Gyeonggi gov. eyes deregulation to boost balanced development

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Gyeonggi gov. eyes deregulation to boost balanced development

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Nam Kyung-pil doesn’t have a problem staying busy.

He’s the governor of Gyeonggi, the sprawling metropolitan region near Seoul that is also the country’s most populated province. The region is also home to a number of factories for large conglomerates and a hub of tech start-ups.

Most recently, one of Gyeonggi’s affluent suburbs, Pangyo, became home to the country’s largest start-up incubator, which houses renowned capital firms such as Yozma Group alongside up-and-coming tech entrepreneurs.

The JoongAng Ilbo sat down with the governor at the start-up campus to discuss a wide range of issues, from regulation, traffic congestion and different development projects to the widely publicized cases of child abuse in the province.

Q. Major cities in Gyeonggi, including Bucheon, Pyeongtaek and Gimpo, have seen abuse cases that have led to deaths of the children. What do you make of the view that there was an inadequate monitoring system at the regional level to prevent such tragedies?

A. There was an insufficient institutional framework to prevent the cases, as was the case in the outbreak and spread of Middle East respiratory syndrome.

But we can’t just blame that. At the meeting on March 16, we concluded that cooperation [among government bodies] is needed. Issues related to children are really broad in scope, and the problems take place both inside and outside of schools. So, one institution will be unable to handle the issue alone. The Gyeonggi Provincial Office, Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education and the Police Agency should work together. So far, the tasks have been distributed across different bodies. Therefore, the Provincial Office has taken on the role to become a head unit to manage and oversee the tasks.

What are specific solutions to reduce child abuse?

The Gyeonggi Office has devised several measures. First, the office is tracking households that don’t come to collect their child care subsidy. We have also asked for data on children who haven’t gotten their vaccinations from the Ministry of Health and Welfare. We discussed the measures at the previous meeting.

Gyeonggi’s daily commuters to Seoul have reported inconvenience due to traffic congestion.

That is an issue so complicated that we can’t quickly provide a once-and-for-all solution immediately. But we continue to look at different ways to ease the issue. One is the introduction of double-decker buses to carry more people. Gyeonggi operates nine of them and plans to adopt 19 more in the second half of this year. Gyeonggi will also expand the Good Morning Bus system, an intercity bus system equipped with multi-transit terminals. The province is also considering lowering toll fees between a beltway surround Seoul and the northern part of Gyeonggi.

To reduce traffic congestion, is there any plan to promote a residential system that would house workers near their workplaces?

The ideal solution to address the traffic issue is to build a city that houses offices, cultural and education facilities and residences. We are on track to develop such cities that measure at least 330,000 square meters (80 acres). High-tech industries should be the economic backbone of the cities, and a population of 30,000 to 40,000 will be appropriate for each city.

To create more jobs, there are voices that the regulation in the region should be eased.

Now, 21 companies in Icheon, Yeoju and Yongin are unable to carry out their investments worth 1.2 trillion won ($1 billion) because of a regulation. The regulation limits the development of any facility if the combined floor area of clustered plants reaches 60,000 square meters. We’ve called for making regulations more reasonable instead of eliminating all regulations. We believe that balanced development is important, but when the eased regulations help create more jobs and tax revenue, Gyeonggi can share the benefits with other regions.

How can Gyeonggi share benefits?

We are exploring different ways. For example, Gyeonggi consumes the most electricity, but the independence rate of electrical power is lower at 20 percent. So, Gyeonggi is looking for ways to compensate the workers or residents living near nuclear power plants.

But ironically, some people say that the restrictions on the metropolitan area encourage the higher-value IT industry to flourish instead of manufacturing.

That is a paradox of regulation. The metropolitan area is filled with a number of existing regulations. So, for a company to survive, it is forced to move toward new high-tech industries.

There is a big gap in wealth between the northern part of Gyeonggi and the southern part. Residents living in the less affluent northern part have raised complaints. Some people even suggest that the two parts be separate administrative districts. What do you think?

The opinion should be discussed not from the perspective of politics but based on demands by residents. If the region is divided, the northern part could fare worse due to a lack of total tax revenue. So, to improve the northern area, we should be focused on revamping infrastructure and easing regulation.

Gyeonggi recently experimented with different industrial economic models. Among them is an initiative called Gyeonggido Corporation. How does that work?

The project is designed to help small and midsize enterprises with less brand recognition and a lack of resources to market and promote their products. For those companies, we will allow them to use a joint brand called Gyeonggido so that those companies can collaborate in marketing, logistics and payment systems. The system is similar to how retailer E-Mart’s No Brand works.

As Lee Jae-myung, the mayor of Seongnam, came up with three welfare plans, people in the other Gyeonggi cities complained.
We can’t accept Lee’s moves. Think about how people in the Gangbuk region will feel when the Gangnam area in Seoul provides additional support for the people living in that area. Seongnam only considers the city itself, but the policy should win consensus from Gyeonggi and people in the country.

What will be the focus for the remaining term?

When individuals are guaranteed the right to pursue happiness, the society and nation become more prosperous. To realize that value, we should champion freedom and understanding with each other. When devising policies, I will try to reflect those values.
Nam Kyung-pil doesn’t have a problem staying busy.

He’s the governor of Gyeonggi, the sprawling metropolitan region near Seoul that is also the country’s most populated province. The region is also home to a number of factories for large conglomerates and a hub of tech start-ups.

Most recently, one of Gyeonggi’s affluent suburbs, Pangyo, became home to the country’s largest start-up incubator, which houses renowned capital firms such as Yozma Group alongside up-and-coming tech entrepreneurs.

The JoongAng Ilbo sat down with the governor at the start-up campus to discuss a wide range of issues, from regulation, traffic congestion and different development projects to the widely publicized cases of child abuse in the province.

Q. Major cities in Gyeonggi, including Bucheon, Pyeongtaek and Gimpo, have seen abuse cases that have led to deaths of the children. What do you make of the view that there was an inadequate monitoring system at the regional level to prevent such tragedies?

A. There was an insufficient institutional framework to prevent the cases, as was the case in the outbreak and spread of Middle East respiratory syndrome.

But we can’t just blame that. At the meeting on March 16, we concluded that cooperation [among government bodies] is needed. Issues related to children are really broad in scope, and the problems take place both inside and outside of schools. So, one institution will be unable to handle the issue alone. The Gyeonggi Provincial Office, Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education and the Police Agency should work together. So far, the tasks have been distributed across different bodies. Therefore, the Provincial Office has taken on the role to become a head unit to manage and oversee the tasks.

What are specific solutions to reduce child abuse?

The Gyeonggi Office has devised several measures. First, the office is tracking households that don’t come to collect their child care subsidy. We have also asked for data on children who haven’t gotten their vaccinations from the Ministry of Health and Welfare. We discussed the measures at the previous meeting.

Gyeonggi’s daily commuters to Seoul have reported inconvenience due to traffic congestion.

That is an issue so complicated that we can’t quickly provide a once-and-for-all solution immediately. But we continue to look at different ways to ease the issue. One is the introduction of double-decker buses to carry more people. Gyeonggi operates nine of them and plans to adopt 19 more in the second half of this year. Gyeonggi will also expand the Good Morning Bus system, an intercity bus system equipped with multi-transit terminals. The province is also considering lowering toll fees between a beltway surround Seoul and the northern part of Gyeonggi.

To reduce traffic congestion, is there any plan to promote a residential system that would house workers near their workplaces?

The ideal solution to address the traffic issue is to build a city that houses offices, cultural and education facilities and residences. We are on track to develop such cities that measure at least 330,000 square meters (80 acres). High-tech industries should be the economic backbone of the cities, and a population of 30,000 to 40,000 will be appropriate for each city.

To create more jobs, there are voices that the regulation in the region should be eased.

Now, 21 companies in Icheon, Yeoju and Yongin are unable to carry out their investments worth 1.2 trillion won ($1 billion) because of a regulation. The regulation limits the development of any facility if the combined floor area of clustered plants reaches 60,000 square meters. We’ve called for making regulations more reasonable instead of eliminating all regulations. We believe that balanced development is important, but when the eased regulations help create more jobs and tax revenue, Gyeonggi can share the benefits with other regions.

How can Gyeonggi share benefits?

We are exploring different ways. For example, Gyeonggi consumes the most electricity, but the independence rate of electrical power is lower at 20 percent. So, Gyeonggi is looking for ways to compensate the workers or residents living near nuclear power plants.

But ironically, some people say that the restrictions on the metropolitan area encourage the higher-value IT industry to flourish instead of manufacturing.
That is a paradox of regulation. The metropolitan area is filled with a number of existing regulations. So, for a company to survive, it is forced to move toward new high-tech industries.

There is a big gap in wealth between the northern part of Gyeonggi and the southern part. Residents living in the less affluent northern part have raised complaints. Some people even suggest that the two parts be separate administrative districts. What do you think?

The opinion should be discussed not from the perspective of politics but based on demands by residents. If the region is divided, the northern part could fare worse due to a lack of total tax revenue. So, to improve the northern area, we should be focused on revamping infrastructure and easing regulation.

Gyeonggi recently experimented with different industrial economic models. Among them is an initiative called Gyeonggido Corporation. How does that work?

The project is designed to help small and midsize enterprises with less brand recognition and a lack of resources to market and promote their products. For those companies, we will allow them to use a joint brand called Gyeonggido so that those companies can collaborate in marketing, logistics and payment systems. The system is similar to how retailer E-Mart’s No Brand works.

As Lee Jae-myung, the mayor of Seongnam, came up with three welfare plans, people in the other Gyeonggi cities complained.
We can’t accept Lee’s moves. Think about how people in the Gangbuk region will feel when the Gangnam area in Seoul provides additional support for the people living in that area. Seongnam only considers the city itself, but the policy should win consensus from Gyeonggi and people in the country.

What will be the focus for the remaining term?

When individuals are guaranteed the right to pursue happiness, the society and nation become more prosperous. To realize that value, we should champion freedom and understanding with each other. When devising policies, I will try to reflect those values.

park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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