S. Korean businesses to resume operations at Gaeseong industrial zone with N. Korea
One-hundred-and-sixty-five days…. that's how long the Gaeseong Industrial Complex has been sitting idle but Monday marks a new start for the two Koreas as over 8-hundred South Korean industrial workers are heading back to Gaeseong to reboot their machines and get back to work.
"Starting September 16th, South Korean workers will be allowed to stay in Gaeseong. After a test launch, the firms can start their operations."
Around 60 percent of the 1-hundred-23 South Korean firms at Gaeseong are expected to get back to work from Monday.
But the road to normal operations looks like it'll be a rocky one.
"Since the factory park has been closed for over five months, the firms are lacking orders from buyers. It'll probably take more than a year to reach normalization."
To minimize losses, South Korean firms in Gaeseong need to attract old and new buyers in order to operate at full capacity.
Meanwhile, the Export-Import Bank of Korea is pressuring firms to return money they'd taken from the inter-Korean economic cooperation insurance fund, which was set up to help the companies tick over during the shutdown.
Forty-six firms took roughly 140 million U.S. dollars from the fund, but paying it back could be difficult, especially considering they haven't made any sales for over five months.
In response to concerns, the Gaeseong emergency committee will ask the government to extend the payback date, currently set for October 15th.
Kim Hyun-bin, Arirang News.
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