중앙데일리

Half of firms upbeat for North trade

Mar 08,2007
Almost half of South Korean companies doing business with North Korea said they have a bright outlook for inter-Korean trade this year due to expectations for better ties with the North, a poll said yesterday.
According to a survey of 67 companies conducted by the Korea International Trade Association, 45 percent of the respondents said inter-Korean trade will likely increase this year. Thirty-five percent expected trade to remain at the same level as last year while 15 percent said it will likely decline.
The poll also said 75 percent of local companies operating in the industrial park in the North’s border city of Kaesong had an optimistic outlook for trade. The industrial complex, mainly for smaller South Korean firms, is considered a model for reconciliation and cooperation between the two Koreas. Currently, 21 garment and other labor-intensive South Korean plants are operating there, employing about 11,000 low-paid North Korean workers.
The survey said among the firms that forecast inter-Korean trade to rise, 17 percent said their continued trust in North Korean firms was the reason for their upbeat outlook, while 16 percent and 14 percent said it was a rise in new orders and expectations for inter-Korean reconciliation. The survey was conducted before a deal on dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program was reached, reflecting that local firms have maintained a positive view toward inter-Korean trade. The agreement calls for Pyongyang to shut down and disable its main nuclear reactor and dismantle its atomic weapons program.


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