MOTIE Minister Yoon Sang-jick presided over the 59th Session of the FEZ Committee on July 3.
Free economic zones (FEZs) are expected to face a massive restructuring in which underdeveloped districts will be phased out.
On the other hand, regulations on development within the FEZs will be dramatically eased and support for building infrastructure such as access roads will be expanded, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) said.
MOTIE Minister Yoon Sang-jick presided over the 59th Session of the FEZ Committee on July 3 and approved the first FEZ master plan between 2013 and 2022, calling for boosting development, expanding the attracting of foreign direct investments, and differentiate the FEZs depending on each one’s regional characteristics.
The first FEZ master plan is designed to take stock of the fruits of the FEZs made during the FEZ 1.0 era between 2003 and 2012 and present the new FEZ vision and development blueprint for the next decade — the FEZ 2.0 era from 2013 to 2022, said Kim Sung-jin, director general of the FEZ Planning Office.
The government told the FEZ Committee meeting that since 2003 when the FEZ system was introduced, the nation has seen the number of FEZs rise to eight, but development has been insufficient compared to the original plan, so selection & concentration, differentiation, and specialization strategies will be employed to boost development.
The master plan contains the redefinition of the FEZs’ development vision as “growth centers with a global competitive edge” as well as 12 detailed tasks in four strategy categories—reinvigoration of development, improved investment environment, strategic attraction of FDIs, and differentiation/specialization.
On top of the 58 trillion won spent on FEZs between 2003 and 2012, the central government, local government bodies, and developers will pour an additional 82 trillion won into developing the FEZs across the nation between 2013 and 2022.
A view of the 59th Session of the FEZ Committee, attended by MOTIE Minister Yoon Sang-jick.
Underdeveloped FEZ areas, such as the Yellow Sea Free Economic Zone, will undergo a massive restructuring, as FEZ districts without developers will be delisted from the designation of FEZs by August 2014. The combined size of the FEZs, now totaling 448 square km, will likely be reduced to some 300 square km, MOTIE officials said. Until development of the eight FEZs are complete, the designation of new FEZs will be banned.
The government plans to ease qualification terms for developers, expand FEZ areas in a phased manner, simplify the procedures of permissions and licenses, and diversify development fund resources.
The government is seeking to finish the development of the eight FEZs by 2022 by concentrating its available money and capabilities on FEZ areas with a high potential for development.
The government has decided to push a plan to build the world’s top-level foreign investment environment in a bid to attract FDIs and create more jobs within the FEZ areas.
Preferential treatment such as the allowance of telemedicine will be extended, and regulations on the establishment of foreign-invested hospitals will be eased to reinvigorate the service industry within the FEZs. Medical, healthcare and multi-purpose resort pilot zones will be introduced as test-beds for deregulating the FEZs.