Busan, South Korea – The task force for the Busan-Ulsan-Gyeongsangnam Metropolitan Economic Alliance visited the National Assembly, seeking to procure funds to elevate the Busan-Ulsan-Gyeongsangnam region as a premier economic zone in Northeast Asia.
The establishment of the Busan-Ulsan-Gyeongsangnam Metropolitan Economic Alliance was predicated on the unanimous understanding among the mayors and governor of Busan, Ulsan, and Gyeongsangnam regions. Despite earlier challenges when a special coalition aimed at Ulsan and Gyeongsangnam-do faced obstacles, the regional leaders felt it was imperative to maintain metropolitan collaboration at a significant level. This shared vision led to an agreement to establish the Economic Alliance as an administrative council.
A broader context reveals the impetus for this initiative. Over half of South Korea’s population resides in the capital region, with 90% of the nation’s top 100 companies headquartered there. Moreover, a staggering 72.1% of credit card expenditures originate from this region. The intense concentration in the capital region is a topic of concern, not only for the Busan-Ulsan-Gyeongsangnam area but for all non-capital regions across South Korea.
In response, research institutes and technoparks from the three areas, spearheaded by the Alliance’s task force, formulated a comprehensive set of strategies under the banner of the “Busan-Ulsan-Gyeongsangnam Metropolitan Area Development Plan.” This plan received its final approval on October 4th, 2023, although it remains open to future modifications. The overarching vision encompasses the development of the Busan, Ulsan, Changwon, and Jinju cities as pivotal hubs for regional growth. Twelve core projects and 69 specific action tasks have been outlined. The anticipated budget required for the full realization of these initiatives stands at a substantial 41 trillion KRW.
During their recent parliamentary outreach, the task force ardently appealed to committee members, advocating for the inclusion of the region’s paramount projects in the forthcoming year’s budget. Among the highlighted projects are:
- The construction of the Chojeong-Hwamyeong Metropolitan Road.
- The development of the Busan New Port-Gimhae Expressway.
- Pioneering work in eco-friendly ship propulsion technologies.
- Efforts to lay the groundwork for integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) with the manufacturing sector in the Yeongnam region.
The Head of Planning & Coordination for Busan emphasized, “Our engagement with the standing committees and our current joint representation underline our commitment to metropolitan collaboration. We are optimistic that the acquisition of national funding will significantly bolster our primary ventures.”
Concurrently, the Alliance has been vigorously active since their engagement with the regional National Assembly offices, ensuring every avenue is explored in their quest to bolster their ambitious regional vision.