Finance minister urges stronger ties with U.S.

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Finance minister urges stronger ties with U.S.

Korea’s deputy prime minister for the economy and finance minister, Yoo Il-ho, emphasized the need for a strong bilateral relationship between Korea and the United States and introduced his vision to strengthen relations between the two countries in order to revitalize the economy. Yoo said he plans to create more jobs and deal with global issues such as climate change.

At an event hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce Korea on Thursday, Yoo also promised to ease some of the regulatory burdens that prevent foreign investors from doing business in Korea.

The minister spoke to some 100 entrepreneurs and diplomats, including Mark Lippert, the U.S. ambassador to Korea; James Kim, president of the chamber; and John Schuldt, president of the chamber’s Korean arm.

Yoo emphasized that now is the time for the two nations to take another step forward.

Key politicians in the United States and the ambassador to Korea recently complained about the trade deficit and of Korea’s failure to fully implement the free trade agreement (FTA).

“The two nations’ alliance began when they signed the Mutual Defense Treaty in 1953, and the alliance took a leap forward in 2012 when the Korea-U.S. FTA was concluded,” Yoo said. “I dare to say that now is the time to take another step forward to evolve our special relationship into an all-around, global alliance.”

Yoo added that expanding the horizon of cooperation will not only create quality jobs but also provide an opportunity to reverse the trend of low growth. He also said the two countries need to enhance their partnership to tackle major global issues such as climate change, energy, health care and marine issues.

Yoo also admitted that there are some regulatory burdens that prevent foreigners from doing business in Korea and promised to ease some regulations.

“I am aware that a few domestic regulations have been raised as trade issues between Korea and the U.S., and we will improve the business and investment environment so that not just Korean investors but their foreign peers are convinced that Korea is a good place to do business,” he said.

“To this end, we will bolster regulatory consistency, transparency and predictability, as well as bilateral communication and cooperation with the U.S. in order to create a favorable environment for investors.”

Last month, Lippert said that Korea is still a hard place to do business and urged the government to ease regulatory burdens, particularly for foreign law firms.

At the chamber, Yoo briefly mentioned some of the challenges Korea faces, such as high youth unemployment and ongoing corporate restructuring, and said that he will try his best to solve the issues.

“Restructuring is a must, not an option if we want a healthier future,” he said.


BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]




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