|Songdo International City in IFEZ|
The free economic zone was started in 2003 to become a hub city in Northeast Asia, and has shown remarkable growth since. IFEZ has achieved its initial FDI goal of $1.7 billion, about 9 percent of the total FDI in South Korea ($19 billion) and a 2.5 percentage point increase from the previous year.
IFEZ has also hosted 13 international organizations to date, such as the Green Climate Fund in Songdo, the World Bank, Association of World Election Bodies and the U.N. ESCAP office. More global organizations are expected to come to the zone, according to officials.
IFEZ, the first FEZ designated in Korea in 2003, is now preparing for its final development stage, to be completed by 2020.
As per its “2020 Towards Global Top 3” plan, IFEZ aims to become one of the world’s top three FEZs by 2020, with business districts, leisure, education and residential areas.
Largely divided into three regions ― Songdo International City, Cheongna International City and Yeongjong Area ― IFEZ built the foundations during stage 1 from 2003-2009, developed its infrastructure during stage 2 from 2010-2014 and has now entered its third stage, in which it will finish up remaining construction and establish itself as a world-class city by 2020.
Key landmarks in the International Business District in Songdo International City include the Northeast Asia Trade Tower ― with 71 floors of business facilities and a hotel ― as well as Songdo Central Park, a recreational park with man-made waterways and water taxis.
Experts expect that there is much potential in the IFEZ from its proximity to airport and sea ports, as well as designating the area along with China’s Weihai as a “Korea-China Free Trade Agreement Economic Cooperation Demonstration Zone.”
Cho Dong-am, IFEZ deputy commissioner, said the zone should be driven harder, and that it should be designated as a relaxed regulation demonstration zone.
“This would be in accordance with the “choice and concentration strategy” that designated Incheon as a free economic zone and would provide the force for growth. We expect the central government to make a ground-breaking decision,” he said.