Since Korea, China and Japan agreed in January to establish a permanent secretariat of an East Asian cooperative body in Korea, local governments here have started competing to lure it to their city.
The EU is headquartered in Brussels, which has been growing as a European hub due to the union's growing economic importance, with major global corporations opening offices there.
The East Asian body will start off with a staff of about 20, but 20 to 30 years down the line the picture will be radically different, the government predicts. It is this potential future value that is spurring local governments to compete in offering the most favorable terms. The central government is open to setting up the secretariat in a city other than Seoul to take the growth potential into account and achieve a more balanced development of the provinces.
"Korea, China and Japan currently account for 16.1 percent of total global GDP and 47.3 percent of the total global foreign exchange holdings," a government official said. "Korea's hosting of the secretariat is a huge opportunity."