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Former Hyundai Asan head begins overland trade with N. Korea

All Headlines 21:16 July 18, 2007

By Lee Joon-seung

SEOUL, July 18 (Yonhap) -- A company run by the former head of Hyundai Asan Corp. said Wednesday that it will import agricultural products from North Korea that could open full-fledged overland trade with North Korea.

Acheon Global Corp. said it will import three truckloads of fernbrake, fatsia shoots and dried noodles made from buckwheat and arrowroot on Thursday.

The shipments will be transported using the road adjacent to the railroad linking Seoul and Pyongyang. The two countries tested the railway that crosses over the demilitarized zone on May 17, but it is not being used to transport materials or people.

"This first shipment is important because it opens the door for further overland trade that can benefit both Koreas," said Kim Yyoon-kyu.

The former vice chairman of Hyundai Asan, which is in the vanguard of cross-border economic cooperation, said the route can also help small- and medium-sized enterprises that are having difficulty exporting materials to North Korea and then importing finished goods made in places like the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

At present, the only way to directly import products from North Korea is by the weekly ferry service linking Nampo and Incheon via the Yellow Sea, and Najin and Busan via the East Sea. Other materials are brought in through China.

Acheon said that bringing in North Korean goods by road could cut back on transportation costs. It added that this form of direct trade could reduce the risk of Chinese goods coming into the country disguised as North Korean products.

Kim then said that Acheon is moving to buy sand from North Korea so it can be used in construction projects in the South.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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