Leading Projects to Perk Up Regional Economies

MKE announces 20 leading projects to be carried out according to the government's 5+2 plan

The government has chosen 20 leading projects to be implemented in greater economic spheres outside of the Seoul Metropolitan area, according to the government's Greater Economic Cluster Development Plan (5+2) to reinvigorate the moribund regional economies.
The confirmation of the leading projects came on May 11 after six months of discussions between central and regional governments that began last Sept. 10, when the Presidential Committee on Balanced National Development approved the Greater Economic Cluster Development Plan (5+2).
The plan is part of the new government's vision of developing industrial complexes by 2012 and the four roadmaps for the implementation of the vision call for establishing greater economic sphere clusters; upgrading the structure of industrial complexes; building up eco-industrial parks (EIP) for ensuring low-carbon green growth; and setting up a network for global marketing promotion.
Kim Young-sam, director of the Industrial Economic Policy Division at the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, said a combined 900 billion won will be poured into implementing the 20 leading projects ! four projects in each of the four economic spheres and two each in Jeju and Gangwon Province ! for three years from 2009. The leading project program is to begin with 200 billion in investments for 2009, the first year of the program, of which 80 percent or 160 billion won is earmarked based on the basis of the objectives and specialized evaluations. The remaining 40 billion won will be disbursed in the third quarter of this year as incentives.
The detailed leading project program is designed to focus on specific targets of projects whose short-term outcomes will be achieved in three years, and the private sector's R&D projects benefiting provincial companies suffering from difficulties caused by the economic downturn. The leading projects will be connected with the new growth engine initiative, and the outcomes of the projects will be designed to enhance national competitiveness.
The government expects the leading projects to yield results ! a boost of $6 billion in exports and the creation of 20,000 jobs in three years ! and the leading project program will serve as an opportunity for cities and provinces to move forward under collaboration, departing from the past's outdated rivalry and regionalism.
The leading projects will be launched in June after a support corps of the leading project program is established as an incorporated entity.
For example, for leading projects in two areas ! the new/renewable energy field and eco-friendly parts and materials field ! have been assigned to the greater Honam (Jeolla provinces) economic sphere.
In the greater Honnam economic sphere, the so-called Northeast Asia Photovoltaic Industry Cluster will be established to develop high-performance photovoltaic battery materials, silicon ingots for photovoltaic batteries and wafer equipment. The Southwestern Coast Wind Power Hub will be set up to develop such wind power plants as a 3MW-class wind power generation system on the west coast.
The so-called 5+2 plan was enumerated by the government during the 3rd Industrial Cluster Day, organized by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, the Presidential Committee on Balanced National Development and KICOX, at the Sheraton Walker Hill Hotel in Seoul on Nov. 12.
Titled "Recreating Competitive Global Innovation Clusters," the Cluster Day anniversary event was attended by roughly 500 notables, including representatives of industry, academia and research circles.
In a message at the opening ceremony, Choe Sang-chuel, chairman of the Presidential Committee on balanced National Development, said, "Every country in the world is concurrently pursuing both conurbation and decentralization to strengthen the competitive power of its regions. The Lee Myung-bak government has promoted policies to establish a wide-ranging economic zone and develop specialized regions in a move to keep abreast of the global trend, while continuing to implement the balanced national development policy pursued by his predecessors.
"The industrial complexes are the integrated areas of the manufacturing industry, a major sector of the Korean economy, and have played a pivotal role in developing the economy of the country and its regions. They will be recreated as a combined place where industrial activities and the living environment coexist in perfect harmony. Recreated industrial complexes are expected to greatly help strengthen the nation's competitive power and stimulate the region's economic growth." KICOX President Park Bong-kyu said in a welcoming message at the opening ceremony, "The industrial complexes, which are the integrated areas of the manufacturing industry, often dubbed the principle engine of growth, require renovation and restructuring as the external environment has become tougher, the knowledge-based economy has been adopted, corporate positions have been changed in terms of demand, the traditional manufacturing industry has turned into a higher-value-added business, the industrial complexes have become obsolete and low-carbon green growth has been emerging as an issue." nw

KICOX President Park Bong-kyu

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