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S. Korea, U.S. will continue to deepen relations with KORUS FTA, economic framework: trade minister

All News 00:39 March 15, 2022

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, March 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States will continue to develop and expand their economic cooperation rooted in their bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) enacted 10 years ago and the new U.S. strategy for economic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, South Korean Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo said Monday.

He also insisted the Korea-U.S. FTA (KORUS FTA) will help the countries "weather any storm."

"It is a fact that KORUS FTA expanded the size of the trade pipe between our two countries over 70 percent over the past decade, double and triple investment flow in both directions," Yeo said in a seminar hosted jointly by the Korea Economic institute and Korea Institute of International Economic Policy in Washington.

"I'd like to emphasize that the decade long KORUS FTA was a game changer, which fundamentally transformed the nature of KORUS partnership into an equal and strategic partnership," he added.

South Korean Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo is seen delivering a keynote speech during a seminar in Washington, jointly hosted by the Korea Economic Institute (KEI) and the Korea Institute of International Economic Policy, on March 14, 2022 in this image captured from the KEI website. (Yonhap)

The Korea-U.S. FTA was enacted a decade ago on Tuesday. Yeo is currently on a visit for meetings with his U.S. counterparts, including U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai. Yeo and Tai are also set to jointly visit a South Korean-run factory in Michigan that produces SIC wafers.

Yeo said dramatic changes in the global economic environment will require increased cooperation between South Korea and the U.S. in many areas including semiconductor supply chains.

"Now, it is high time to plan ahead the future of KORUS FTA for the next 10 years," he said.

"That is why last November during the KORUS joint committee, headed jointly by myself and USTR Katherine Tai in Seoul, we agreed to continue to develop this trade relationship in a future-oriented approach, initiating new enhanced channels of communication to efficiently effectively address emerging trade issues in areas such as supply chain resilience, emerging technologies, and the digital ecosystem and trade facilitation," added Yeo.

He also welcomed the envisioned new U.S. Economic Framework for the Indo-Pacific, saying it will serve as a "good platform for our two countries to build on the successful experiences over the last 10 years of KORUS FTA."

"I'm fully convinced that our bilateral economic partnership, deeply rooted in KORUS FTA, will weather any storm and have our countries open a new chapter in trade, investment," he added.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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