Tumbleweeds Blow Though N.Korea-China Border Trade Zone

  • By Lee Kil-seong

    December 06, 2016 12:58

    A duty-free trade zone operated jointly by North Korea and China in the border town of Dandong lies deserted amid tightened international sanctions against Pyongyang, China's official Global Times reported Monday. More than 70 percent of China-North Korea trade goes through Dandong.

    According to the daily, trading businesses that opened in the free trade zone are either closed or empty.

    China's Liaoning Province invested 1 billion yuan into setting up the 24,000 sq.m zone that opened in October last year. Chinese and North Koreans living within 20 km of the zone can take advantage of duty-free benefits.

    A North Korean cargo ship anchors by the Yalu River in the Chinese border city of Dandong on April 10, 2016. /Newsis

    One staffer in a shop told the paper that the trade zone failed to prosper and "business is at a low ebb" due to the sanctions.

    New UN Security Council sanctions adopted last week cap coal exports from the North at 7.5 million tons a year or some US$400 million in money terms starting in 2017.

    But others say the sanctions are not to blame and the zone was always a bad idea. The long distance from the border checkpoint means few North Korean shoppers can get there, and North Korea's crackdown on private business prevented many traders from the North from setting up shop in the first place.

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