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S. Korea, U.S. agree to expand economic cooperation

All Headlines 06:35 December 08, 2018

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States agreed Friday to expand their economic cooperation beyond a recently revised bilateral free trade agreement to areas including health, energy and women's economic empowerment, both sides said.

The two sides held the third round of their Senior Economic Dialogue (SED) in Washington, led by South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Lee Tae-ho and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Manisha Singh.

The meeting coincided with South Korea's National Assembly's ratification of amendments to the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement, and was the first to be held under the two countries' current administrations.

The two sides discussed ways to strengthen cooperation under the New Southern Policy of South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the Indo-Pacific strategy of U.S. President Donald Trump, Seoul's foreign ministry said in a statement. Both policies are designed to boost ties with countries of South and Southeast Asia.

As part of fulfilling the two presidents' agreement to forge new partnerships, they also committed to increase cooperation in areas such as health security, energy and women's economic empowerment, the ministry said.

While agreeing to hold the SED annually, the two parties also signed a memorandum of understanding on economic cooperation.

The U.S. State Department said Friday's talks advanced Trump's vision for a free and prosperous Indo-Pacific region and "the strong bilateral cooperation that serves as a foundation for our solid alliance with the Republic of Korea."

Meanwhile, in separate meetings with Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Bob Casey (D-PA), Lee requested their assistance in gaining exemptions for South Korean automakers from potential U.S. tariffs on auto imports.

hague@yna.co.kr
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