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SK’s Yoon Hails US Tech Alliance, Vows to Evolve Supply Chain

South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol was speaking on a US visit that has seen Seoul secure another $5.9 billion in US investment

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol delivers remarks to the US-Korea Business Council at the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC, on April 25, 2023. Photo: Reuters
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol delivers remarks to the US-Korea Business Council at the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC, on April 25, 2023. Photo: Reuters


South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has hailed his country’s economic and political partnership with the United States, as the two countries intensified their tech alliance.

Speaking before a Washington summit with President Joe Biden, Yoon told an event hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce that their bilateral security alliance should “evolve into a supply chain and future-oriented, innovative-technology alliance.”

Yoon said the South Korean-US alliance must “leap into a new phase” to jointly overcome complex crises, including slowing economic growth, technology competition with strategic rivals and climate change.


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He said the two countries’ economies had been facing new challenges and the economic slowdown was unsettling the investment environment.

“Competition for technological hegemony, energy issues and climate crises are casting more uncertainties on business activity day by day,” Yoon said.

Yoon said that from a joint venture involving a South Korean and a US firm in 1965, South Korea had risen to become the global leader in memory semiconductor production, accounting for 60% of the global market share.

“This cooperation should extend beyond semiconductors to future emerging technologies such as AI, Quantum, SMR [small modular reactors] and more,” Yoon said.

Core technologies from the United States and South Korea’s advanced manufacturing capabilities would “create enormous synergies that will benefit both countries,” he said.

Yoon said he hoped that during his visit the countries would reaffirm their status as true allies and advanced technology partners to create innovative business opportunities.

“Our bilateral investments need to be expanded both quantitatively and qualitatively, to build more stable and resilient supply chains.”


South Korea’s ‘No1 salesman’

He said the two nations were the ideal partners for “friend-shoring” – a reference to a US-led process of reducing dependence on China for key goods and materials although he made no mention of China by name.

Yoon said his government was working to create a fair and predictable market environment, offer significant tax credits and improve regulations to facilitate bold investments by US companies.

“The Republic of Korea and the United States have been painting a wonderful rough sketch together for the past 70 years,” he said. “The next 70 years together will be a journey of filling the rough sketch with well-matched colours.”

Yoon has pledged to serve as the country’s “No1 salesman”, making business diplomacy a key element of his overseas trips.

Yoon’s senior economic secretary, Choi Sang-mok, said Seoul has secured a total of $5.9 billion in investment from eight US firms so far, including $2.5 billion from media giant Netflix and $1.5 billion from industrial firm Corning Inc.

Six other tech companies which attended the event have together pledged $1.9 billion, including Air Products and Chemicals Inc, Plug Power Inc, ON Semiconductor Corp, Greene Tweed & Co Inc, Purecycle Technologies Inc and EMP Belstar.


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“Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the alliance, we were able to see at a glance that an advanced supply chain and technology alliance between the two countries was already being strengthened and established,” Choi told a briefing.

Yoon is accompanied by more than 120 executives from South Korea’s biggest companies, including Samsung Electronics Executive Chairman Jay Y. Lee and Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Euisun Chung, both of whom attended the event.

Earlier on Tuesday, General Motors Co and Samsung SDI announced plans to invest more than $3 billion to jointly build an electric car battery plant in the US.

Hyundai Motor Co also said it has finalised a $5 billion electric vehicle battery joint venture in the US with SK On, a battery unit of SK Innovation Co Ltd.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


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Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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