Kaesong Firms Suffer from Ban on Trips to N.Korea

      November 26, 2010 11:33

      South Korean firms in the joint-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex are reeling from a ban on trips to North Korea in the wake of the North's deadly shelling of Yeonpyeong Island on Tuesday.  

      "The stock of raw materials is running short because of the ban, which came without prior notice," said Lee Im-dong, the secretary-general of the South Korean businesses association at the complex. Supply of raw materials, food and gas to the industrial park was suspended for a second day on Thursday.

      The firms are unable to transport their products to Seoul. "We suffer greatly from the ban, which came when we have to make a lot of winter clothes," complained a staffer of a garment company. "If we can't operate our factory until early next week, we are bound to have orders canceled."

      The Unification Ministry decides whether to lift the ban for the next day every evening. It plans to maintain the ban Friday but to permit the supply of minimum requirements for South Koreans living in the industrial park like food and gas. Some 650 South Korean staff remain at Kaesong.

      Bae Hae-dong, the chairman of the South Korean businesses association, expressed hope that the government will take "minimum measures" for the operation of the firms in the complex.

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