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Korea, US ink 23 MOUs to rachet up tech alliance

By Park Han-na

Published : April 26, 2023 - 15:51

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President Yoon Suk Yeol poses with business leaders and government officials from South Korea and the United States at the US-Korea Business Forum at the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington on Tuesday. (Yonhap) President Yoon Suk Yeol poses with business leaders and government officials from South Korea and the United States at the US-Korea Business Forum at the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

 

Business leaders from South Korea and the United States signed dozens of non-binding deals and discuss ways to enhance cooperation in semiconductors, future vehicles and clean energy on Tuesday.

During President Yoon Suk Yeol's state visit to the US marking the 70th anniversary of the US-South Korean alliance, two events hosted by the Federation of Korean Industries – the Korea-US Business Roundtable and the Korea-US Business Forum were held at the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington.

The events were held as the Korean and US leaders emphasized their will to expand bilateral relations from the traditional "diplomatic and security alliance" to an "industrial and technological alliance" in the face of rapid changes in the international political order and supply chain transformation.

With Yoon in attendance, a total of 39 representatives of major Korean conglomerates including Samsung, SK, Hyundai Motor, LG and Lotte, as well as top executives of US companies such as Qualcomm, IBM, Microsoft, Boeing, GE, and Tesla, took part in the roundtable.

Noting the growth in two-way investment, Yoon said he expects great synergy, as the US is a powerhouse of core and original technology while Korea has advanced manufacturing capabilities.

“Thanks to large-scale investments by Korean semiconductor companies, Texas has emerged as the core of the semiconductor supply chain, and with investments by Korean car battery makers, Georgia and Michigan are transforming into hubs for electric vehicles,” he said. "US companies are expanding their investments in high-tech industries in Korea."

He highlighted the pledges' potential to provide cutting-edge technologies to the Korean industry.

During the business forum, companies and institutions from the two countries signed 23 memorandums of understanding in various fields.

By sector, 10 agreements were in high-tech industries such as batteries, bio, self-driving cars, aviation and robots, and 13 cases were in the clean energy sector, such as hydrogen, nuclear power, and carbon neutrality.

According to the MOUs, companies, research institutes, and public institutions will promote cooperation through joint research, human resource exchange, product development, and certification standards.

In the field of robots, Doosan and Doosan Robotics signed an MOU with Rockwell, a factory automation solution company, to strengthen cooperation in technology development and marketing for smart factories.

In the aviation industry, the Korea Evaluation Institute of Industrial Technology and Boeing have decided to conduct joint research and human resource exchanges in commercial aircraft production systems and mobility technologies for urban aviation.

In the small module nuclear power plant sector, Doosan Enerbility, along with Export-Import Bank of America, cooperates with NuScale Power of the US in technical support, supply chain development, and export financing to expand SMR exports.

SK Innovation and SK Inc. have agreed to pursue joint projects with KHNP in the construction, operation, and management of fourth-generation small modular reactors with Terra Power, a company invested in by Microsoft Founder Bill Gates.

Korea National Oil Corporation and SK Materials signed an agreement to jointly promote clean hydrogen and carbon capture and storage fields with US oil major Exxon Mobil.