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100 days after sandbox start, government wants more

Apr 26,2019
With exports falling and growth slowing, the government is looking toward regulatory sandboxes for help.

Today marks the 100th day since a sandbox review was ordered by President Moon Jae-in.

The government has allowed for a total of 26 such arrangements, the first involving hydrogen car filling stations.

It said that next month 20 proposals will be up for review.

In a regulatory sandbox, normal rules and laws are held in abeyance to allow for the development of new technology or innovative services.

It can be applied to just about any sector or industry.

The goal is to approve 100 or more regulatory sandboxes to help in the development of new industries, which will create jobs and drive growth.

In the newly proposed 6.7 trillion won ($5.7 billion) supplementary budget, 300 billion won in funding will go new industries, including 5G connectivity projects.

“The government should work to help more than 100 products or services with regulatory sandboxes,” said Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon during a cabinet meeting on Thursday. “We have to come up with plans so that these products and services can be introduced into the market in a short period of time.”

Similar sentiments were expressed by Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki, who held an emergency meeting for ministers on the same day after the central bank announced the slowest growth in 10 years.

The government “will actively support the creation of new businesses by speeding up industrial innovation by continuously expanding the cases of regulatory sandboxes to more than 100 within this year,” Hong said.

Since the beginning of the year, the Moon government has made economic turnaround its top priority, shifting from a focus on income-led growth.

With many people losing jobs after the double-digit minimum wage increases over the last two years and with key indicators suggesting economic weakness, President Moon has refocused his policies to champion innovative growth.

This includes deregulation and the implementation of regulatory sandboxes that could help usher in new industries.

The government said Korea’s regulatory sandbox initiatives are more aggressive than those in other countries.

In Korea, it takes two to three months to approve a sandbox proposal. In Britain and Japan, it can take six months.

The Korean government wants 100 regulatory sandboxes this year, while Britain on average approves 40 annually. Japan has allowed for a total of four since 2018.


BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]