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Ministry drives deregulation to attract service firms

The government will push deregulation to attract more service firms to the nation’s free economic zones, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The ministry’s foreign direct investment policy had previously focused on luring manufacturing companies.

“The service industries that FEZs will target for attraction include medical services, education, conferences and exhibitions, R&D and professional services, and business-support services,” MOTIE Vice Minister Kim Jae-hong said in a policy briefing held in Songdo, part of the Incheon Free Economic Zone.

“To attract service firms from those targeted sectors to the FEZs, the ministry will seek bold deregulation.”

The ministry said it would try to lift a ban on remote medical services within the FEZs as one example. The ministry said it hoped to create a globally competitive health care market, converging medical services, information and technology, and tourism.

Songdo will also step up its deregulation efforts to attract education providers from overseas, in particular, Asian branches of the top 50 global universities, the ministry said in its press release.

To attract international middle and high schools to the city, the ministry said it would consider increasing access for Korean students to international schools in FEZs.

The Yeongjong area within the Incheon FEZ that attracted the U.N.’s green climate fund last year and two multi-purpose resorts under construction will be transformed into a hub for meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions.

“The ministry will speed up construction of the second convention center in the district, while developing an educational program to cultivate future talent for the MICE industry through partnerships with global educational institutes,” the ministry added.

“The proposed deregulatory measures to lure more service firms to FEZs will be discussed further and be coordinated with other ministries before they are adopted,” the vice minister said.

Kim added that the development of service industries in FEZs would have a spill-over effect to the nation’s less developed service industries.

By Seo Jee-yeon  (