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.
Using North Korea to produce cheap clothes for sale around the globe shows that for every door that is closed by ever-tightening United Nations (UN) 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.
“We take orders from all over the world,” said one Korean-Chinese businessman in Dandong, the Chinese border city where the majority of North Korea trade passes through. Like many people Reuters interviewed for this story, he spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Dozens of clothing agents operate in Dandong, acting as go-betweens for Chinese clothing suppliers and buyers from the United States, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Canada and Russia, the businessman said. “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,” he said.
Markets have been on a downward spiral since August 2 when the Nifty50 hit a high of 10,137 levels in intra-day deals. Since then, the index has tanked nearly 4%, or around 400 points to 9,737 levels in intra-day deals on Friday.
The recent fall has been triggered by rising geopolitical tension across the globe – one, between India and China on the Doklam standoff, and two the developments with North Korea and the United States. That apart, Sebi’s order to ban trade in 331 suspectedshell companies also dented sentiment, as did sub-par second quarter results of select companies.
Given the developments, analysts say there could be more pain in store for the markets that have recently taken cognizance of the developing geopolitical situation. Though they do not wish to predict how deep and long this correction could last, experts do caution that the fall is beyond anyone’s control as it is driven by geopolitical reasons.
“Global events that are beyond market control have triggered the recently fall. If there is more action over the weekend, the markets will continue to fall in the coming week as well. A lot depends on the geopolitical front and to that extent predicting the road ahead for specific index levels is risky,” says Jayant Manglik, president retail distribution at Religare Securities.
Since its recent high on August 2,investor wealth as measured by market-capitalisation (market-cap) of the Nifty 50 companies till August 10 has dipped by over Rs 1,47,600 crore, ACE Equity data show.
The Trump administration is planning trade measures to force Beijing to crack down on intellectual-property theft and ease requirements that American companies share advanced technologies to gain entry to the Chinese market.
The administration is considering invoking a little-used provision of U.S. trade law to investigate whether China’s intellectual-property policies constitute “unfair trade practices,” according to people familiar with the matter.
That would pave the way for the U.S. to impose sanctions on Chinese exporters or to further restrict the transfer of advanced technology to Chinese firms or to U.S.-China joint ventures.
American business frustration with Chinese trade and market-access practices has mounted in recent years, with U.S. business groups urging the government to take a tougher trade line with China. Many organizations have complained that the Trump administration hasn’t pushed hard enough in areas like intellectual property, as it has focused more on Chinese manufacturing and China’s $347 billion trade surplus with the U.S. last year.