Output of Kaesong complex exceeds US$50m


South Korean companies at an inter-Korean joint industrial complex in North Korea have produced more than US$50 million worth of products and exported about one-fifth of them since they opened shop there in 2004, official data showed Sunday.

The complex in Kaesong, a few kilometers north of the inter-Korean border, currently houses 13 South Korean garment, kitchenware and other labor-intensive plants, hiring about 8,500 North Korean workers. The complex opened its first pilot zone in December, 2004.

As of the end of August, the cumulative production of the Southern firms there reached US$54.6 million and their total exports came to US$11.3 million, according to the Unification Ministry data.

Their monthly output reached its highest level in August with US$6.8 million, up 24 percent from the previous month and 6 times more than the amount in the same period last year, the figures showed.

Under an agreement with North Korea, all goods produced in Kaesong are brought to South Korea for domestic sales or exports.

Those figures indicated a brisk and continuing growth of production in the complex. The project’s first monthly production in January 2005 amounted to just US$201,000. The figures broke the one-million dollar mark in August that year and jumped to US$5 million in March this year.

Besides the 13 firms now in operation in Kaesong, 24 more are constructing their plants in another pilot zone that opened last year in the complex.

The Kaesong complex is a key byproduct of the 2000 summit between the leaders of the Koreas, which boosted reconciliation and cooperation between them.


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