January 19, 2010 11:50
North Korea will close down all general open-air markets in major cities and permit only farmers markets by a strict definition of the term, which will open every 10 days, an activist group reported last week.
"The North Korean Cabinet has told agencies under each ministry and provincial and municipal chapters of the Workers Party that it will replace urban marketplaces with farmers markets that will open every 10 days starting Jan. 14," the Group Good Friends said in a newsletter. "The cabinet also released market operating rules and a list of items that can be sold, adding that market traders will be permitted to sell only agricultural produce and indigenous local products but not Chinese goods or domestically produced industrial products."
Large markets began sprouting in the North in 2004, increasing to an estimated 300 by 2007. North Korean authorities decided to crack down on black-market traders who move around all the time to dodge the authorities, and back-alley deals for fear that the practices would run rampant if unchecked, it said.
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