Jeju City is endeavoring to be designated as a blockchain special zone. As the candidate for the special zone has narrowed down to Busan and Jeju, the city’s attempt to take the initiative is drawing attention.
According to the blockchain industry, Jeju City recently held briefing sessions twice in Seoul to introduce its regulation-free special zone blueprint, unveiling its strong commitment to the designation of the special zone. Jeju City invited 60 industry experts to a meeting held at the headquarters of ICON in downtown Seoul Feb. 27 to publicize its regulatory sandbox plan.
Roh Hee-seop, director of the city’s Future Strategy Department, told the meeting that “Jeju boasts a regional characteristic of expediting deregulation thanks to a special law ensuring a high degree of autonomous right.” “We will make the best use of our regional characteristic to build a blockchain ecosystem in Jeju.” The act on regulation-free special zones and specialized regional development, which will be implemented on April 17, is intended to introduce special zones where businesses are able to begin new businesses freely. The law envisions encouraging mayors and governors of non-metropolitan areas to set up plans for regionally innovative growth projects or regional strategic industries and apply for the designation of regulation-free special zones. Mayors and governors are supposed to include social and economic conditions that are comparatively advantageous in their plans. Jeju put forward blockchain, cosmetics and electric vehicles.
The Jeju municipal government is receiving applications from blockchain startups for the designation of the special zone. Based on the results of projects to be attracted to the prospective special zone by mid-March, it will file an application to be designated as the special zone with the Ministry of SMEs and Startups in May. Han Young-soo, section chief of the Jeju Future Strategy Department, said, “Local governments are supposed to apply rather than individual enterprises. Participating companies’ commitment to the special zone is equally important.” Companies that apply in advance of the designation are able to get legal advice.
After the designation of the special zone, companies can choose shelved or exempted items out of 201 existing laws and regulations. At the same time, companies could benefit from the rapid confirmation of regulations, temporary permission and test exemption under the regulatory sandbox scheme. “Companies should make the best use of ways to get out of regulations. If designated as a special zone, they can be exempt from regulations according to how they applied for exceptions,” Han said.
The special zone will be built, revolving around Jeju City. Spaces will be accommodated, largely near the Jeju Innovation Growth Center, Jeju Creative Economy Innovation Center, Jeju Seoul Tourist Hotel and so on.
An array of blockchain funds will be in the offing. The 15 to 20 billion won blockchain corporate strategy fund passed the Jeju Provincial Council and is under discussion with financial companies. A 200 billion won fourth industrial revolution strategy fund is in the making to nurture blockchain-focused businesses.
Jeju also created a variety of benefits for firms wishing to move to Jeju, including tax cuts, loans and financial support. “Jeju offers corporate relocation incentives that are 10% bigger than other areas. We will do our utmost to expand tax and financial support,” a city official said.
Seven companies have filed applications for the Jeju regulation-free special zone so far and applications are made via the Sandbox Jeju website. /firstname.lastname@example.org
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