1. The third Republic of Korea-United States Senior Economic Dialogue took place in Washington DC, the US, on December 7, local time, with Vice Foreign Minister Lee Tae-ho and Acting Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Manisha Singh leading their respective delegations.
° The first bilateral Senior Economic Dialogue since the inaugurations of the incumbent governments of the two countries took place in a friendly aura in the wake of the resolution in 2018 of difficult bilateral issues, including the negotiations on the revision of the KORUS (Korea-US) FTA and the exemption of the ROK from US sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
° In particular, with the ratification bill for the revised KORUS FTA passed by the National Assembly on December 8, the domestic procedures of the ROK and the US for the revised FTA’s entry into force have been completed. It is significant that the two countries held the Dialogue at this time to discuss ways to increase future-oriented economic cooperation.
2. In the Dialogue, the two sides reviewed the progress in cooperation, including in following up on what had been agreed between the Presidents of the two countries; and discussed ways to work more closely together in implementing the New Southern Policy of the ROK and the Indo-Pacific strategy of the US.
° The two sides agreed to work more closely together in such areas as healthcare security, women’s economic empowerment, and energy as part of the efforts to implement a new partnership as agreed by the Presidents of the two countries in June 2017.
° The two sides also agreed to explore possible cooperation projects in development, cybersecurity and the development of the Mekong region as specific ways to pursue bilateral cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.
3. Wrapping up the third Senior Economic Dialogue, the two sides agreed to hold the Dialogue on an annual basis; to conclude a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for economic cooperation between the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US Department of State with the aim to further develop the cooperation agenda discussed in the Dialogue; and to double efforts to step up bilateral economic cooperation on the basis of the ironclad bilateral alliance.
4. Building on the outcome of the third Senior Economic Dialogue, the Foreign Ministry plans to continue developing agenda items for future-oriented economic cooperation on information, communications, science, technology and aerospace, areas that could take the bilateral cooperative ties to the next level; and to work more closely with the US on global issues.
5. The head delegates from the two countries held a meeting with each other, during which they exchanged views on economic and trade issues between the two countries, including the progress in the investigation under section 232 of the US Trade Expansion Act.
6. On a side note, during his visit to the US, Vice Minister Lee Tae-ho met with Republican Senator from the state of Georgia Johnny Isakson and Democratic Senator from the state of Pennsylvania Bob Casey to ask for their cooperation on the automobile-related investigation under section 232 of the US Trade Expansion Act and for their support for the proposed expansion of the visa quota for Korean professionals.