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North Korea Changing its Economic Model

Posted: Aug 09, 2012

Pyongyang reportedly laid out new economic measures that change its state-supervised distribution system and then gave official explanations about the changes to the public in an apparent shift toward a market economy.

Sources familiar with North Korean affairs as well as Radio Free Asia said yesterday that the North Korean regime has held public lectures at local farms and companies about launching the new economic system.

RFA said that North Korea “is going to allow people to run factories or companies autonomously and set prices of their products by themselves,” citing multiple sources.

The sources also said that the new system “distributes materials only for some people engaged in special sectors such as government, military, education or medicine, which will actually abolish the public distribution system.”

“Granting autonomy to collective farms or factories would make a huge impact on expanding the role of the market in the regime,” Im Eul-chul, a professor at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies, told the JoongAng Ilbo. “It means they will officially approve some economic actions that had been regarded as illegal.”

Starting from this fall, the regime will take only 70 percent of the harvest and allow farmers to own the remaining 30 percent, the sources told RFA.

So far, people were able to possess surpluses that exceed a certain level designated by the regime, but that standard was useless because of the extremely low output of North Korean agriculture.

The sources said that the new economic policy, dubbed “June 28 economic measures,” was set by the directive of new leader Kim Jong-un, which reportedly read, “to launch an economic management system in our own style.”

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