Chinese suppliers send fabrics and other raw materials to North Korean factories. Representation pic/AFP
Chinese textile firms are increasingly using North Korean factories to take advantage of cheaper labour across the border, traders and businesses in the border city of Dandong told Reuters.
The clothes made in North Korea are labelled “Made in China” and exported across the world, they said. The UN sanctions, introduced to punish North Korea for its missile and nuclear programs, do not include any bans on textile exports. Chinese suppliers send fabrics and other raw materials required for manufacturing clothing to North Korean factories across the border where garments are assembled and exported.
“We will ask the Chinese suppliers who work with us if they plan on being open with their client – sometimes the final buyer won’t realise their clothes are being made in North Korea. It’s extremely sensitive,” said one Korean-Chinese businessman in Dandong, the Chinese border city where the majority of North Korea trade passes through. Textiles were North Korea’s second-biggest export after coal and other minerals in 2016.
Some of the North Korean factories are located in Siniuju city just across the border from Dandong. Finished clothing is often directly shipped from North Korea to Chinese ports.
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North Korea's textile exports in 2016
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