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One in five Korean firms consider reducing business with Middle East: survey

March 1, 2011 - 13:31 By 문예빈

About one in five South Korean firms doing business in the Middle East expressed their intention to reduce operations in the region mired in an intensifying anti-government protest, a survey here showed Tuesday.

According to the survey of 300 companies by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 18.7 percent said that they consider reducing their business with the Middle East countries as part of risk-management efforts.

However, 70.9 percent said that they will continue their business for the time being, while 10.4 percent said that they might be taking more risks to expand business in the region.

The survey showed that a majority of Korean firms expect that the unrest in the Middle East will continue for some time. About 64 percent said that the current turmoil will not likely be resolved anytime soon.

Of those surveyed, 29 percent forecast the unrest would come to an end "soon," thanks to support from neighboring countries, but 7.4 percent said that the turmoil will continue for a long period of time.

Safety was cited as the most important factor that Korean companies consider in launching business in the Middle East, with about 30 percent of respondents saying so, according to the survey.   

Difficulty in obtaining market information, insufficient profitability and lack of related laws and regulations were also cited as the main factors that hamper their business in the region, the survey showed. (Yonhap News)