Members of the U.S.-Korea Business Council and the Korea-U.S. Business Council (the “Councils”) highlighted the strong economic, political, and cultural ties between the two economies, as well as the growing number of mutually-beneficial collaborations between U.S. and Korean businesses. With global growth remaining slow, the Councils reiterated the importance of continued cooperation across a variety of sectors to advance our bilateral economic and commercial relations.
The Councils recognized the long-standing security partnership and its contributions to peace and stability on the Korean peninsula. In the economic sphere, the Councils once again expressed strong support for the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) as a platform to expand bilateral trade and investment ties and create new business opportunities. The Councils welcomed the governments’ efforts to address issues related to KORUS implementation as they arise.
The Councils look forward to working closely together and with both governments to ensure KORUS is fulfilling its potential and securing mutually beneficial outcomes with respect to goods, services, and investment flows. The Councils also highlighted the importance of discussions about our trade relations and respective business environments as a way to further broaden and deepen the economic partnership between our two countries.
The Councils agreed to work closely to ensure fair, free and competitive markets that meet global standards and promote innovation in the two countries. The Councils discussed the importance of policy coherence and regulatory predictability in ensuring a positive business environment, and expressed support for closer bilateral cooperation among Korean and U.S. regulatory authorities.
The Councils recognized the economic contributions of foreign direct investment in both the U.S. and Korean markets, and highlighted the importance of ensuring that U.S. companies remain confident in Korea as an investment destination, and similarly, that Korean companies remain confident in the U.S. To help facilitate further U.S. investment in Korea, the Councils agreed to work closely to realize a business-friendly environment in Korea for existing and new U.S. investment.
The Councils continued to focus on the demographic challenges facing our two countries, and discussed solutions to reduce the negative effects an aging society may have on work-force productivity and consumption. The Councils pledged to work together to address the coming demographic challenges and identified innovative medicines and financial service products as private-sector led solutions. The Councils also discussed the status of labor reforms in Korea that will complement the private sector solutions identified above. They shared a view that the ongoing labor reforms are essential to create a more flexible labor market that helps maintain Korea’s international competitiveness, lowers Korea’s youth unemployment rate, and encourage greater participation of women in the workforce.
The potential of emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), and the digital economy were highlighted by the Councils. They believe that new types of revolutionary applications and services, ranging in sectors from manufacturing to utilities, transportation to healthcare, and retail to agriculture will continue to emerge as the global economy becomes increasingly digital. The Councils pledged to work closely with both governments and each other towards the full realization of the transformative potential created by these technologies.
The Councils agreed to work together to promote further expansion of our bilateral economic and commercial relations and to achieve concrete outcomes in the aforementioned areas.
Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, Chairman, U.S.-Korea Business Council
Yang-ho Cho, Chairman Korea-U.S. Business Council