North Korea: cement firms to be assessed

North Korea: cement firms to be assessed
03 November 2016

The North Korean authorities have told cement trading companies that the volume of support they provide for flood recovery efforts in North Hamgyong province wil be assessed. The assessments will take place during a review of the “200-Day Battle” at the end of this year, claims Daily NK.

"The information is expected to increase the burden on these companies, as they are already under strain trying to provide materials for the construction of Ryomyong Street," a source in South Pyongan province told Daily NK.

The informant further explained that in their efforts to increase the quantity of materials provided for flood recovery, these trading companies are now focussing on importing cement from China, as domestic cement production is insufficient.

"Chinese cement has been continuously imported for years due to the demand from private estate builders, but most of the recently imported cement is being sent to the flood recovery sites from Sinuiju," an additional source in North Pyongan province noted.

"The trading companies are purchasing cement at local Chinese markets and sending them to North Korea on 30t trucks every day. The cement is purchased at CNY325-375/t (US$48-55.40) and then donated to the flood restoration efforts for free."

Domestically-produced cement, one of the most essential materials for large-scale construction, is mostly sourced from Sunchon Cement Complex in South Pyongan province and Sangwon Cement Factory in Pyongyang. North Korea has also been exporting cement, taking advantage of its abundant limestone resources.

With the regime's emphasis on large-scale construction projects, imports of Chinese cement are said to have been increasing. According to the source, there is a strong tendency to prefer foreign cement over the domestic kind due to quality issues.

The regime is focussing on housing restoration by mobilising trading companies. This method of accomplishing goals (that will later be attributed to the leader's achievements) via the imposition of loyalty assignments was also used by former North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.

"The trading companies are eager to curry favour with the higher authorities in order to receive the new trade permission quotas for next year. The authorities, well aware of this situation, are using it as a tool to collect materials for flood recovery, which will be used as propaganda glorifying the regime's achievements."

Published under Cement News