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N. Korea calls for high quality commercials to boost exports

All Headlines 11:59 February 03, 2012

SEOUL, Feb. 3 (Yonhap) -- North Korea appears willing to again embrace a key element of capitalism in a rare move to improve its faltering economy and raise its people's standard of living.

A North Korean economic quarterly has stressed the importance of commercials to help promote the country's exports, which rely heavily on China.

North Korea mostly exports mineral resources such as anthracite coal and iron ore to its giant neighbor and key ally. The bilateral trade stood at US$3.47 billion in 2010, the latest year for which statistics are available, according to South Korea.

"We should promote our economic prowess abroad and decisively increase exports of products by taking advantage of commercials in foreign trade," North Korean quarterly magazine, Economic Research, reported in its October edition, a copy of which was obtained by Yonhap News Agency.

The publication, which mostly deals with the North's economic policies, said exports should contribute to achieving the country's stated goal of ushering in a prosperous nation by this year.

The year 2012 has political significance to North Korea as it marks the centennial of the birth of the country's founder Kim Il-sung, grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un.

North Korea has vowed to bring prosperity, though doubt remains over whether the impoverished communist country can achieve its goal due to chronic food and power shortages.

The quarterly also called for high quality commercials to penetrate capitalist markets and increase exports of its products.

The North's move came more than two years after an earlier short-lived experiment with commercial advertising.

In July 2009, the North's television aired commercials that showed young women in traditional clothes serving frothy mugs of Taedonggang beer, billed as the "Pride of Pyongyang."

Other products, including ginseng and quail, soon appeared in television advertisements, fueling speculation the isolated country may start to embrace a capitalist mode of life.

However, the commercials disappeared a month later when then-leader Kim Jong-il sacked his television point man in anger over what he described as aping China's early reforms.

China has repeatedly pressed the North to follow in its footsteps in embracing reform similar to that which lifted millions of Chinese out of poverty and helped Beijing's rise to become the world's second-largest economy.


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