Kaesong companies bringing their stuff out of North Korea

Posted on : 2013-07-15 11:55 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Companies still hoping that inter-Korean talks can get business going again at the complex
 Gyeonggi Province
Gyeonggi Province

By Kang Tae-ho, senior staff writer and Kwon O-sung, staff reporter

“The association has not yet determined how much the companies at Kaesong brought back to Korea on July 12 and 13, but as a rule the companies are coming out with two or three vehicles that are completely full of materials,” said Seong Hyeon-sang, the chair of the Damages Subcommittee of the Emergency Measures Committee for Promoting the Normalization of the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

“A significant amount of time would be needed to bring out machines and everything else that is needed,” Seong said. “Since the companies only have one or two days to bring it all out, they are complaining about the difficulty.”

In response to observations that some companies are bringing back equipment, Seong said, “There are certain companies that are bringing back basic equipment, such as machine molds that can be used in South Korea.” He said that, since the machine molds will need some work before they can be used again, some companies are trying to bring as many to South Korea as they can.

When asked whether the companies weren’t trying to withdraw from Kaesong altogether, Seong said that for most of the companies it would be impossible to move all of their equipment with a few vehicles in just one or two days. “In order to remove the equipment from the complex entirely, it would take at least a month and ten or more big trucks.”

The Corporate Association of Kaesong Industrial Complex (CAKIC) seems concerned that the removal of materials and equipment might make it look like the companies are permanently emptying out the complex. If they are not careful, the complex could end up shutting down for good.

But at the same time, the companies still feel as though they should bring back as much as they are able to carry. This is a response to the possibility that the talks about the Kaesong Complex could break down, which would reset relations between North and South and return to a situation where no one is allowed to visit the complex, as was the case for the past few months.

The third round of working-level talks between North and South at Kaesong started at 10am today, on July 15, but it is difficult to predict if or when an agreement will be reached. This is a sign that the companies at Kaesong cannot count on the reopening of the complex that North Korea is calling for or the “constructive normalization” that the South Korean government is talking about.

The Ministry of Unification estimated that 87 electronics, machinery, and metal companies operating at Kaesong brought out 517 tons of products and materials between July 12 and 13. However, they said that detailed statistics about what kind of items were brought out, and what the volume of those items, are not ready yet. On July 15, 159 representatives from 48 textile and sewing companies are planning to visit the Kaesong Complex to bring out materials.


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