The German-language Interview Blog has posted an interview with Frank Hantke on the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung’s DPRK operations.
Archive for the ‘Friedrich Naumann Foundation’ Category
The DPRK Chamber of Commerce was inaugurated on August 25, 2004 with the purpose of developing economic and trade relations with different countries over the world.
The Pyongyang Chamber of Commerce (PCC), the predecessor of the DPRK Chamber of Commerce, had been established on March 1, 2000 and granted an associate membership of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) at its 33rd World Congress held in Budapest, Hungary in May, 2000.
The PCC had conducted such service activities as trade, finance, arbitration and consultation helpful to the domestic and foreign trade and economic organizations in close relations with the ICC, national chambers of commerce and world trade and economic centres.
It was registered in the directory of addresses published by the ICC, the International Trade Centre and other international economic organizations.
With a view to expanding exchange and cooperation with foreign countries in all fields of the economy, the PCC was developed into the Chamber of Commerce of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
At present, it is extensively carrying on its commercial business in closer ties with the ICC and national chambers of commerce around the world.
The DPRK Chamber of Commerce makes efforts to promote bilateral and multinational exchange and investment with Korean joint venture and individual enterprises in foreign countries as its full members and with foreign individual enterprises and entrepreneurs residing in Korea, overseas compatriots and foreign enterprises who hope to have business transactions with Korean partners as its associate members.
It has an organizational structure consisting of secretariat, trade information committee, trade arbitration committee and exhibition committee as well as non-permanent credentials committee for full members or associate members.
The trade information committee engages in such business as collection and distribution of information data on world economy and trade, international commodity and financial markets.
The trade arbitration committee handles correct examination and settlement of disputes relating to economy and trade.
The exhibition committee organizes the opening of national trade fairs at home and abroad and provides every convenience for the participation of its members in the fairs.
The DPRK Chamber of Commerce will make a positive contribution to the promotion of foreign trade, invitation of investment and economic exchange with other countries.
The DPRK Chamber is headed by Ri Hak Gwon. I have been unnable to determine any other posts he might have held in the past.
The Chamber has two addresses on line:
DPRK Chamber of Commerce
c/o Ministry of Foreign Trade
D.P.R. of Korea
(This address seems to indicate it is an office within the Ministry of Foreign Trade)
Externally, the DPRK Chamber liases with numerous external business organizations to promote DPRK exports and foreign direct investment (FDI):
The EBA cooperates with the DPRK Chamber of Commerce and supports it as well as the Korea International Exhibition Corporation under the Ministry of Foreign Trade to help European companies participate [in the Pyongyang International Trade Fair]. European companies participating at the European booth [in the most recent fair] said they were very satisfied. European businesses that would like to participate at the European booth during the next trade fairs (11th PYONGYANG SPRING INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR, May 12 – 15, 2008 and the and the 4th PYONGYANG AUTUMN INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR, September 22 – 25, 2008) are welcome to contact EBA from now on. Details on these fairs will also be given shortly on the EBA-website under “Services”
“It is a great honour and a token of both appreciation and trust” , said Mr. Kim Myeong-ho, Deputy Director of the Department of International Relations of the Korean Workers’ Party welcoming two representatives of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation at the Headquarters of the Korean Workers’ Party (KWP) in Pyongyang. Since their meeting at the beginning of February this year the international political situation has changed dramatically: the February 13 Agreement on the Denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula was signed between the six parties DPR Korea, USA, China, Republic of Korea, Japan and Russia. Meanwhile, the parties have taken necessary steps to ease the tensions on the Korean Peninsula and to move towards denuclearization. Both the U.S. and the DPR Korea have started negotiations on the normalisation of bilateral relations within the framework of the Six-Party Talks. Finally, both Koreas agreed to hold a second summit on 2-4 October.
Mr. Kim Myeong-ho expressed his appreciation of the training activities of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in the DPR Korea. Referring to the New Year’s editorial of the Rodong Shinmun, the KWP’s newspaper, he mentioned the priority of modernizing the economy in the sectors of agriculture, light industry, IT and banking. According to him, of particular interest are methods of farm management, renewable energy and food security but also city management.
The representatives of the KWP accepted FNF’s offer of having a study tour to Germany for party officials in 2008 presuming further progress in the Six-Party Talks. The members of the delegation would have “fresh ideas” after being back in the DPR Korea, FNF was told.
Walter Klitz, Resident Representative of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Korea, also had meetings with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the DPRK’s Chamber of Commerce. In cooperation with the European Union, FNF will hold the 3rd EU-DPRK Economic Workshop in October, its fourth seminar this year.
A major South Korean business organization said Thursday (Sept. 27) it plans to form a civilian body for economic cooperation with North Korea on the occasion of the 2007 South-North Korean Summit next week.
The envisioned body, tentatively named the South-North Korean Economic Cooperation Forum, is to be set up in October and have 50 members, including 35 entrepreneurs, the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) said.
It would be the first non-governmental channel for inter-Korean economic cooperation. Currently, the South’s Ministry of Unification and the North’s National Economic Cooperation Federation are the sole channels for inter-Korean economic cooperation.
“The establishment of the body is designed to further promote inter-Korean economic cooperation on a civilian level,” said Kim Sang-yeol, vice chairman of the KCCI.
The planned group will conduct economic cooperation projects with the North and help improve North Korea’s investment environment, the KCCI said.
To that end, the chamber will try to sign a deal with its counterpart, the DPRK Chamber of Commerce, and send an investment inspection team to the North after the end of the summit. DPRK is the acronym for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Established in March 2000, the chamber of commerce, which includes members of 100 major companies, has carried out external economic exchanges and attracted foreign investment in the North, according to the KCCI.
South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun is scheduled to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-il from Oct. 2-4 in Pyongyang. Seoul has hinted that the promotion of economic cooperation will be high on the agenda of the 2007 South-North Korean summit, as it was in the first summit in 2000.
In his own words: “[The KFA is] looking into development of new areas to expand into, especially those related to economy that are critical also for the development and life improvement of the DPRK. Since KFA has played an important role in building friendship, now we also can play our part in building business.
For accomplishing this goal, I announce the creation of the IKBC (International Korea Business Center). As a sister organization of the KFA, the IKBC will strictly take care of business issues, facilitate business information to private investors and companies around the world.
In close collaboration with the DPRK Chamber of Commerce, IKBC will become the reference link between the DPRK and foreign businessmen. The spirit is to build a DPRK Chamber of Commerce outside the DPRK that will approach the countless possibilities in trading that will benefit all sides involved.
Alejandro’s involvement raises questions about the relationship between the DPRK’s cultural diplomatic efforts (since he is a client of the Committe for Cultural Relations with Foreign countries) and its business outreach efforts auspiciously under the Ministry of Foreign Trade. I suspect that various DPRK agencies have been blurring the boundries between the two activities for fiscal reasons. As access to hard currency comes to play a greater role in the DPRK system, I predict that we will see more of this kind of mission creep on the DPRK side.
They also undertake external activities:
A delegation of the DPRK Chamber of Commerce (KCC) took part in the 5th China International Equipment Manufacturing Exposition on Aug. 29, 2006 and the 2nd China Jilin Northeast Asia Investment & Trade Exposition on Sep. 2, 2006.
During its participation in the expositions, the delegation held an interview on investment and discussed matters of investment in the development of a vanadium mine, stone dressing, the production of agrochemicals and calcium carbonate, seafood breeding and processing and so on.
The KCC secretary-general made an introductory speech entitled “On the trade and investment policy of the DPR Korea”.
At the interview, a series of technical matters on joint ventures and processing trade as well as investment guaranty were discussed and agreed between traders.
A trade and investment seminar for European businessmen was held in Pyongyang under the sponsorship of the KCC on October 30, 2006.
There was the general explanation on the DPRK trade and investment policy and the investment environment.
From the Korea Times:
As the high-charged summer energy simmered away, Niemann immersed himself in the Korean way of living and delved deeper into his responsibilities that ranged from teaching small, citizen democracy classes to bridging communications and pioneering exchanges with North Korea.
“I went to North Korea 15 times,’’ Niemann told The Korea Times in an interview on Monday as he summed up his past four and a half years in Seoul, noting that he made his most recent trip just after the missile test in August. “What stunned me was that they [North Koreans] wanted to know how the missile test was perceived in the South. That, for me, was a good sign.’’
Showing a deep affection and understanding of Korea (Germany has a similar history as a divided country), Niemann earnestly believes that the Stalinist state needs help from outsiders.
“I told them that the missile test was not at all helpful for relations and organizations such as ours to provide support if the security problem further escalates,’’ he affirmed, “I was honest by telling them it will hurt them.’’
He recounted the 2002 summit of the two Koreas, remembering what a breakthrough it was for many things, including bilateral talks with Germany and EU. “The North Korean regime wanted to modernize its economic system so they were trying to open up and invite knowledge from the outside market economy.’’ The following two years found Niemann and the FNF busy with seminars and workshops in Pyongyang teaching business leaders, politicians and scholars the mechanisms of the market economy.
However, with the security threats, things didn’t go smoothly.
More training programs are in the pipeline to take place next year, but the future is unclear because of the current nuclear situation.
On the recently passed U.N. sanctions against the North, Niemann said, “They [sanctions] aren’t harsh yet, and it’s the first step to unity, but everyone should follow the sanctions so that the message can get across.’’
As the FNF representative nears the end of his years in South Korea, he praises the country for its mature democratic system, but hopes that further improvements could be made in local autonomy and party system.
“I think Korea has all the capabilities and many, many friends in the world so that it can stand up and be a regional and even global leader,’’ said Niemann.
Following Niemann’s departure to Berlin where he will take on a bigger responsibility as a director overseeing parts of Asia and Europe, Walter Klitz will take up the job of FNF resident representative, starting January 2007.
“For four and a half years of my life, Korea was the center. I had to be concerned about both Koreas day and night for those years,’’ reminisced Niemann, It’s almost half a decade, I can never forget these years.’’
Well, I discovered this series of events that really peaked my curiosity. The Friederick Naumann Foundtaion has hosted two conferences on DPRK economic reform in Pyongyang.
From the Foundtaion’s web site:
Since 2004, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation has been organizing seminars and workshops in North Korea in order to transfer knowledge on market economy. The first EU-DPRK workshop, which was held in August 2004 focused on economic transition processes and the changes in the DPRK since 2002. This second meeting had a more specific focus on practical issues that were raised last year such as the role of the state in economic management, strategies to attract foreign direct investment and the restructuring of state-owned enterprises and agriculture.
I have reconstructed this short agenda with links to relevant papers:
Opening: Kung Sok Ung, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK (in attendance: almost 100 DPRK officials from economic ministries, institutions, and universities as well as reps from the EU)
Session 1: The Role of the State in Economic Management
Dr. Ari Kokko, professor at the Stockholm School of Economics
Paper: Economic Systems and the Role of the State
Dr. Dusan Triska, former deputy Minister of Finance, Czechoslovakia
Paper: Redefining the role of the state: public planning and management tools
Mr. Max van der Sleen, Chairman of ECORYS Netherlands
Paper: Macro-economic tools of the State to manage the economy
Session 2: Conditions and Strategies to attract investment: experiences of the new member states of the EU
Dr. Andrea Szalavetz, Senior Research Fellow, Hungarian Institute for World Economics
Paper: Mobilizing foreign capital to promote catching-up and modernization: The Hungarian experience
Dr. Jacek Mironski, researcher at the Warsaw School of Economics
Paper: Human Resource Management and Investment in Human Capital
Mr. Han Dok Son, DPRK’s University of National Economy
Paper: Actions for Modernization of National economy in DPRK
Session 3: Restructuring state-owned enterprises and agricultural sector: Methods and implementation.
Mr. Ju Yong Seol, Economic Research Institute of the Cabinet
Paper: New economic measures taken by the DPR Korea and the experience gained from their implementation
Dr. Bruno Dallago, University of Trento
Paper: Creation and development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)
Dr. Brigitta Kauers, Head of Division at Germany’s Federal Ministry of Finance
Paper: Experiences with the Treuhand agency in Germany
Dr. Michael Cuddy, National University of Ireland
Paper: Some thoughts on agriculture and rural development in the DPRK
From the Friederick Naumann Foundation:
During their 12-day visit to Germany, the DPRK delegation consolidated their technical knowledge on market economy which they gained while participating at the seminars organized by FNF in North Korea, so far. Apart from theoretical knowledge on budgeting, expenditure, monetary and fiscal policy, the North Korean economic and financial experts gained also practical insights into the organization of the German financial institutions as well as into methods of tax collection.
The North Korean delegation visited the Bundestag (German Lower House), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour, the Federal Ministry of Finance as well as the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), the German Federal Central Bank and the European Central Bank. The programme included also meetings in the Federal Statistical Office, the State Ministry of Rhineland-Palatinate, the tax office of Mainz as well as the Institute of Finance at the University of Mainz. In many of these institutions the North Korean delegation was the first visiting group from DPRK ever.