Korea backs US economic framework for Indo-Pacific

Woo Tae-hee, executive vice president of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, speaks at an event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. DC. Yonhap

South Korea’s trade and business minister on Tuesday expressed support for the new US economic framework for the Indo-Pacific, saying the 10-year-old bilateral trade agreement between the two countries should be the foundation of the new economic order. .

At an occasion held to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Korea-US FTA on Tuesday in Washington, DC, Woo Tae-hee, executive vice president of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the free trade agreement should contribute to the establishment of a “normative order” in the process of restructuring the global supply chain centered on the United States.

“The KORUS FTA, as the first FTA signed by the United States with an Asian country, has served as a global trade standard for the past 10 years,” Woo said. Russia and an unstable supply chain, KORUS FTA must be able to be the standard for US-centric global supply chain restructuring.

South Korean Commerce Minister Yeo Han-koo said at a separate event that the country welcomes the new U.S. economic framework, calling it a “good platform” to further expand their economic cooperation.

“The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) that the United States is currently developing as a new framework for cooperation in the region provides a good platform for our two countries to build on the successful experiences of the past 10 years of FTA KORUS,” Yeo said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the United States will focus on expanding exports of its vehicles and agricultural products to Korea.

US agricultural shipments to South Korea have increased 35% over the past 10 years, and South Korea is the largest buyer of US cattle products. But there seems to be more room for U.S. agricultural exports, she said.

There was “much more to do” to increase auto export opportunities, she added. South Korea was the fifth largest market for American vehicles.

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the KORUS free trade agreement, Posco America Chairman and CEO Henry Do also noted that thanks to the free trade agreement, the size of the steel and related industries has increased and the automotive industries of both countries have been able to develop significantly.

“KORUS FTA has helped increase car exports to the United States from $8.8 billion in 2011 to $17.2 billion in 2021, an increase of 96%, and at the same time, it has increased automotive component exports over the same period from $5.2 billion to $6.9 billion, an increase of 33%,” Do said at the joint session of the KCCI and the Chamber of Commerce American.

Lotte Chemical Senior Managing Director Son Tae-woon said the company chose to set up manufacturing plants in the United States to make the company a global petrochemical company and that KORUS FTA helped in the process.

“We have become an exemplary case for creating jobs and contributing to the thriving local economy through direct investment,” Son said.

“KORUS FTA has endured many challenges over the past 10 years. We hope it will continue to allow investment, industrial cooperation and consumer benefits to flourish,” a KCCI official said.

By Hong Yoo and reporting ([email protected])

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