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North Korea Seeks WTO Observer Status: A Likely Precursor to its Bid for WTO Membership

North Korea Seeks WTO Observer Status: A Likely Precursor to its Bid for WTO Membership

Posted July. 16, 2005 03:05,   


It was confirmed that North Korea is in contact with the WTO to obtain observer status, which is a step below official membership in the multilateral trade body.

Members of the Delegation for Relations with the Korean Peninsula in the European Parliament, who visited North Korea from July 9 to 14, held a press conference on July 15 at Lotte Hotel in Sogong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, and gave the above information to reporters.

Glyn Ford, a British member of the European Parliament said, “Economic Policy Planning Committee Chairman Song Gil Nam in North Korea’s cabinet is looking to secure WTO observer status and is in contact with the WTO secretariat to have working-level discussions on its accession to the organization.”

MEP Ford added, “There is vagueness about the qualifications for an observer. However, Iraq was accepted as an observer, and I think North Korea would be able to be granted the same right. Being a WTO observer will affect its economy positively.”

Austrian MEP Ursula Stenzel, the head of the EU delegation, told reporters, “Kim Gye Gwan, North Korea`s vice foreign minister, wanted substantial outcomes (a security guarantee and diplomatic ties with the U.S. in exchange for the abandonment of its nuclear programs) and a package settlement in the fourth six-way talks.”

On providing North Korea with heavy oil, MEP Ford stressed, “The European Parliament asked the European Commission for four million euro with regard to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) coming to a halt. We want to participate in future meetings (on energy aid).”