Seoul eases export restrictions to Kaesong

According to Yonhap:

The Unification Ministry said Tuesday it will allow South Korean companies to bring new equipment into their factories at a joint industrial complex in North Korea in an easing of sanctions on the communist nation.

Seoul has banned the establishment of new factories or expanding investment in the industrial complex under economic sanctions slapped on the North in May 2010 in response to its torpedoing of the South Korean warship Cheonan in the Yellow Sea that killed 46 men aboard.

The ministry’s decision, effective from this week, is a follow-up measure after a group of eight ruling and opposition lawmakers last month visited the border city of Kaesong to meet with South Korean company officials and help work out problems with operating factories there.

More than 50,000 North Koreans work for 123 South Korean firms operating in the industrial zone to produce clothes, utensils, watches and other goods. The project serves as a key legitimate cash cow for the impoverished communist country.

According to a survey conducted by the ministry of the 123 firms after the parliamentary delegation’s visit, 15 firms wanted to move 803 pieces of equipment worth 4 billion won (US$3.5 million) out of the complex.

Thirty-two companies had plans to remodel the current factories or facilities, the survey showed.

The ministry is also considering expanding bus routes for North Korean workers to help employers hire more workers living farther away from the complex, officials noted.

Read the full story here:
Seoul eases limits on factories, equipment in Kaesong complex
Yonhap
2012-3-6

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