Yoon, Biden make supply chain pledge at Samsung factory
President Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden vowed to work together to strengthen supply chains of critical components such as semiconductors on Friday.
The two men made the pledge at Samsung Electronics’ chip complex in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi, the first stop on the U.S. president's three-day trip to Korea.
“Biden’s visit to the Pyeongtaek Campus offers a great opportunity to reflect on the significance of a ‘comprehensive strategic alliance’ between Korea and the United States through semiconductors, an extension from the importance of chips from the perspectives of economy and security,” Yoon said in a speech at the complex.
Biden echoed the commitment to more robust cooperation.
"I and my country look forward to a very productive few days together where we can get to know one another better and explore ways to take the alliance between the Republic of Korea and theU.S. to even greater heights than already exist," the president said.
He also went on to tout Samsung complex was "emblematic of the future cooperation and innovation that our nations can and must build together" and a place where "the most advanced semiconductor chips in the world are produced."
The Korean government plans to strengthen an existing communication channel for discussions between semiconductor companies from both countries.
“The Korean and U.S. governments will reinforce cooperation on global supply chain management and discuss ways to further grow the semiconductor industry in both countries using different channels such as the Semiconductor Partnership Dialogue,” the Yoon administration said in a statement.
The location of Yoon and Biden's first meeting symbolized a commitment to build a less vulnerable supply chain for chips and other electronic components. Biden wants to ramp up domestic production of key devices such as semiconductors, and Samsung Electronics has committed to a $17 billion chip plant investment in Taylor, Texas.
Air Force One flew into a United States Air Force base in Osan, Gyeonggi, at around 5:30 p.m. Friday, with Biden accompanied by Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.
After a short greeting from Foreign Minister Park Jin, Biden moved by car to Pyeongtaek where Yoon welcomed him, the two leader’s first face-to-face encounter. Yoon was inaugurated Korean president just 10 days ago.
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong guided the two presidents through the complex, which houses two plants in production and four others that are planned and being built.
The highlight of the tour was showing Yoon and Biden Samsung's new 3 nanometer chips, which are made with one of the most advanced manufacturing techniques in the industry. It was the first time that the tech giant demonstrated the newest chips.
After a summit meeting Saturday, the two leaders will issue a joint statement on a wider range of issues including North Korea and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.
More specific discussions on supply chain management will take place on Saturday on the sidelines of the summit in meetings attended by leading business executives from Korean conglomerates.
The Korean companies invited to a business roundtable Saturday include Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, SK Inc., Hyundai Motor, Hanwha Corporation, Naver, Lotte and OCI, multiple sources with knowledge of the matter confirmed. The roundtable will be hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce and Korea's Industry Ministry.
The big conglomerates are expected to sign an agreement on Saturday with U.S. companies to collaborate on supply chains.
Biden will meet with Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Euisun Chung on Sunday, the last day of his Korea trip, following the automaker’s decision to build a new electric vehicle factory in Georgia.
BY PARK EUN-JEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]