Foreign Rating Agency Officials to Visit Kaesong

Korea Times
Lee Jin-woo

High-level executives from Moody’s Investors Service and Goldman Sachs will visit a joint industrial complex in the North Korean border city of Kaesong on Friday, the Ministry of Unification said Tuesday.

The delegation includes Thomas Byrne, a senior credit officer for Korean affairs at the global credit appraiser Moody’s.

Three executives from each financial company will visit the Kaesong Industrial Complex accompanied by officials from the Ministry of Finance and Economy.

The half-day visit is part of the foreign rating agency’s annual meeting on South Korea’s sovereign rating. The Moody’s delegation will visit Seoul from Feb. 9-14.

The visit is aimed at observing North Korea’s economic situation and attitude toward economic reform, sources said.

North Korean officials are positive about the visit, a source said. The Stalinist state has not issued an invitation for the delegation as of 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Moody’s delegates will meet with officials from the Finance Ministry, the National Assembly, the Bank of Korea and other government offices in Seoul from Feb. 12-14.

In the meetings, the two sides will discuss South Korea’s macroeconomic policies, fiscal stability, ongoing negotiations on a U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement and the North Korean nuclear issue.

Moody’s upgraded South Korea’s rating to A3 in March 2002, its seventh-highest investment grade.

Moody’s Investors Service is a credit rating, research and risk analysis company. It has more than 9,000 customer accounts and employs more than 2,400 people, including more than 1,000 analysts, according to its Web site.

The Seoul branch of Goldman Sachs did not provide much detail on the scheduled visit.

The number of North Koreans working for the 18 South Korean firms at the industrial complex surpassed 10,000 late last year.

In 2012, the complex is expected to house about 2,000 South Korean manufacturers employing about half a million North Koreans, according to the Ministry of Unification.


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