Senior U.S. official to visit S. Korea for economic talks

WASHINGTON-- A senior U.S. official will travel to South Korea this week to lead bilateral discussions on enhancing economic cooperation, the State Department said Monday.

Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy Security and the Environment Keith Krach plans to arrive in Seoul on Tuesday for a three-day stay and lead the U.S. delegation to the 4th Senior Economic Dialogue and the third Joint Public-Private Economic Forum on Wednesday and Thursday, the department said in a statement.

The discussions aim to "advance U.S.-ROK economic cooperation under the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy and the ROK's New Southern Policy," it said, referring to South Korea by its official name, the Republic of Korea.

The Indo-Pacific Strategy seeks to ensure a free and open region with freedom of the seas, while the New Southern Policy centers on deepening Seoul's economic and diplomatic cooperation with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations and India.

The department said economic cooperation between South Korea and the United States has included a bilateral free trade agreement and growing mutual direct investment.

Last year, it said, South Korea invested an all-time high of US$58.3 billion in the U.S., supporting more than 53,000 American jobs, while the U.S. invested $41.5 billion in South Korea and supported 120,000 South Korean jobs.

"The two countries have a strong economic relationship underpinned by over $167 billion of two-way trade in goods and services," the statement said, adding that the two countries also work together in environment, science, health, development, technology, space, cyber and digital economy.

In Seoul, Krach will meet with South Korean government officials and representatives of the two countries' business communities.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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