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S. Korea, US discuss new economic framework, supply chains

This image, provided by South Korea's industry ministry on Wednesday, shows South Korean Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo (L) speaking with US Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai during a teleconference earlier in the day. (South Korea's industry ministry)
This image, provided by South Korea's industry ministry on Wednesday, shows South Korean Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo (L) speaking with US Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai during a teleconference earlier in the day. (South Korea's industry ministry)
The top trade officials of South Korea and the United States on Wednesday agreed to strengthen their strategic partnership to actively respond to supply chain issues, new technologies and other major trade issues, Seoul's industry ministry said.

South Korean Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo and US Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai held a teleconference earlier in the day ahead of Yeo's planned visit to the US next week.

During the talks, Tai stressed the importance of regional cooperation through the envisioned "Indo-Pacific economic framework (IPEF)," which the Joe Biden administration has sought to launch in a move to better engage with Asia on trade amid an intensifying Sino-US rivalry.

The initiative would cover a wide range of traditional and emerging trade issues, including trade facilitation, standards for digital economy and technology, supply chain resiliency and clean energy, many of which Beijing has actively worked on.

"We proposed close consultations and further discussions when the envisioned framework takes shape. Our basic stance is that the two sides should expand regional economic cooperation based on stronger trade partnership," the ministry said in a release.

Washington has sought a fresh economic framework in the region, rather than joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The CPTPP was launched in 2018 after Donald Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) the previous year. The partnership has 11 members, including Australia and Japan, with China applying for the pact. South Korea is reviewing the option of joining it.

This year, a separate 15-nation regional trade pact of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, was also launched. It is known as the world's biggest FTA -- involving 10 ASEAN nations, South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand -- and the US is not a member. (Yonhap)

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