U.S.-ROK Strategic Cooperation Forum
Trade and Supply Chain Resiliency
As the alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) celebrates its 70th anniversary, U.S.-ROK trade, technology, and supply chain cooperation has become an increasingly critical part of the bilateral relationship. Amid intensifying technological and economic competition in the Indo-Pacific, leaders on both sides have emphasized the importance of both working together on trade and economic issues and strengthening the rules-based system in the Indo-Pacific. In the context of these deepening ties, the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) and the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) hosted the first U.S.-ROK Strategic Cooperation Forum, which focused on the themes of trade and supply chain resiliency.
Held on September 12, 2023, the Forum was attended by over 125 U.S. and ROK government officials, academic and think tank experts, corporate representatives, and members of the media. NBR President Roy Kamphausen and Ambassador of the ROK to the United States Cho Hyundong provided opening remarks, followed by a keynote speech from U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves. NBR Vice President for Research Alison Szalwinski moderated a panel discussion with four U.S. and Korean experts on bilateral trade, investment, and business ties.
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Cho highlighted that in addition to the growing bilateral trade relationship, expanding investment from Korean companies into the United States in the wake of major U.S. legislative developments is also providing an important pathway for bilateral economic cooperation. He also highlighted the positive developments from the Biden-Yoon meetings and the recent trilateral meetings with Japan in the wake of the Camp David summit.
Deputy Secretary Graves’ keynote address previewed, for the first time publicly, his upcoming trip to Seoul for bilateral meetings with Korean counterparts. He acknowledged that several pressing issues, including the need to coordinate more closely regarding export controls, engagement with China, and semiconductor industrial policy, will require efforts to find common ground, but expressed optimism for deeper collaboration moving forward.
The panel discussion featured Barbara Weisel (Rock Creek Global Advisors), Sungyeol Kim, (ROK Embassy to the United States), Jihyung Lee (KOTRA), and Tami Overby (Albright Stonebridge Group and NBR Board of Advisors). The panelists provided additional context on the key features of the bilateral trade, investment, technology, supply chain, and business relationship, and highlighted tangible areas for deeper cooperation.
NBR President Roy Kamphausen with KOTRA Executive Vice President for Economic Cooperation and Trade Affairs Jihyung Lee.
Left: NBR President Roy Kamphausen with ROK Ambassador to the United States Cho Hyundong and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves. Right: NBR President Roy Kamphausen provides welcome remarks at the Forum.