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Who Is the Mysterious Lithuanian Company Trading With North Korea?

2017 / 08 / 30

Lithuanian authorities refuse to disclose the name of the company that exported goods worth €1.14 million to North Korea this year.

According to the news portal 15min.lt, this year a secretive Lithuanian company exported textiles to North Korea worth €1.14 million.

Both Statistics Lithuania and the Customs Department refused to disclose who was trading with Kim Jong-un’s regime, claiming that they needed consent from the company itself before they could do so.

190 tons of textiles

The heads of textile companies that reporters from 15min.lt spoke to claimed that they did not trade with North Korea and did not know which company would do that.

The company in question, which operates in Lithuania, exported as much as 190 tons of non-woven textiles to North Korea. According to textile manufacturers, the product code specified indicates that this could have been down or other short fiber products used for pillows or similar articles.

Not on the list of prohibited exports

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, trade with North Korea is not prohibited when the goods in question do not fall under banned exports. The list of prohibited exports can be found in the document on the sanctions that the Council of the EU prescribed for North Korea. There are no fewer than 2,270 such sanctions at this time.

EU companies are prohibited from sending any goods which could be used in the development of nuclear weapons, as well as coal, iron, gold, titanium ore, weapons, certain technologies, luxury goods and some fuels to North Korea.

Name not even disclosed to MPs

Vytautas Kernagis, a member of Parliament, was also unsuccessful in his efforts to get any information on the company in question. According to the authorities, this information was confidential, protected under the Law on Statistics and Law on Competition.

The Law on the Provision of Information to the Public sets out that information constituting commercial secrets cannot be disclosed to the media.

Statistical offices are bound to protect the anonymity of companies that provide them with data.

The law does not cover cases where it is in the public interest to disclose confidential information or trade secrets. Information on trade with North Korea could be important to both the company’s clients and its partners.

Trading with a mass human rights violator

The UN Global Compact calls on companies to “support and respect international human rights” and “to ensure that they do not contribute to human rights violations.”

In 2014, a UN Commission of Inquiry found that regime in North Korea was carrying out mass and flagrant violations of human rights, including violations of the right to food, freedom of expression and freedom of movement, as well as perpetration of discrimination, torture, illegal imprisonment, enforced disappearances, abductions and unlawful killings.