Economic Development of DPRK and the Future of Cooperation with Europe

Conference Statement from Landau Network - Centro Volta (LNCV) & Association for the Promotion of the International Economic and Technical Exchange (APIETE), Rome, October 21, 2003.

Building on previous initiatives of co-operation with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Landau Network - Centro Volta together with The Association for the Promotion of the International Economic and Technical Exchange (APIETE), Pyongyang, DPRK with the support and assistance of Directorate General for Asia and the Pacific of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, organised a two-day multilateral forum on economic development on the DPRK, in collaboration with the DPRK Embassy in Rome, Mycle Schneider Consulting in Paris.

The event, that brought together 50 participants, including government officials, academics, business men and independent experts from 14 countries and the EU, took place in an open atmosphere of mutual interest in a range of issues linked to economic development of the DPRK. Presentations covered in particular various aspects of economy, finance, energy and agriculture.

The DPRK delegation has presented significant recent steps towards more efficient economic management. Measures have been taken to adapt the regulatory framework and incentives have been put into place, like tax breaks and preferential bank loans, in order to facilitate foreign investment in the country, in particular in the energy, transport, scientific research and communication sectors. Efforts are intensified to adjust prices and salaries. The particular case of the introduction of consumer goods markets has been presented.

Various presentations by the DPRK delegation have detailed initiatives in the fields of economic management and financial reforms, the outline for the development of a sustainable energy economy and a significant organic farming initiative.

Experts from various academic institutions, independent research organisations and consultancies in Germany, UK, Poland, Switzerland, ROK and China as well as representatives of KEDO, the Industrials Association of Rome and Lazio and the WTC Association have presented detailed case studies and proposals for concrete action on economic and sustainable development, training in economic management, energy efficiency, renewable energy, mining and agriculture relevant to the economic development in the DPRK. In the discussions, particular needs have been expressed on the urgent development of statistical, methodological and evaluation tools - in particular in the fields of energy and agriculture - in order to better assess and present requirements in the various fields.

The participants agreed to explore further possibilities for future co-operation. Particular areas of interest include the extension of training capacities (economic and financial management, energy planning, statistical methodologies, information management, international cooperation…), organic farming, foreign trade and investments, regulatory reforms, industrial rehabilitation, of which some are already underway:

Possible Initiatives Suggested During the Forum: