CEP Group Attends Launch of “Korea Matters for America / America Matters for Korea” Initiative

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the CEP Group Attended the East – West Center Launch of ‘Korea Matters for America / Matters for Korea” Initiative Washington DC, Wednesday, September 12, on Capitol Hill.

“The East West Center in Washington and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the USA, along with the Congressional Korea Caucus, launched the updated report Korea Matters for America/America Matters for Korea, which functions as a practical resource for political leaders, the media, students, and the general public and features infographics that illustrate the importance and impact of U.S.-Korea relations at the national, state, and local levels. The booklet and corresponding state and Congressional District one-page connections summaries can be accessed and downloaded online at: asiamattersforamerica.org/korea.”

The program included

  • Satu Limaye, Director, East-West Center in Washington
  • Young Jin Jang, Minister for Economic Affairs, Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the USA
  • Satu Limaye, Director, East-West Center in Washington (Moderator)
  • Bruce Klingner, Senior Research Fellow, Northeast Asia, The Heritage Foundation
  • David Steel, Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Affairs, Samsung Electronics North America
  • Ambassador Kathleen Stephens, President, Korea Economic Institute
  • Barbara Weisel, Managing Director, Rock Creek Global Advisors

Highlights from the panel discussion included

  • Issues driving South Korea’s refocus of its Defense Strategy
    • Declining service age population to support current military force levels
    • Shortage’s of munitions for weapons
    • Absence of ballistic missile defense systems
    • Financial pressures – US is pushing South Korea to effectively double tis defense spending
    • Alliance issues – US military assessment, South Korea is not ready to assume command
    • Geopolitical – Trump comments about South Korea; downplay of tri-lateral cooperation (US, KR, JP)
  • South Korea’s Economic Stance
    • Trade deficit with the us is down 41% YOY
    • South Korea is looking to expand its exports, particularly in electronics (audio) and automotive markets
    • South Korea currently employs 20,000 US workers in the 46 States
  • Major geopolitical challenges facing South Korea
    • Globalization and the attendant stresses placed on SK society
    • Continued US commitment to South Korea
    • ‘Unfinished Business on the peninsula’, normalization of SK-NK relations
  • US Korea trade relations*
    • Bi-lateral trade agreements, points of friction
    • Automobiles continue to be the major irritant
    • South Korea has been surprised at the US stance and approach to automotive sector to date
    • Trump administration sees it as necessary to rebalance the trade deficit in automobiles
    • SK had been questioning its ongoing relationship with the US considering the US’s approach to the trade issue

*Since this event South Korea and the US have signed a renegotiated United States–Korea Free Trade Agreement, also known as KORUS FTA.

The US Trade Representative’s fact sheet may be found here:

https://ustr.gov/about-us/policy-offices/press-office/fact-sheets/2018/september/fact-sheet-us-korea-free-trade

The text of the KORUS agreement may be found here:

https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/files/Press/Releases/KORUS%20Texts%20Outcomes.pdf

the CEP Group supports the East – West Center’s Scholarship programs

© 2018 the CEP Group

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