KOREA STILL TALKING WITH EUROPEAN UNION ABOUT SHIPBUILDING

KOREA STILL TALKING WITH EUROPEAN UNION ABOUT SHIPBUILDING

In an article on March 22 (''South Korea to take case to WTO after meetings fail to end EU feud,'' Page 16), reporter P. T. Bangsberg stated that Korea's trade minister, Han Duck-soo, had said that Korea was ''preparing to seek arbitration from the World Trade Organization'' with the European Union for the current disagreement over shipbuilding issues.

We would like to inform you that this was misquoted information. Minister Han had explained, rather, that Korea simply acknowledges a future possibility of the case being brought to the WTO, if both sides fail to reach a mutually agreeable solution.We would like to emphasize that the Korean government is exerting its best efforts to settle this issue through bilateral discussions with the EU. The Korean shipbuilding industry is also doing the same with its counterpart in Europe.

Again, I wish to clarify that Minister Han had mentioned a possibility for a WTO intervention should bilateral efforts fail to produce an outcome. Currently, we are not preparing a WTO action. We are instead focusing on a cooperative and mutually beneficial, bilateral solution to this matter.

CHUN BEEHO

Director, European Trade Division,

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Republic of Korea

THE EFFORTS TO DEVELOP GLOBAL STANDARDS NEED A FOCUS ON CUSTOMERS

In response to ''Groups seek to develop global set of standards'' (March 9, Page 1), about initiatives of the World Customs Organization and the World Bank:

I have read the article with care, but am amazed that there is no single point about customer input. The customers are not being asked how their businesses are being impacted, nor are they asked how they would like to see the service levels set to accommodate the right balance between the costs and services they need.

Dutch customs has come a long way and it can be used as exemplary in this matter. About three years ago (already), Dutch customs formed customer-focused positions - account-manager type roles - to accommodate the wishes and needs of the customers.

Besides that, the World Trade Organization also has to play a major role in this, as it is the organization that also has a chance to unify (dictate) all these clearance processes.

In summary, I am disappointed by the level of commitment to this issue from the various global organizations.

JOOST H.A. RIEMSLAG

European demand manager

StorageTek European Trade Corp.

HOW ABOUT A LIST THAT TAKES CARGO VALUE INTO ACCOUNT?

Your ''Top 100 Importers and Exporters'' (special section, March 29) is an interesting report, but I think it leaves out a very important segment of trade. That is breakbulk, unitized, and roll-on, roll-off cargo.

Your non-container top 100 is fuel, fertilizer and minerals: lots of tons, but not much value. How about publishing the Top 100 importers and exporters of most valuable cargo (per TEU or per ton)?

JAKE JACOBI

Port of Corpus Christi