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Seoul, Washington discuss economic cooperation; U.S. calls S. Korea 'essential partner' for semiconductor
Updated: 2021-12-17 17:02:54 KST
U.S. Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, Jose Fernandez, stressed the importance of a strong bilateral economic partnership, calling Seoul an "essential partner" in chip supply chains.
He was speaking Friday in Seoul at a South Korea-U.S. Senior Economic Dialogue with Second Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-moon.

"The semiconductor shortages that were caused by COVID-19 highlighted the critical functions that these chips play in our daily lives and put a spotlight on Korea as a leader and essential partner in the global semiconductor supply chains."

The U.S. official added that South Korea has "much more to offer the global economy," given that the country has technical expertise and transparent investment rules.
Boosting economic ties with Seoul is widely seen as Washington expanding cooperation with its allies against China.
He also said the U.S. anticipates more Korean investment in the American economy.

Vice Minister Choi called Washington's Indo-Pacific economic framework an "umbrella initiative" to which South Korea will explore opportunities to contribute as a U.S. ally, along with the business community and various stakeholders.

"We sincerely hope that the bilateral trade and investment relations between our two countries will benefit from these acts, particularly in the areas of semiconductors, EV batteries, and green energy."

The meeting was a follow-up to the Moon-Biden summit in May, focusing on the global supply chain, science and technology, COVID-19 vaccine partnership and stopping the climate crisis.
Also discussed were cooperation on 5G and 6G networks, artificial intelligence as well as information and communications networks.
They discussed ways to diversify their supply chains following Korea's recent shortage of urea solution, a fluid used in diesel engines.

Diplomatic sources say the American officials at the meeting did not ask Seoul to join the Indo-Pacific economic framework, since that request was made already by Trade Representative Katherine Tai when she was in Seoul earlier.
They also say there was no mention of issues related to China.

The meeting was also attended by officials from South Korea's Ministries of Science and ICT, Finance and Health as well as those from the U.S. Departments of Energy, Commerce and others.
While in Seoul, the U.S. Under Secretary also met a number of local business leaders in the energy and battery industries.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.
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