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N. Korea enacts new laws on economy

All Headlines 17:22 August 13, 2010

SEOUL, Aug. 13 (Yonhap) -- North Korea announced Friday that it has enacted new laws to facilitate trade with other countries, improve labor rights and protect the interests of economic entities under state supervision.

"The adoption of the laws provides a definite legal guarantee for improving the labor protection work, developing economic cooperation and exchange with other countries," the official Korean Central News Agency said in a report monitored in Seoul.

The report did not go into further specifics, but added that the laws seek to protect "the economic interests of the industrial establishments, organizations, individuals and foreign investment companies belonging" to the chamber of commerce.

The laws were "recently adopted" by the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, the North's rubber-stamp parliament, the report said, adding that "principles" concerning labor matters were also set.

North Korea is considered one of the most hostile environments for economic activity, mismanaging its heavily centralized economy and struggling to feed its own population.

In an effort to improve living standards for its people, the communist regime, however, has stressed the importance of expanding trade with other nations and rebuilding light industries this year.

A botched currency reform late last year has also weighed on the North's economy. The country suffers from chronic energy shortages as well.

samkim@yna.co.kr
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