The U.S.-Korean economic relationship keeps going from strength to strength. “As we look at the many connections between the U.S. and Korean economies, it’s clear that business is good,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel. Those connections include high-tech partnerships, investments in each other’s economies, and a bilateral free-trade agreement that continues to reap benefits for both countries.
South Korea is a global leader in the digital world. It is one of the most connected countries on earth, one of the most important inventors of digital technology, and one of the biggest manufacturers of tech products. The United States, as the most innovative country on earth, has driven the tech revolution. So it's natural, Assistant Secretary Russel said, that Koreans and Americans are partners in tech in so many ways.
An already strong economic relationship between the two countries has grown only stronger under the Korea-U.S. Free Trade agreement, or KORUS. Korea has become the United States’ sixth-largest trading partner, with two-way trade in goods totaling over $145 billion in 2014. Nearly 95 percent of consumer and industrial products will be duty free by 2017, creating opportunities for both countries to participate in joint ventures, make products together, and engage in friendly competition.
Economic cooperation extends beyond KORUS.
Assistant Secretary Russell encouraged South Korea to support strong intellectual property protections in Korea and abroad. "[South Korean] companies are among the world’s most innovative,” he said, “and any short-term gain from undermining [intellectual property] protections will hurt us all more in the long run.” He urged South Korea to push, at home and abroad, for a level playing field for investors and for fair, transparent, and predictable regulations in Korea, to make the Korean market more dynamic, ultimately benefitting all Koreans.
The growing U.S.-South Korea economic relationship promises greater innovation, prosperity, and employment opportunities for the people of both countries.