President Moon Jae-in says regulatory innovation is a matter of survival in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
He underlined the importance of creating an environment that encourages the fastest development and use of new technology, to make South Korea the world's most innovative economy.
"Regulatory innovation was a matter of choice during the industrial age, but during the Fourth Industrial Revolution where businesses and regions are fused, regulatory innovation is a matter of survival."
The president was speaking at a gathering of governors and top officials from across the country in the southern port city of Busan on Wednesday.
The government announced the same day, a new plan that frees seven regions from regulations.
These areas will be exempt from 58 regulations and will be able to test their innovative technologies without regulation for two years.
These areas include Busan, focusing on blockchain technology, and Sejong City, focusing on automated driving technology.
South Korea is the first country in the world to take such measures.
President Moon explained that the steps are necessary to prevent domestic firms from moving their businesses overseas due to strict regulations.
He called on regional governments to support the global launch of products and services based on those technologies.
"Our rival is the global market. We need to take bolder regulatory reforms and measures that can attract foreign companies and resources and keep domestic firms from stepping outside the country."
Also pointing to the effects that the U.S.-China trade war and Japan's export regulations are having on Korea's major industries, President Moon emphasized that all regions need to pull together.
The president also reiterated the importance of strengthening local firms' competitiveness in high-tech materials and diversifying imports.
It's not an easy path for sure, but he made it clear that it's the path that must be taken in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Park Hee-jun, Arirang News.