Donald Trump dangled the carrot of foreign investment in front of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at their nuclear summit, but analysts say few will want to put money into one of the highest-risk business environments in the world. The U.S. president showed Kim a movie of bright lights, high-speed trains and soaring tower blocks – pitching a future that could be possible if Pyongyang gives up its weapons. Optimists say that with mineral wealth, cheap labour, and a helpful geographical location, the North has huge potential. But the history of overseas firms who have tried to set up operations in the isolated, impoverished country is a long and sorry one. Rules that can change on a whim, bills that are never paid, and the threat of expropriation hang over foreigners who step into the wildest of wild east investment destinations. For now, dozens of restrictions apply under the various sanctions regimes imposed on the North over its nuclear ambitions. Joint ventures are banned by the U.N. Security Council, the European Union blocks financial transfers of more than 5,000 euros, and U.S. regulations mean international banks are loath to enable transactions of any kind – so much so that… Read full this story
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