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Four more FEZs for Korea

Four more FEZs for Korea

Seoul: South Korea designated four new free economic zones (FEZs) Monday as part of efforts to bolster growth, exports and attract more foreign investments.

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said the newly designated Ulsan, Gimje, Pohang and Pyeongtaek-Dangjin zones aim to contribute to economic growth by offering various tax breaks, waivers on import duties and state support for the building of plants and logistics bases.

Seoul first set aside Incheon, Busan-Jinhae and Gwangyang as open economic regions in 2003 in a bid to transform the country into a Northeast Asian business hub.

This was followed by the designation of the Yellow Sea region surrounding the port city of Pyeongtaek, as well as the Saemangeum-Gunsan and Daegu-North Gyeongsang regions in April.

The ministry said a total of 331.2 billion won (US$225.9 million) will be set aside over the next six years for Ulsan and Gimje, which could create more than 1,700 new jobs and increase production by 242.4 billion won annually.

Ulsan, one of South Korea's largest industrial cities and home to Hyundai Motor Co. and Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., is to be developed into a hightech logistics, trade and production hub for the country's southeastern region, while Gimje on the west coast is to be built up as a center for auto parts, machinery and reusable energy.

For the sea ports of Pohang and Pyeongtaek-Dangjin, freight handling capabilities are to be increased by an average 850,000 twenty-foot equivalent units per year with 12,400 jobs to be created for these regional economies.

The size of the Busan and Gwangyang FEZs are also to be expanded to make them more attractive for foreign and domestic investors wanting to increase logistics bases in the country.

The ministry, in addition, said the Masan Free Trade Zone set up in 1970 will receive 135.6 billion won between 2009 and 2014 to be used for modernizing its industrial and logistics infrastructure.

The funds for Masan are expected to increase production by 135.1 billion won annually and create more than 1,000 new employment opportunities for the southern city.  [9/12/08]