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KITA chairman urges US, Korean business leaders to strengthen ties

Amid ongoing talks with the US government to amend the bilateral free trade agreement with South Korea, the head of the nation’s largest group of exporters on Tuesday evening urged business leaders to strengthen cooperation, stressing that it would benefit both in the fast changing trade environment.

Speaking at a forum held to welcome members of US congress visiting Seoul, Kim In-ho, Chairman of the Korea International Trade Association said that business leaders should promote bilateral exchanges more to better deal with the growing uncertainty over the global economy and seek breakthroughs in technological challenges in the future. The strong alliance between the two countries is the basis of the bilateral cooperation and KITA will play an active role to strengthen ties, he said.

Kim was greeting a group of congressional delegates including Rep. Edward Royce, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the US House of Representatives, Rep. Ami Vera, co-chairman of Korea Caucus and Rep. Ted Yoho, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.
 
KITA Chairman Kim In-ho (right) shakes hands with US Congressman Edward Royce at a reception held in Seoul, Tuesday. (Yonhap)
KITA Chairman Kim In-ho (right) shakes hands with US Congressman Edward Royce at a reception held in Seoul, Tuesday. (Yonhap)

The welcoming reception also invited 50 leaders from Korean businesses operating in the US and American companies operating here. The list included James Kim, chairman of American Chamber of Commerce, and SeAH Steel CEO Howard Lee.

To bolster the bilateral trade relationship, KITA Chairman Kim and Rep. Royce adopted a joint statement that read: “To promote active exchanges across all business sectors to increase foreign direct investment and trade between Korea and the US, and to foster job creation and economic growth.” They also agreed to raise public awareness about the success of the free trade deal and build better environment for increased business, trade and investment ties, according to KITA.

CJ’s success in the US food market with its processing facility in California, for instance, captures the essence of the free trade deal, said Rep. Royce. The congressman was referring to CJ’s manufacturing facility in Fullerton, California which it built right after the deal came into effect, that the company has seen a double digit growth while sourcing ingredients from California and other parts of the US.

“The story of the KORUS FTA is the story of a ‘win-win’ relationship between the people of the United States and the people of Korea. It is because of this vital agreement that companies such as CJ can be successful in America and employ American workers.” 

By Cho Chung-un (christory@heraldcorp.com)
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