Inter-Korean Trade Jumps 28.6%

Korea Times
Jane Han
7/26/2007

Inter-Korean trade rose 28.6 percent in the first half of 2007 from a year earlier, the country’s leading trade agency said Thursday, attributing the boost to the Gaeseong joint industrial complex and the eased tension between Seoul and Pyongyang.

Trade amounted to $720 million during the January-June period, the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) said.

While South’s exports to the North dropped 9.4 percent to $330 million, imports from the North jumped an impressive 63.3 percent to $390 million.

The trade group credited the big import leap to the expanded number of items produced in the industrial complex located at North Korea’s western border city.

But unlike the positive performance of the two-way trade, the Mt. Geumgang tour business has dropped 7.2 percent.

South Korean companies are currently employing about 15,000 North Korean workers in the Gaeseong complex and the number is expected to rise as the facility undergoes expansion.

Symbolic of the cooperation between the Cold War rivals, the industrial park began construction in June 2003 and its operation started the following year.

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