Vietnam corporations line up to start business with North Korea when sanctions fall

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Vietnam Corporations Line Up To Start Business With North Korea When Sanctions FallCompanies from Vietnam are eager to be among the first to do business with and in North Korea should international sanctions be lifted, positioning themselves to lead the way into one of Asia’s last undeveloped markets, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

Some of the biggest corporations in the fast-growing Southeast Asian economy received guests from Pyongyang during the US-North Korea summit earlier in March.

For example, Vingroup, the country’s leading private conglomerate, showed a North Korean delegation led by Workers’ Party senior official Ri Su Yong around its factories and high-tech farms in Haiphong, the second-largest city in northern Vietnam.

VinFast Production and Trading, a group manufacturing subsidiary, operates an electric scooter factory in Haiphong. VinEco, the group’s agricultural unit, also runs greenhouses in Haiphong to grow bean sprouts, herbs, vegetables, fruits and mushrooms.

State-owned Viettel, the country’s largest telecom company, also received delegates from Pyongyang.

North Korea’s Ri, who serves as vice chairman of the Workers’ Party Central Committee and head of international affairs, said during the visit that Pyongyang was interested in telecommunications equipment for smart communities and hoped for further cooperation “soon.”

Experts said Vietnamese companies could also seek opportunities in sectors such as infrastructure, real estate and tourism, as well as investment into consumer goods factories, generating employment in North Korea.

Vietnam and North Korea share a long history through the friendship between the respective ruling parties. With the similar political regimes and theories, the peers were once defined as “fellow socialist powers” beside China.

Relations between North Korea and Vietnam have ebbed and flowed over the past 60 years, but Pyongyang and Hanoi still view each other as “traditional friends.” Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc reaffirmed this when meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un on March 1. Kim became the first North Korean leader since his grandfather Kim Il Sung to make an official visit to Vietnam.

Trade between Vietnam and North Korea largely depends on barter. Vietnam stopped importing North Korean products in 2011 in response to UN sanctions, but continues to export consumer goods to the market. Trade between the two countries peaked at $15 million in 2012. Vietnam exported $579,000 worth of goods to North Korea in 2018, including confectionery products, wood products and medicines, according to government statistics.

However, Vietnamese companies will have to compete against rivals from other countries including China, South Korea and Russia, which are also waiting for reforms and a clear legal framework for foreign investors from the North Korean government.

 

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Companies from Vietnam are eager to be among the first to do business with and in North Korea should international sanctions be lifted, positioning themselves to lead the way into one of Asia’s last undeveloped markets, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. Some of the biggest corporations in the fast-growing Southeast Asian economy received guests from Pyongyang during the US-North Korea summit earlier in March. For example, Vingroup, the country's leading private conglomerate, showed a North Korean delegation led by Workers' Party senior official Ri Su Yong around its factories and high-tech farms in Haiphong, the second-largest city in northern Vietnam....

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Vietnam Corporations Line Up To Start Business With North Korea When Sanctions FallCompanies from Vietnam are eager to be among the first to do business with and in North Korea should international sanctions be lifted, positioning themselves to lead the way into one of Asia’s last undeveloped markets, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

Some of the biggest corporations in the fast-growing Southeast Asian economy received guests from Pyongyang during the US-North Korea summit earlier in March.

For example, Vingroup, the country’s leading private conglomerate, showed a North Korean delegation led by Workers’ Party senior official Ri Su Yong around its factories and high-tech farms in Haiphong, the second-largest city in northern Vietnam.

VinFast Production and Trading, a group manufacturing subsidiary, operates an electric scooter factory in Haiphong. VinEco, the group’s agricultural unit, also runs greenhouses in Haiphong to grow bean sprouts, herbs, vegetables, fruits and mushrooms.

State-owned Viettel, the country’s largest telecom company, also received delegates from Pyongyang.

North Korea’s Ri, who serves as vice chairman of the Workers’ Party Central Committee and head of international affairs, said during the visit that Pyongyang was interested in telecommunications equipment for smart communities and hoped for further cooperation “soon.”

Experts said Vietnamese companies could also seek opportunities in sectors such as infrastructure, real estate and tourism, as well as investment into consumer goods factories, generating employment in North Korea.

Vietnam and North Korea share a long history through the friendship between the respective ruling parties. With the similar political regimes and theories, the peers were once defined as “fellow socialist powers” beside China.

Relations between North Korea and Vietnam have ebbed and flowed over the past 60 years, but Pyongyang and Hanoi still view each other as “traditional friends.” Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc reaffirmed this when meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un on March 1. Kim became the first North Korean leader since his grandfather Kim Il Sung to make an official visit to Vietnam.

Trade between Vietnam and North Korea largely depends on barter. Vietnam stopped importing North Korean products in 2011 in response to UN sanctions, but continues to export consumer goods to the market. Trade between the two countries peaked at $15 million in 2012. Vietnam exported $579,000 worth of goods to North Korea in 2018, including confectionery products, wood products and medicines, according to government statistics.

However, Vietnamese companies will have to compete against rivals from other countries including China, South Korea and Russia, which are also waiting for reforms and a clear legal framework for foreign investors from the North Korean government.

 

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