Operations at Gaeseong Industrial Complex resume on trial run
One-hundred-and-sixty-five days…. that's how long the Gaeseong Industrial Complex has been sitting idle but Monday marked a new start for the two Koreas as over 8-hundred South Korean industrial workers went to Gaeseong to reboot their machines and get back to work.
The South Koreans said that most of the North Korean workers who were there before the suspension were back at their positions on Monday.
One executive said he also noticed a positive change.
"Most importantly, there has been a change in attitude from the North. I believe the complex will become the backbone for enhancing inter-Korean economic cooperation in the future."
"Around 60 percent of the 1-hundred-23 South Korean firms were in Gaeseong and got back to work on 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 achieve normal operation."
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 co-operation insurance fund, which was set up to help the companies keep ticking 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 these concerns, the Gaeseong emergency committee will ask the government to extend the payback date, currently set for October 15th.
Kim Hyun-bin, Arirang News, Paju.
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