News Analysis: Business opportunity grows in DPRK despite challenges [Xinhua]

By Yoo Seungki

SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) — Business opportunity in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is growing for potential foreign investors as the closed economy is pushing a new type of socialist economy through reform and opening despite challenges such as lack of information, communication tools and transparency, global DPRK experts said Wednesday at a forum held in central Seoul.

Top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un is known to have introduced a so- called “May 30 Measures” in May 2014 to grant more autonomy in managing factories and more incentives for farmers. South Korea’s Unification Ministry has said there is no clear evidence of such measures being adopted by DPRK.

Despite no official announcement from the DPRK, a few clues were found. Choson Sinbo, a pro-DPRK newspaper based in Japan, reported in January that the DPRK will “set up a collectivist system that can respond flexibly” and that “socialist enterprises will take the lead.”

The new socialist economy scheme is believed to be an extension of the so-called “June 28 Measures,” adopted in June 2012 and made known to outside world by Choson Sinbo. The new plan is estimated to scale down the size of farming work unit to a ” family size” of 4 to 6 people, which could be allowed to leave up to 60 percent of their production on their hands. It is higher than the previous 30 percent ceiling.

Companies could be given more leeway in management, paying workers a wage in accordance with performance and handling inputs and outputs in a freer way than before. Andrei Lankov, professor at Kookmin University, said in a Nov. 30 Al-Jazeera editorial that the May 30 Measures were “revolutionary” and that the DPRK seems to have decided to begin “Chinese-style reforms…”

Excerpted; full article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2015-01/28/c_133954121.htm

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