North Koreans – they’re not just making headrests in your Beamer.
Access Asia‘s weekly update email contains an interesting item this week about the 250-odd Sino-North Korean joint ventures, a good number of them located along the Yalu River, which forms the border between the hermit state and Liaoning province. They say most of the JVs are inactive, but:
There are a number of textiles operations up and running, and guess what…despite the boycott and official ban on DPRK-made products being exported to or sold in the USA, there are factories producing garments for the American market. This means that any number of Americans – maybe even hawkish types in Washington – are strolling around wearing DPRK-made duds – Dick Chaney [sic] in a nice DPRK-made tie, or Karl Rove in a pair of Pyongyang Y-Fronts?
How can this happen? Pretty easily actually. US brands contracting to Chinese manufacturers simply don’t realise that some of that work is being sub-contracted across the border. Of course, when it is shipped out, the label reads ‘Made in China’. Brands beware.
This is probably low-level enough stuff not to get noticed by certain other governments imposing strict sanctions regimes on the DPRK, and also counting on China to live up to its own promises to sanction same.