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DHL establishes operation in North Korea

November 6, 1997 GMT

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ DHL Worldwide Express has begun service in North Korea, one of the world’s last untapped markets for international courier companies, DHL officials said Thursday.

DHL’s Seoul office said the company held a ceremony Wednesday in Pyongyang to celebrate the opening of its office there.

DHL has been running an experimental delivery service in North Korea since August, becoming one of the first international cargo carriers operating in the communist state. The courier company TNT also has an operation there.

DHL’s Pyongyang office will have one manager and six locally hired workers, DHL officials said.

The office will work with Pyongyang’s government-run Korea Foreign Transportation Corp. to deliver commercial documents and other parcels to foreign joint ventures and other customers, they said.

North Korea, which had preached self-reliance, is now seeking outside investors to help revive its moribund economy.

Several American companies, including International Business Machines Corp., AT&T and American Express, are reportedly interested in investing in North Korea, but so far have been blocked by U.S. laws forbidding economic transactions with the country.

The U.S. embargo has been in effect since the 1950-53 Korean War, when America fought on the side of South Korea. But Washington has begun easing the restrictions since North Korea promised in 1994 to freeze its suspected nuclear weapons program.