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KEI Spotlight

The U.S. and South Korea Must Continue Building on Their Strong Relationship

March 29, 2023

KEI’s Senior Director Troy Stangarone was quoted in Newsweek’s article on the U.S-South Korea economic partnership by DC-based attorney Gregory Tosi. This article was published on March 29, 2023.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the alliance between the United States and South Korea. Forged as a military relationship during the Korean War, it was formalized by treaty in 1953 after an armistice ended hostilities between the two Koreas.

Since then, the U.S.-South Korea military alliance has grown into a comprehensive strategic and economic partnership and is now the linchpin to security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. In the 21st century, the economic relationship is powered by the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, which has been in force since 2012.

Strengthening economic ties between South Korea and the U.S. will be on the agenda when President Joseph Biden hosts South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol in a state visit to the White House next month.

At the 2021 summit between President Biden and then-South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the two nations reaffirmed their commitment to shared economic growth. Importantly, they agreed to increase supply chain resiliency, including in priority sectors such as semiconductors, eco-friendly EV batteries, legacy chips for automobiles, and to support semiconductor manufacturing in both countries through the promotion of increased mutual investments.

This bold vision builds on a strong base. The U.S. and South Korea have invested heavily in each other’s countries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’ (BEA) most current data, in 2020, South Korean-owned companies’ assets in the U.S. amounted to nearly $174 billion, a total that has more than tripled from $48 billion in 2010. Further, BEA reports these companies employed 83,800 Americans and performed $1.8 billion in research and development. In South Korea, the asset value of U.S.-owned affiliates totaled $182 billion, while U.S. companies employed 120,400 workers and performed $1 billion in research and development.

To read the full article on Newsweek, please click here.