European firms in N. Korea running business association: chairman


European companies operating in North Korea have been running a business coalition to better coordinate trade ties with the reclusive nation, a businessman said Saturday.

“Our purpose is to build bridges between Europe and North Korea,” Felix Abt, chairman of the European Business Association (EBA), said in an interview with Washington-based radio station Radio Free Asia. The association was founded in April 2005.

The businessman, who is also president of the joint venture PyongSu Pharma Co., said European firms need to do more business with Pyongyang, whose business ties are heavily dependent on Northeast Asia.

The association comprises 11 companies, mostly European or joint ventures between European and North Korean state-run firms. DHL, the logistics arm of Germany’s Deutsche Post AG, is also a member.

North Korea’s trade with the European Union accounted for less than 10 percent of its total volume in 2004, while trade with China surged by 35.4 percent, according to the EBA’s Web site.


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