Gov’t to designate Gunsan as employment crisis area in wake of GM shutdown decision

SEOUL, The government will soon designate the southeastern city of Gunsan, which has been affected by GM Korea's recent decision to shut down a production facility, as a special employment crisis area, an official from the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Tuesday.

"The labor ministry decided today to take emergency steps to designate the Gunsan region as an employment crisis area," Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told a press briefing. The designation enables emergency government support for job security.

The move comes after the local unit of U.S. automaker General Motors decided to shut down its automobile plant in the port city located 270 kilometers southwest of Seoul.

Kim noted the area did not meet all the requirements to be designated a special area despite the shutdown of the GM Korea plant but said the government will revise related regulations if necessary to make it happen.

The GM Korea factory is said to have employed 2,000 workers, and its shutdown is expected to affect up to 12,000 laborers, including those at the carmaker's suppliers.

The designation of Gunsan as a special area will entitle the region to a wide range of government support that may include the central government's financial support for the local government's new projects to create jobs, the Cheong Wa Dae spokesman said.

Kim said the commerce ministry is also moving to designate Gunsan as a special industrial crisis district, a move that will enable direct financial support in the form of subsidies and low-interest loans to companies and businesspeople in the region.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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