As prepared

Thank you to the Republic of Korea’s [ROK] Ministry of Foreign Affairs for serving as co-sponsors with the U.S. Department of State for this year’s U.S.-ROK Joint Public-Private Economic Forum.

This year we marked the 70th anniversary of our military alliance. As President Biden said in April, our alliance was formed in war, but it has flourished in peace.

This is evident in the growing economic relationship between our two countries. Since President Biden took office, Korean companies led by SK, Samsung, LG, Hyundai, and Hanwha Q-Cells have invested $113 billion in the United States, in crucial sectors including electric vehicles, semiconductors, and green technologies.

Likewise, the United States is now the second largest investor in Korea with innovative U.S. companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Coupang each announcing billions in new investments. These investments are driving innovation, strengthening supply chains in critical industries, and creating more than 70,000 new jobs for American and Korean workers.

U.S.-ROK bilateral trade has grown 74 percent since the implementation of our bilateral free trade agreement in 2012. Korea has become the United States’ 6th-largest trading partner, and the U.S. is Korea’s 2nd-largest. Our two countries traded $227.5 billion worth of goods and services in 2022.

Like the United States, the ROK is a leading producer of advanced and innovative technologies, including semiconductors and electric vehicle batteries. The ROK is also a regional and global digital hub, and a cutting-edge innovator in emerging technologies.

The ROK’s strength in these innovative technologies, especially its leadership in electric vehicle batteries, means it will benefit from the inflation reduction act and continue to be a strong partner in the fight against climate change.

One critical element of our global cooperation is promoting our shared economic security and standing together against economic coercion. Together we face unprecedented threats from authoritarian states, like the People’s Republic of China and Russia. The challenges posed by these actors only serve to highlight new areas — like protecting sensitive technologies — where we must cooperate with other responsible economies to reduce vulnerabilities and defend the rules-based international order.

Our bilateral economic partnership is helping us drive a shared affirmative economic vision across the region. We’re doing that as members of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity [IPEF] and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation [APEC], as leaders on development initiatives from the

Mekong subregion to the Pacific Islands, and as partners in efforts to reform multilateral development banks so that they better serve people in developing countries.

And in the Minerals Security Partnership, we’re ensuring that supply chains supporting critical industries are diverse and resilient.

In that spirit, the U.S. and the ROK are exploring trilateral cooperation with mineral-rich partners like Mongolia, highlighted by the inaugural U.S.-ROK-Mongolia dialogue on critical minerals in June.

We hope to expand such joint efforts to increase information exchange and concrete collaboration. Our development finance institutions are mobilizing financing for quality infrastructure and secure communications technology to help low-income and middle-income countries throughout the Indo-Pacific region take on the challenges that matter most to their people.

We were very proud to host APEC for an unprecedented third time in November. Secretary Blinken highlighted three U.S. priorities for APEC: interconnectedness; innovation; and inclusivity.

Across each of these lines of effort, our two economies have made notable progress. U.S. and Korean workers and entrepreneurs are hungry to help build that more resilient, more sustainable, more connected future.

They’re ready to work, to invest, to innovate — to drive the growth that will further strengthen the Asia Pacific region that we share.

We’re also working together through IPEF to create a more interconnected, resilient, sustainable, and fair Indo-Pacific region. During APEC economic leaders’ week, President Biden announced the signature of the first-of-its-kind IPEF supply chain agreement, as well as the substantial conclusion of negotiations on the clean economy and fair economy agreements.

This is all a part of our effort to make a stronger, better offer to countries in the region and developing countries around the world. That means delivering on the issues that matter in their lives, from high-quality infrastructure to inclusive economic growth, to climate resilience and adaptation solutions.

It’s clear that our partnership spans a broad range of agencies and ministries. Our agenda will tackle supply chain resilience; science, health, and technology cooperation; and development and infrastructure cooperation, among other issues.

With our governments and entire economies cooperating closely, the ROK is a linchpin in our relationship with the Indo-Pacific. I look forward to continuing to work together to forge a prosperous future for our countries and for the broader Indo-Pacific region.

Thank you again for inviting me.

U.S. Department of State

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