut goods to the DPRK market and develop foreign trade, mutually provide information on investment activities, intensify cooperation in the humanitarian sphere (education, culture, science, sports), participate in joint school competitions.

According to the Ministry of Regional Development, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and the Omsk Region are ready for active cooperation with the DPRK in the sphere of science and culture. The said subjects of the Russian Federation believe that it is possible to produce in the future an exchange of teachers and students.

Kamchatka region is interested in establishing international relations with the DPRK in the field of supply of finished food products, implementation of joint projects in the bioresource complex, construction, attraction of Korean labor.

At the time of publication of this publication, the government of the Amur Region did not respond to a request from the correspondent for trade and economic relations with the DPRK. A month ago, an agreement on trade and economic cooperation between the DPRK and the Amur Region in the field of agriculture, logging and construction was signed in Pyongyang. Then the Russian delegation donated 50 units of fire equipment to the DPRK.

North Korea is interested in the development of tourist routes in its country. At a meeting held in November 2013, representatives of Russia noted that with the availability of service and affordability it is possible to work out issues with the organization of tourist Russian groups from Primorye. Also in September 2013 the reconstruction of the railway section of Hasan (Primorye) - Rajin (DPRK) was completed. According to the Ministry of Regional Development, within the framework of the project, a railway section was reconstructed in 54 km from the state border of the Russian Federation to the port of Rajin, a cargo terminal in Rajin was built. The Primorsky Krai Government notes the opportunities for cooperation in the fields of education, economy, tourism and culture.

At the Consulate General of the DPRK in the Far East (Nakhodka), the request of correspondent was ignored.

According to the Ministry of Regional Development, the DPRK mainly exports wood and wood products; charcoal, coal; rubber and articles thereof; electrical machinery and equipment; black metals; oil products; rubber; ground vehicles; optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, control, precision, medical or surgical instruments and devices; pharmaceutical products; food products.

North Korea imports in the following areas: plastic and plastic products; ferrous metal products; copper; nuclear reactors, boilers; electrical machinery and equipment; industrial equipment; transportation services; paper and cardboard; products of inorganic chemistry; precious and rare earth metals; radioactive elements or isotopes; rubber, rubber and products from it.

"There are projects that South Korea would like to implement together with South Korea and for which North Korea is territorially needed. This is mainly the supply of electricity and transport communications. Now the section of the railway Rajin-Hasan is already operating, "said Igor Melamed, the head of the International Center for Regional Development. - You can use this area as a transport hub on the basis of Trinity Bay (south of Primorye) and the transport corridor "Primorye - 2". This would be of great interest to South Korea, the DPRK and China. Here it would be possible to organize a container flow between Russia and the northeastern provinces of China through the territory of Primorsky Krai, including Japan and, perhaps, even the United States. "

According to the expert, of interest is the creation of a free international economic zone, like the one that exists between South Korea and the DPRK. But without training such serious projects it is difficult to discuss. “In the DPRK, many facilities built by the Soviet Union are still in operation, and they would have to be reconstructed, modernized, this is a key issue for the development of North Korea. Now, when the DPRK’s Soviet debts to Russia have been reconstructed, there is such a possibility, and this option to intensify relations is quite possible, ”I. Melamed believes.

The main opportunity for cooperation is in the labor potential of the DPRK, the expert believes.

"A lot of people come to North Korea from Russia to Russia. Citizens of the DPRK are working on fish processing, coal mines, and the difficulty is that these workers are very low in education and the most ordinary qualifications. There are almost no specialists among them. Therefore, they can be used for logging, coal mining, fish processing, agriculture, in general, in simple jobs, - explained I. Melamed. - It is necessary to organize special training of the workforce from North Korea to work in Russia. This is of great interest, since the labor cadres of the Russian Far East are limited, and the labor resources of the DPRK are free, and very cheap and the closest to the climatic Russian conditions, they do not need to adapt to work here. "

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