Information on Entry &
Here is some information concerning entry into and investment in the Rajin-Sonbong Free Economic and Trade Zone. The information is based on interviews with officials of the DPRK Committee for Promotion of External Economic Cooperation who recently visited Japan, as well as Korean resident businessmen in Japan and surveys by UN organizations including UNIDO.
You are not required to obtain a north Korean visa if you intend to visit the Rason Zone for a business purpose. All you need is an invitation issued by the CPEEC which will be mailed or faxed to you upon your request by phone or fax.
The main route to reach the Rajin Sonbong district is: Beijing-Yangji (or Dalian)Quanhe/Wonjong Border Bridge-Rajin Sonbong District (Chinese visa necessary). It takes about 2 hours from Beijing to Yangji or Dalian (by local airplane), 3 hours from Yangji or Dalian to Quanhe/Wonjong border bridge (by car) and 2 hours from the bridge to the Rajin Sonbong area (by car). However, a shuttle helicopter service is scheduled to open early next year between Yangji and Rajing.
When you arrive at the immigration office at Quanhe/Wonjong bridge which links China and the DPRK, you just show a copy of the invitation to clerks at the immigration office of the north Korean side, and you will be allowed to cross the border.
The invitation is valid only within the Rason territory. If you plan to go beyond the territory to reach the Capital City Pyongyang and other places, you need to apply for a north Korean visa in north Korean embassies prior to your visit.
Meanwhile, a Tokyo-based travel agency, Nanshin Kosan, offers a package tour to the Rajin Sonbong district (6 days and 5 nights, board,accommodation included)
The travel fee is 294,000 Japanese yen (about $2450) with the following itinerary: Tokyo-Beijing-Yangji-Rason area-Yangji-Beijing-Tokyo.
Now, the travel agency is researching a Tokyo-Yangji direct route which will mark down the fee to 200,000 Japanese yen (about $1667).
For further information, please contact Nanshin Kosan. Phone:3352-5556, Fax:3341-5587.
2. Who to Contact
The Committee for the Promotion of External Economic Cooperation of the DPRK
Ra-Son Economic Co-operation Company
Companies grouped under Ra-Son are operating in the following area:
1) food products (including sweats, liquors, soy sauce)
2) fish and seafood
4) daily necessities products (iron, paper and etc.)
Foreign Economic Co-operation Corporation
1) sponsoring of joint-venture projects
2) foreign investment promotion
3) overseas construction in metallurgy sector
4) training activities
5) organization of entrusted processing
Korea Joint Venture Group
Stimulates joint venture co-operation between state owned companies and foreign partners
Samgwang Trading Company
The following companies are affiliated with Samgwang Trading Company-
lighting equipment company-
medical equipment company-
electronic calculator company
Korea Machinery Trading Company
The main line of business consist of manufacturing and trading of all kinds of machinery and equipment.
Korea Daesong B Trading Corporation
Currently manufactures and exports various types of sweaters (made on 3Gauge, 5G, 7G, 10Gand 12 G flat knitting machines of total annual capacity 1.5 million pieces) and other garments of total annual capacity 0.5 million pieces. Sweaters and garments (T-shirts and sport wear)are made form acrylic, wool, angora, cotton as well as blended fibers.
Opalsam Trading Company
Major production lines of the company include a variety of building materials, furniture,timber and stone products and also traditional agriculture and herbal medicine products.
Korea Rungra 888 Trading Corporation
The major product lines include: foodstuff, beverage, cigarette, bags, alcohol and spirit,graphite, all kind of meat, eggs and vegetable products, electrolytic zinc ingot etc.
Korea Ponghwa General Corporation
A wide range of products including textiles and garments, shoes, knitwear, hand decorations,non-ferrous metals, natural and marine products, plastic products.
Pyongyang Aluminium Products Factory
Production programme includes different type of household and kitchen aluminium ware including pots, washbasins, washbowls, kettles, bowls, plates etc.
Korea Osoksan Trading Company
Major production lines
1) raw granite and trimmed stone
2) fish and seafood
3) agricultural produce
4) non-metal minerals
Light Industry Products Trading Company
Major production lines
1) ceramic ware, 17 million pieces per year (70 types)
2) bags, 8.5 million pieces per year (20 types)
4) daily necessities products (iron, paper and etc.)
Korea Samtaesong General Group
Korea Samtaesong General Group controls the following subsidiaries and service companies:kalinite mine,gallium factory, potassium fertilizers factory, potash alum factory and cement factory.
Korea Pyongchon Trading Corporation
1) locomotives, freight and passenger cars and their spare parts
2) railway station equipment, and signal equipment
3) technical assistance in electronic automation
4) construction services
5) CMT in garments and knitwear
6) other railway services
3. Natural and Geographical Conditions
The Rajin-Sonbong area lies on the west bank of the lower reaches of the DPRK between 4208'-38'N. And 130 07'-130 42'E.
The area is located at the central part of the northeast Asia and bounds upon China and Russia along the Tuman River. The total area of the Rajin-Sonbong zone is 746 square km.
The rationale behind setting this area as the Rajin-Sonbong zone is to live up to the expectations as may be harbored of any such zone, that is, to convert it into a center of free transportation and communication providing physical connection to the neighbouring countries as well as a base for export processing, tourism and other service industries.
The zone comprises 101 square km of agricultural land (13.5%), 508 square km of forest(68%), 97 square km of water area (13%) and 19 square km of industrial land (2.5%).
Residential land occupies 14 square km (2%) and the remaining 7 square km (1%) serves other purposes. Agricultural land and forest, combined together, account for an overwhelming proportion of over 80% of the total area.
Although the zone is mostly mountainous, there are no high hills or natural barries which may render it difficult to be connected with the inland, thus providing favorable conditions for development of highways and railways.
Of the whole area of the zone, about 230 square km have a gradient of less than 20%, which is thus available for development.
The annual mean temperature in the zone is +6.3 °C, the mean temperature in January, the coldest month, -8.8 °C and that in August, the hottest month, +20.9 °C. The daily mean temperature is over 5 °C for 205 days, over 10 °C for 156 days and under 0 °C for 121 days.
The annual average sunshine rate is 53%, with the highest such rate being manifested in July and the lowest in February.
The annual average precipitation is 770 mm, with the highest precipitation in June and July and the lowest in January and February. Precipitation in spring accounts for 20-25% of the total annual precipitation, in summer 5560%, in autumn 10-13% and in winter about 10% respectively.
The winds are northwesterly and southeasterly, its annual average velocity being 3.3 m/s. The zone records an average relative humidity of 70%.
In the zone, there are abundant building materials resources including 2 million square meter of timber, over 1.5 cubic meter of gravel, over 1.8 million cubic meters of gravel/sand mixture and 6.2 million cubic meter of sand.
The current population of the Rajin-Sonbong zone is approx. 139,000 with 106,000 peoplel iving in urban areas and 33,000 in the countryside. There are 63,000 inhabitants living in Rajin, 26,000 in Sonbong, 8,000 in Ungsang and 9,000in Tumangang.
4. Geographical and Economic Advantages
The Rajin-Sonbong area borders on Russia and China along the Ruman River, with neighboring Japan just across the sea. Therefore, the area offers the shortcut for land/sea transportation to and from, and the gateway to, these countries.
The Rajin-Sonbong area has the Rajin Port with an annual handling capacity of 3 million tons, the Sonbong Port of 2-3 million ton capacity and the Chongjin Port of 8 million-ton capacity. These ports enjoy deep water level and do not freeze in winter, which guarantees continued operation throughout the year.
The Rajin Port has development and operational advantages for being expanded to reach an annual handling capacity of 100 million tonnes without having to build a breakwater. There are railway and highway networks in the zone with the annual transit capacity of 12million tonnes.
Located as it is at the heart of the northeast Asia, the area can serve as a transportation hub connecting Japan, northeast China, Russia and Europe as well as a bridgehead of the continental bridge.
If cargoes are transported from Hunchun to Niigata, Japan, via Rajin-Sonbong, the distance will be shortened to one tenth and the time of transport to less than half of what would ber equired in the case of their carriage via Dalian.
If you transport cargoes from Japan to Europe via Rajin Port, the distance will be shortened by half and the time reduced by one third as against transpiration via the Atlantic Ocean.
Moreover, the Rajin-Sonbong area has as its hinterland the Far Eastern part of Russia and the3 northeastern provinces of China with rich natural resources and vast market, the unique merit unmatched for its being developed into an international center of entre at trade.
Labor is also plentiful in the Zone. The current working population there have all completed 11-year compulsory education courses and are honest and hard-working. The zone is also endowed with abundant tourist resources including beautiful seascape and lakes and over 20 islands/islets such as Pipha island, Taecho island and Socho island.
5. Living Conditions
Schools: There is no school set up in the zone for children of foreign investors and workers.But such a school may be built in accordance with developments in the situation.
Accommodation: There are eight hotels in the zone in operation. The accommodation fee per night ranges from $35 to $150. Meanwhile, the Rason authorities are promoting the construction of the World Trade Center which will provide low-rental-rate rooms for longterm foreign sojourners.
Foods: There are some restaurants which offer Korean, Chinese and western dishes.
Transportation: Taxi service is available. The taxi business is managed by a Japanese company.
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