The Korea Herald


Gov't vows to cut red tape to expedite 46 tln-won corporate investment projects

By Yonhap

Published : Nov. 8, 2023 - 09:27

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Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho speaks during a meeting with economy-related ministers held in Seoul on Nov. 8. (Yonhap) Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho speaks during a meeting with economy-related ministers held in Seoul on Nov. 8. (Yonhap)

The South Korean government vowed Wednesday to ease regulations and reduce administrative procedures to promote the swift and smooth implementation of major corporate investment projects, including S-Oil Co.'s petrochemical plant project and the US Sphere Entertainment Co.'s K-pop arena construction plan.

The government presented a set of tailored deregulatory measures for a total of 18 projects led by private companies worth 46 trillion won ($35.06 billion) combined as part of efforts to address business challenges and improve investment conditions amid high interest rates and other uncertainties, the finance ministry said.

"While South Korea has shown signs of an economic recovery on increased production and exports, challenging conditions persist both domestically and abroad amid concerns over prolonged global monetary tightening and rising geopolitical risks," Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho said.

"To further support the recent economic recovery trend, the government will expand investments and promote consumption with the goal of revitalizing domestic spending," Choo added.

According to the plan, the government will consider a law revision to help S-Oil secure a site for a storage yard and a parking lot needed for its ongoing construction of a large-scale petrochemical plant in the southeastern city of Ulsan under the 9.3 trillion-won Shaheen project.

The move came as the refiner is facing difficulties in using nearby sites for those facilities due to an act on industrial cluster development, the ministry said.

The project by Sphere to make a K-pop arena in the city of Hanam, just south of Seoul, is also expected to benefit from the government's deregulation decision.

The US company seeks to break ground on the iconic venue before 2025, but it takes more than 42 months to conduct a feasibility study to review the potential lifting of development restrictions and to go through other administrative procedures.

"The government will fast-track licensing and other administrative procedures to reduce the period to 21 months in order to help them carry out the project as planned," a ministry official said.

The government also vowed to make special rules on the management of hazardous materials to shorten the period of building battery production factories and cut costs, as LG Energy Solution Ltd., SK On Co. and other companies plan to invest around 1.9 trillion won combined over the next couple of years in the establishment of new facilities in the central province of Chungcheong.

Other projects on the government's list for support through deregulation include the envisioned establishment of a branch of a world-class art center in the southeastern city of Busan and the plan to build a new airport in the country's southeastern region, the ministry said. (Yonhap)