The Korea Herald


[Newsmaker] 'China Valley' in Korea to boost trade

By Korea Herald

Published : Feb. 26, 2015 - 21:18

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The reclaimed region of Saemangeum, North Jeolla Province, is in the limelight after the government announced plans to create a Korea-China free trade agreement industrial complex in the area.

The government announced the plan to attract investments from the world’s second-largest economy, following the preliminary signing of the Korea-China FTA on Wednesday. 

An aerial view of Saemangeum in North Jeolla Province. (Yonhap) An aerial view of Saemangeum in North Jeolla Province. (Yonhap)

“The Korea-China FTA Industrial Complex will be built in Saemangeum Free Economic Zone,” an official of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.

“The complex is designed to minimize the regulations on construction, labor and immigration issues and provide a one-stop service for complex customs procedures,” he said.

The move comes a day after the FTA deal was initialed by both sides, three months after they finally wrapped up negotiations that began in May 2012.

Saemangeum, the site for the complex, will also be home to the “China Valley” project that was agreed upon in 2013 as part of efforts to boost bilateral investment.

In the mid- to long-term, the government plans to develop the region as a global free trade zone by reducing administrative approvals to ease companies’ burdens.

Anything that causes discomfort in terms of living, cultural discrimination and discouragement of economic activities will be rooted out, a government official said.

The 33.9-kilometer-long sea dike was unveiled in 2010 after nearly 20 years of work that cost 2.9 trillion won ($2.6 billion).

The government has been pushing for the project hoping that the area would emerge as an attractive investment destination due to its proximity to China, which is just across the West Sea.

Saemangeum connects the two cites of Gunsan and Gimje with Buan County, North Jeolla Province. Korea plans to develop the first phase of China Valley by 2020.

To vitalize exports to China, the Korea International Trade Association will launch an information service called China Desk to provide market information on Chinese firms and ways to remove nontariff barriers in March.

The YES FTA China Center, designed to provide faster customs procedures and certify the origin of products, will be launched at 30 customhouses in the country.

By Park Han-na (