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Obama points out Korea’s trade barriers in autos, IT, organic food

Publication Date : 28-04-2014


Despite praise for strengthened economic ties between Korea and the United States with a free trade agreement, US President Barack Obama pointed out that there are still some sectors where American companies face a trade barrier.

“Under the US-Korea FTA, our trade has increased. These business leaders know concretely what this means. American companies are exporting more to Korea; Korean companies are exporting more to the US. So it’s a win-win for both countries,’’ Obama said during a roundtable meeting with American and Korean business leaders.

“We also know that we still have some more work to do to fully implement the trade agreement and make sure that we’re maximising its benefits, that our companies can compete fairly in areas like autos and information technology and organic foods.’’

The American Chamber of Commerce in Korea hosted the meeting at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul on Saturday.

Key Korean business leaders who joined the meeting were Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Mong-koo, Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jay-yong, Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin, GS Group chairman Huh Chang-soo and Doosan Group chairman Park Yong-maan.

Obama said that he raised the issue of trade liberalisation in a meeting with President Park Geun-hye on Friday.

“We both agreed that these are issues we can work through together,” he added.

Beyond the trade sector, Obama promised help Korean companies invest more in the US.

“I just want to remind companies around the world that if you are looking for a great place to set up shop, come to the US. We’ve got outstanding workers, great universities, incredible productivity, great energy sources and a pretty big consumer market last I checked,’’ he said.

In response to his invitation, Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin said Lotte Chemical, the group’s chemical business arm, has an investment plan to build an ethane cracker plant in Louisiana.


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