저작권자 © Korea IT Times 무단전재 및 재배포 금지
Foreign Investment Zone Set Up at Gumi Complex North Gyeongsang Province said it has designated a Foreign Investment Zone inside the industrial complex in Gumi, settling legal matters to provide tax benefits and other financial incentives to the foreign firms operating there. The investment zone, covering an area of 213,000 square meters, is a part of the province's initiatives to draw more foreign investment to the southeastern city, the province's investment bureau said. This is the first time North Gyeongsang Province has designated an investment zone for foreigners. Province officials said national taxes will be exempted for seven years for foreign firms operating in the zone as soon as the central government approves the plan. The firms will also save regional taxes for 15 years and those who want to build factories in the investment zone will be able to borrow the site free of charge for 50 years. One of the major beneficiaries of the project will be a joint electronics venture set up by Hankuk Electric Glass and Asahi Glass, a Japanese glass manufacturer, which has been building a plant in the Gumi complex since August to provide glass substrates for TFT-LCD monitors. "We are designating the foreign investment area to give legal and financial support for foreign investors in our province," Lee Eui-geun, governor of North Gyeongsang Province, said in a statement. "We believe the plan is a win-win strategy for both foreign investors and the people of North Gyeongsang Province. Foreign firms can get a wide range of support from us for their business operations in South Korea, while they vitalize the regional economy and create jobs for residents. " Province officials said the province will designate another Foreign Investment Zone at the Gumi complex for Toray, a Japanese chemical and textile firm, which signed a contract in March to invest a combined total of $400 million in the region over the coming years. North Gyeongsang Province in June, last year, signed a memorandum of understanding with Asahi Glass, which calls for an investment of $260 million by the Japanese firm in the Gumi area for the next five years. Asahi Glass plans to produce glass for LCD monitors from July of this year. "We expect Asahi Glass to create production effects worth more than 488 billion won ($465 million) in our region," Lee said. North Gyeongsang Province drew $700 million in foreign investments last year, becoming the most active player among 16 local governments in drawing foreign investments. Tax Service Publishes Guide for Foreigners The National Tax Service (NTS) published a tax guide for foreigner workers in Korea Dec. 15, last year. The booklet includes sections on how to complete a year-end tax return, tax advantages and policies for foreign workers, and frequently asked questions about taxation in Korea. "We hope that the guide will help foreign workers to better understand the tax return system in Korea," a spokesperson for the NTS said. About 2,700 copies will be distributed to foreign embassies and regional tax offices. Foreign workers can also download the guide directly from the NTS English language Web site at http://www.nts.go.kr/eng. An automatic calculation service for year-end tax settlement is also provided through the Web site. Factories Establishment Process to be Streamlined Starting Jan. 1, 2005, the approval period for establishing factories will be shortened from 30 days to 20 days following an amendment by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOCIE) to the Industrial Cluster Development and Factory Establish-ment Act on Dec 3, 2004. The notification period for factory registration will also be shortened from seven days to three days from completion of factory establishment. Additionally, matters requiring discussions with relevant government bodies related to factory establishment that are not replied to within 10 days will be considered settled. MOCIE also organized the "Factory Establishment Supporters Group" to provide close support for locating companies at individual factory sites. Comprised of 50 retired local government officials, the group will augment the efforts of the 10 Factory Establishment Service Centers that are run by MOCIE's Local Industry Promotion Department. The centers assisted in the establishment of 700 factories in 2003 but have lately been short of personnel.