In October 2015, the U.S. and Korean governments announced “New Frontiers of Cooperation” for the bilateral agenda following the summit meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Korean President Park Geun-hye. These areas include countering biological threats and advancing the global health security agenda; combating climate change; investing in a sustainable environment; increasing cyber collaboration; exploring space cooperation; and expanding science and technology collaboration.
The “new frontier” areas present good potential for expanding U.S.-Korea economic engagement, and a pathway of natural progression for the bilateral economic relationship. Beyond their importance from a national security and global cooperation perspective, each is the focus of emergent industry sectors in both countries with strong expectations for growth. They build on a robust partnership of science and technology cooperation that has evolved between the United States and Korea, and the growing convergence of U.S. and Korean interests in these fields also make them a natural area for cooperation at the global level.
This paper will broadly examine “new frontier” areas and their relevance to the U.S.-Korea economic relationship. It will review related previous and ongoing U.S.-Korea initiatives, and consider how engagement in these areas could build on other bilateral activities at the government and private sector levels. Success requires continued progress within existing economic frameworks, including implementation of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA), and broadening engagement to incorporate sub-national level stakeholders in both countries, including state and local governments, the private sector, and research community.