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S. Korea to ease regulations, build more industrial clusters

June 1, 2023 - 15:13 By Lee Jaeeun
President Yoon Suk Yeol speaks at a meeting held at the Seoul Startup Hub M+ in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)

South Korea will build more industrial clusters to nurture innovative firms in high-end industries such as chips and biotechnology by lifting regulations and forging more partnerships with foreign businesses, the government said Thursday.

The plan also aims to attract participation from municipalities in cluster projects, as well as in ventures and startups, to enhance South Korea's industrial competitiveness.

Legal and accounting consulting services will also be provided to such businesses.

The plans were unveiled during a meeting presided by President Yoon Suk Yeol.

Among various high-tech industries, the creation of biotech clusters, which are high-value-added industries, will be specially promoted. Specifically, the plans aim to create a biotech cluster similar to the Boston biotech cluster in the United States. It is a global biotech cluster where the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, research institutes, hospitals and more than 1,000 companies are located close together.

The government will increase international cooperation opportunities to foster the biotech industry. During Yoon's visit to the US in April, Seoul National University Hospital and MIT signed an agreement to collaborate to conduct joint bio-research.

In order to strengthen research and development capabilities and build human networks, the government plans to send 50 young domestic researchers to the Boston bio-tech cluster every year.

To promote the bio-industry, core technologies related to biopharmaceuticals will be included as national strategic technologies so that companies investing in related facilities can benefit from tax cuts. A bio-foundry that automates and speeds up the bio-manufacturing process will also be established.

"Through the government's leading strategy, the Boston bio-tech cluster has been created. We should also make efforts to have international competitiveness by establishing those clusters where the best professionals can cooperate organically," Yoon said.

Meanwhile, eight local governments, including Daegu, Incheon, Busan and Gwangju, have each set up a "plan to create a cluster" respectively, and the government plans to select targets for support through consultation with related ministries.