Using North Korea to produce cheap clothes for sale around the globe shows that for every door that is closed by ever-tightening U.N. sanctions another one may open. The UN sanctions, introduced to punish North Korea for its missile and nuclear programs, do not include any bans on textile exports.
#8220;It#8217;s a hassle to hire North Korean workers though,#8221; the Korean-Chinese businesswoman from Dalian said. #8220;You need to have the right set-up. Their living space has to be completely closed off, you have to provide a classroom where they can take classes every day. They bring their own doctor, nurse, cook and teachers who teach them North Korean ideology every day.#8221;
One clothing factory that visited in Dandong employs 40 North Korean workers. They fill smaller orders for clients who are more stringent about their supply chains and expressly request no production inside North Korea.
North Korea has about 15 large garment exporting enterprises, each operating several factories spread around the country, and dozens of medium sized companies, according to GPI Consultancy of the Netherlands, which helps foreign companies do business in North Korea.
North Korea relies on overseas workers to earn hard currency, especially since U.N. sanctions have choked off some other sources of export earnings. Much of their wages are remitted back to the state and help fund Pyongyang#8217;s ambitious nuclear and missile programmes, the U.N. says.