News / Asia

N. Korea Designates 6 More Special Economic Zones

FILE - North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.
FILE - North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.
Hwan Yong Kim

North Korea has designated six more Special Economic Zones - SEZs - in areas across the country, including the capital Pyongyang.  

The official Korean Central News Agency reported Wednesday each of the SEZs will focus on technology, export processing, tourism, industrial development, technology development and agricultural development.

SEZs, which draw investment mainly from Chinese firms, are an attempt by the impoverished country to attract foreign capital. Businesses that operate in a SEZ are given special benefits that exempt them from many of North Korea's tight economic regulations.  

“The latest move is for the North to diversify investment options and open attractive areas to foreign investors,” said Im Eul-chul, a research professor of Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University in South Korea.

North Korea announced last November that it would designate 13 economic development zones.

North Korea has had mixed results with its special economic zones over the years. Last year's announcement included the border city of Shinuiju.

Pyongyang had previously designated Shinuiju a special economic zone back in 2002, but had dropped it from economic development without explanation.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Korean service.

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