2017-12-07 16:07
Korea to launch Saemangeum Development Corp.
By Park Hyong-ki

The development of Saemangeum is expected to pick up speed with the establishment of a state-run corporation dedicated to developing the huge reclaimed land along the west coast.

In a meeting presided over by Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon Wednesday, the government unveiled plans to accelerate the biggest reclamation project in the country’s history.

It includes establishing Saemangeum Development Corp. by injecting 3 trillion won capital.

As part of President Moon Jae-in’s campaign pledge to fully develop and make the land commercially available, it will offer attractive investment incentive schemes to attract foreign investors.

The plan also includes publicizing information about Saemangeum in English for foreign investors. They can find more information on its website (www.saemangeum.go.kr).

While the region has been left in the doldrums in recent years with no clear vision, Korea seeks to make it a hub not only for business but also tourism and a site for generating clean and renewable energy.

It is still under construction, with the completion of the whole area equipped with infrastructure such as highways and ports scheduled for 2023, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The management of the Saemangeum Development Corp. will be overseen by an independent committee, consisting of about 30 people from the public and private sectors as well as nonprofit civic groups to ensure fairness and transparency.

The office said the government has so far attracted more than 70 companies to the region, mostly through signing of nonbinding pacts.

Four companies, including Solvay, a Belgian chemical company, and Toray, a Japanese textile company, moved into one of Saemangeum’s industrial sites.

Besides areas for commercial business and renewable energy generation, land for biotechnology and agriculture is currently in development.

Its tourist assets are still being planned out at the moment.

Even though various laws for its development had been enacted, Saemangeum faced headwinds with lack of participation and investment from the private sector.

The government is also offering diverse incentives and administrative favors for businesses investing there.

Saemangeum will also harbor an international cooperation area to attract headquarters of global businesses, as well as an upscale residential area to attract foreigners.

There will also be an ecology zone, preserving swamps and other natural assets of the region, enabling both development and preservation.