Go to contents

Sejong City Feared to Lure Companies in Other Regions

Posted November. 24, 2009 07:34,   


Cities and provinces are grumbling over the government’s incentives on taxes and real estate prices to businesses, institutions and schools that relocate to Sejong City, a proposed administrative region in South Chungcheong Province.

They claim that Sejong City will become a black hole absorbing the economic assets of other regions.

In response, the government reconfirmed that its policy on balanced national development will be implemented as scheduled, including the project for Sejong City.

The Busan city government is irked that a project that it expected to be added to a Samsung Electro-Mechanics factory in the port city was relocated near Sejong City.

Lee Yeong-hwal, director of Busan’s economic and industrial department, said yesterday, “If related agencies had a discussion on this, this leads to significant reverse discrimination against provincial development.”

Gyeonggi Province is also worried over the relocation of large businesses. It said nearly 100 companies have moved closer to the Seoul metropolitan area, including South Chungcheong and Gangwon provinces, between last year and September this year due to excessive regulations and high land prices.

When Sejong City becomes a business-centered city, attracting companies to regions like the Yellow Sea free economic zone could prove difficult.

“A significant part of the projects the city of Gwangju is planning such as a renewable energy project overlaps with the Sejong City project,” said Jeong Seon-soo, Gwangju’s director of policy planning. “I’m worried that businesses could settle down in Sejong City on their way to Gwangju.”

Wonju City Council Chairman Won Gyeong-mook said, “What businesses will come to Wonju (Gangwon Province) if Sejong City offers many benefits to them?”

The government released a document on regional development policy and planning written by the Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs Ministry at a meeting of the private-public sector committee on Sejong City.

The document said the big picture is to increase the growth potential of all national territory and secure regional centers for growth based on a strategy of three-dimensional land development.

The plan is to create five plus two large economic zones -- the Seoul metropolitan area, the Chungcheong region; Daegu and the Gyeongsang provinces; the southeast area; and the Jeolla provinces plus Jeju Island and Gangwon Province.

The government will also secure super-regional developmental rights including the south, east and west coasts and neighboring regions, and basic regions comprising 163 cities and counties.

The government decided to finalize the approval of the relocation plan for innovative cities by year’s end under a plan to sponsor regional centers for growth. It will also come up with complementary measures such as securing self-sufficient land and lowering supply prices.

More aggressive assistance will go toward institutional improvement and infrastructure.