News Analysis; Finance Ministry's Inadvertent Case of Sleeping with Enemy

Korea Times (Seoul, Korea), April 19, 2000 | Go to article overview

News Analysis; Finance Ministry's Inadvertent Case of Sleeping with Enemy


In a morning briefing hurriedly convened at the press room of the Finance-Economy Ministry Tuesday, Cho Won-dong, deputy director of the economic policy coordination bureau, explained the outcome of senior economic officials' meeting earlier in the morning.

``A plan has been devised to complete the sale of Daewoo Motor by August after selecting one or two priority negotiators through a review of proposals to be submitted by five contenders and to enable the wrap-up of negotiations on the sale of Samsung Motors to Renualt of France prior to the expiration of an extended negotiating period on April 21,'' Cho told reporters.

His remarks on the reaffirmation of the government's will to sell the two Korean motor vehicle manufacturers had some in the press wondering what effects Cho's remarks would bring about.

The current situation in the government's efforts to sell the two carmakers speaks volumes.

As for negotiations on the Samsung Motor sale, its creditors and Renault have been engaged in such a tight tug of war over the purchase price and payment format, among other things, that one misstep or revelation of crucial information related to negotiation tactics could result in the loss of a huge amount of money.

More specifically, the Korean creditors are demanding that Renault pay $540 million, while Renault is insisting on the payment of a small down payment with the remainder to be paid in installments over a long period of time.

Now putting Cho's remarks into this context, it wouldn't be hard to imagine that the French carmaker will re-adjust its negotiation tactics according to Cho's disclosure of Korea's intention to finish the sale by the April 21 deadline. …

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