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Date : October 19, 2023
North Korea Initiates "Emergency Trade System" to Tackle Food Shortage Amidst Sanctions
   https://www.dailynk.com/english/north-koreas-trade-ministry-orders-est… [288]
North Korea Initiates "Emergency Trade System" to Tackle Food Shortage Amidst Sanctions

In a new development, North Korea’s Ministry of External Economic Relations has issued orders to establish an "emergency trade system" by the end of this year. According to anonymous sources, the directive came on October 2nd and is aimed at setting up a “safety net” for foreign currency transactions and payments with trading partners. This move comes as North Korea anticipates another year of falling short in agricultural output and faces the necessity to import large amounts of food, particularly from allied nations like China and Russia.

The emergency trade system is expected to facilitate grain imports at any given time by central government-affiliated trade enterprises. Until now, North Korean trade companies have relied on exporting goods to earn foreign currency for food imports or utilized domestic pools of dollars and yuan. The new system is geared to address the challenges that these enterprises have had in receiving payments due to international banking sanctions, even from politically friendly countries.

The Ministry's move acknowledges the limitations imposed by international sanctions that have effectively cut North Korea off from the global banking system. The directive calls for the significant expansion of North Korean-held foreign bank accounts, preferably under local aliases, to ensure reliable and convenient foreign currency transactions. This suggests an intent to circumvent international sanctions and secure more stable channels for foreign trade.

The ultimate goal of the emergency system appears to be resolving North Korea's chronic food shortage. Trade officials at Pyongyang Taehung Fur Trading Company and Yonghung Trade Company have already started internal directives, asking their overseas representatives to convince individuals in friendly nations to establish bank accounts in their names on behalf of North Korean companies. "This order ensures that trade enterprises can reliably import food to meet the government's demands, highlighting the urgency to address food scarcity," said the anonymous source.

[Source: Daily NK]