Early SOC Expansion Planned to Attract Investment
|Baek Ok-in |
Commissioner, Gwangyang Bay Area Free Economic Zone Authority
In 2005, the Gwangyang Bay Area Free Economic Zone Authority will beef up its administration capacity to bring the Yulchon Industrial Complex to fruition as one of its chief projects. The aim is to attract domestic and foreign shipping lines for the purpose of promoting greater traffic in Gwangyang harbor.
Commissioner Baek Ok-in of the Gwangyang Bay Area Free Economic Zone Authority said in an interview with The Korea IT Times, 'The Authority plans to expand the Zone' SOC to attract investment in industry.
According to its master plan, the Gwangyang Bay Area will be transformed into an international economic free city, a center of Northeast Asian marine logistics center, and an accelerator of Korean economic growth. The Commissioner stressed, 'The Gwangyang area will accelerate the drive toward achieving a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of $20,000 and the area will gain a production effect of 113 trillion won, value added of 44 trillion won, employment of 85,000 people plus a tourist inflow of over 1 million people'.
Since the establishment of the Authority in March 24, 2004, it has attracted investment of $55.08 million as of Dec. 3, 2004 including the results of the satisfactory conclusion of 8 MOUs. To achieve such a performance, the Authority has undertaken an intensive program of investment promotion (IP) 7 overseas IP road shows and 5 held domestically.
Commissioner Baek Ok-in points out, "The Gwangyang area is central to a developing pattern of world logistics, a place where it is advantageous to locate in order to advance into Northeast Asia as well as the Pacific Rim, and the most suitable place in East Asia as an international logistics transshipment harbor".
In the following interview, the Korea IT Times spoke with Commissioner Baek regarding the Bay Area's development strategy, efforts to make Gwangyang as a place to do business for foreign companies, and the chief projects of the Authority in 2005.
Q: How would you describe the Gwangyang Bay Area's development plan and strategy
A: First, we will develop 24 complexes the Zone within 5 areas -- Gwangyang, Yulchon, Shinduk, Hwayang, and Hadong -- representing a total area of 26.91 million pyung. The project will be undertaken in three phases with completion planned by 2020.
First, the Gwangyang area will be developed for the logistical function of transshipping cargo. The Yulchon area will be designated for production with petrochemicals and steel earmarked as target industries.
The Shinduk area is reserved for education and health care functions. The Hwayang area is earmarked for ocean tourism and leisure, being designated as the site for a resort. Lastly, the Hadong area is slated for industrial development. The Gwangyang Bay Area is scheduled to be developed in three stages. The first stage, 2004 to 2006, will be the innovation engine creation stage. The second stage, 2007 to 2015, will be the expansion stage. The third stage, 2016 to 2020, will be the completion stage.
Q: To make a good environment for doing business, what kind of policies is the Gwangyang Bay Area considering implementing
A: If the Gwangyang harbor SOC will be expanded, this place will be well positioned to become a good logistical center whose accessibility to both international harbors and domestic traffic networks is excellent. Furthermore, because Yeosu Complex, the largest integrated petrochemical industrial complex in Korea, and Gwangyang Complex, which houses the POSCO Gwangyang Steel Works are located in the vicinity of the Gwangyang Bay Area, locating foreign companies in ancillary industries can achieve competitiveness, and secure a stable basis for growth.
In terms of policy, to create a good environment for doing business, the Gwangyang Bay Area Free Economic Zone Authority now has a corporate project team in place that can provide one-stop service for approvals.
Second, the Authority also provides comprehensive financial support, including reductions and exemptions on corporate, income and acquisition tax.
Third, we will strive to create an international quality of life that will involve sophisticated leisure facilities as well as develop a corporate mindset to help identify with, and support foreign business to the best of our ability.
Q: Would you elaborate on the chief projects of the Gwangyang Bay Area Free Economic Zone in 2005
A: First, the Gwangyang Bay Area Free Economic Zone will begin development of the Yulchon First Industrial Complex that will measure 2.77 million pyeong. Some 500,000 pyeong will be designated as a Free Trade Zone.
Second, for the purpose of stimulating trade through Gwangyang Harbor, the annual handling capacity of the Gwangyang container wharf will be expanded from the current 2.83 million TEU to 9.33 million TEU by 2011.
With a view to strengthening harbor services, construction of the Marine Center is under way and the Authority is aiming to attract some of the world's top logistics corporations, among them the Henry Bath Group of Britain, Hutchison Port Holdings of Hong Kong, and Cornelder of the Netherlands.
Third is the expansion of local SOC for the purpose of investment attraction. An express highway network to enhance accessibility to Zone will be constructed and the inland highway network will be further developed.
The Authority has also organized a task-force team with special responsibility for the Hwayang and Shinda
e areas to boost inbound investment.
Q: What is the master plan of the Gwangyang Bay Area intended to accomplish
A: I am confident that the Gwangyang Bay Area will be transformed into an international free economic city as a center of logistics in Northeast Asia and an engine of Korean economic growth. In addition, the Gwangyang Bay Area linking Yeosu, Suncheon, the City of Gwangyang and Hadong County, will grow as a city based on cutting-edge industry, education, health care, and tourism.
With regard to the impact on the local economy, production will be augmented by 44.24 trillion won, value added by 17.82 trillion won, and employment by an additional 37,200 employees.
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