Q: What measures are you taking to improve the economic situation?

A: With the collapse of the Soviet Union 15 years ago all our economic relationships were destroyed and the DPRK was damaged a great deal.

A key example was a long-term contract for batteries with the Soviet Union – its disappearance meant we could not implement the contract and we had no batteries.

We are a socialist centrally planned economy and in July 2002 we increased all prices, but now we are giving more freedom to factories and enterprises to do more day-to-day management by themselves.

The state is paying more attention to foreign trade. Yes, we want to sell raw materials, such as iron ore, zinc, lead and high quality clinker, to develop the economy. We also want to import raw materials and export more manufactured goods.

We would also like to see foreign banks come here and we believe now is a good time for investors to come and get a better understanding of our country.

Q: The DPRK is understood to have considerable untapped oil reserves, what are you doing about them?

A: For a long time we have wanted to develop our oil reserves. We know they are there but because of the lack of funding we cannot accelerate their development. We definitely want foreign companies to come in and invest in our oil industry.

Q: Investors are concerned about political stability. What is the DPRK doing to attract foreign investment and offer investment incentives?

A: Investors should not be worried by political stability or war, they should come and see for themselves, seeing is believing. We have a sound legal environment in place with double taxation treaties with 20 countries and 40 comprehensive laws and regulations. At the all-weather port of Razan we have established a low taxation zone with a taxation for foreign investors of just 14%, a lot more favourable than the 23%-43% rates offered in the 17 states of south east Asia.

Q: What is the outlook for 2006?

A: The environment is positive. With China expanding its investment outside we expect to see more investment from China. We are optimistic that the economy will move forward in 2006 with real profits achieved in areas such as metals, power and coal.


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