Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the U.S. Advanced Industry and Technology Corporation Forum in Seoul, Korea

Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the U.S. Advanced Industry and Technology Corporation Forum in Seoul, Korea

Sep 21, 2023

Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the U.S. Advanced Industry and Technology Corporation Forum in Seoul, Korea
Thu, 09/21/2023 – 09:15

Export and investment promotion
ICT Supply Chain


Thursday, September 21, 2023

Office of Public Affairs

Don Graves

Thank you Vice Minister Jang and President Min for the warm welcome. 

I’m delighted to be here at this year’s Korea-U.S. Advanced Industry and Technology Cooperation Forum in Seoul and to join this impressive gathering of government and private sector leaders, technologists, entrepreneurs, researchers, and innovators. I am looking forward to witnessing the signing of MOUs between KIAT, Korean institutions such as the Global Robot Cluster and Korean Institution of Machinery and Minerals, and American institutions including Yale University, MassRobotics, and the Manufacturing Alliance of Korean Engineers and Researcher.

This forum and these MOUs are emblematic of the deep collaboration—between our public, private, and research institutions—that will allow the United States and Korea to push the technology frontier even faster and further together, not only as global tech leaders, but as countries that share a deep and abiding commitment to democratic values and norms.

Earlier this year in Washington, Presidents Biden and Yoon commemorated 70 years of our security alliance, which has been a backbone for peace and prosperity in the region for generations. Along with our security alliance, over these seven decades, we have also evolved a unique economic relationship that is marked by Korea’s momentous rise as a global tech innovator and leader; a key partner to the U.S. in mutually beneficial trade; a growing source of Foreign Direct Investment in the U.S.; and an indispensable ally in safeguarding our international economic order, which today is increasingly under threat. 

Consider this:

As of last year, Korea is the United States’ 6th largest overall trading partner and our 12th largest source of foreign direct investment, with $74.6 billion invested.

In 2021, U.S. affiliates of majority Korean-owned firms employed more than 88,000 U.S. workers in communities across our nation, invested $2 billion in research and development, and supported $8.3 billion in U.S. goods exports.

It is impossible to walk down the street in the United States without seeing a product that is somehow linked to a Korean brand or technology.  Korean products and technologies—from smart phones to automobiles to heavy equipment and electric batteries, from chips to robotics—are inextricably linked with millions of Americans’ daily lives.

It is worth reflecting on how the next 70 years of the U.S.-Korea partnership can be as impactful as the past 70. How will we navigate the global challenges and risks we face, and rising threats to our national and economic security together?

To answer this question, we must recognize that the United States, Korea, Japan–which I’ll visit next week–,and other democracies, together, are in a high-stakes, must-win technology competition, especially with authoritarian adversaries.

Who leads on critical and emerging technologies – computing tech, such as chips, cyber, and AI; climate and clean technologies; and biotechnologies – will profoundly shape:

whether the world economy continues to evolve towards one based on democratic norms and standards, the protection of workers and human rights, and fair and mutually beneficial trade;
whether entrepreneurs, including in the U.S. and Korea, can continue to innovate technologies without fear of rampant IP theft[H(1]  or the use and abuse of sensitive technologies by malign actors in ways that undermine our national security;
whether we will continue to benefit from the free flow of information, data privacy, an open internet – the lifeblood of the modern digital economy;
whether countries in this region and around the world are able to pursue their national priorities without the threat of economic coercion, or as we’ve seen in Ukraine, even worse – a war of aggression.
The Biden-Harris Administration recognized this early – along with the importance of ensuring the technological advantage of democracies to preserve the rules-based economic order that has been built diligently over generations.

That is why the United States, under its Indo-Pacific Strategy, is undertaking unprecedented bilateral, plurilateral, and multilateral efforts with our allies to realize the vision of an Indo-Pacific that is, to quote the President Biden, “open, connected, prosperous, resilient, and secure.”

And the U.S.-Korea economic, commercial, and technology partnership is a linchpin of these efforts.

That is why Secretary Raimondo and I, and our team at the Commerce Department, are laser-focused on deepening commercial, trade, and investment linkages between the U.S. and Korea in critical and emerging technologies including cybersecurity, and by boosting our joint efforts to safeguard our critical infrastructure and tech innovation ecosystems from threats to our national and economic security.

The U.S.-Korea partnership is pivotal to two important aspects of our economic and technology cooperation agenda:

our strategic investments in computing, clean energy, and other critical and emerging technologies; and
economic measures we are taking with allies to protect our collective national and economy security from malign actors.
Let me explain.

The United States has turned the page on several decades of a largely hands-off approach to economic policy that favored deregulation and tax cuts rather than investing in our industries and workers.  As we did that, our adversaries and competitors took steps to erode our tech advantage and that of our allies by making strategic investments in their industries, tech base, and workers.

Under President Biden’s leadership, the U.S. passed landmark legislation such as the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act. And these programs are catalyzing what is the beginning of an industrial renaissance in the United States in critical and emerging technologies – across computing technologies, such as chips, AI, and quantum; clean and climate technologies, from renewable to nuclear energy and carbon capture; as well as space and bio technologies.

Let me be clear about one thing – investing in our techno-industrial base in the U.S. does not mean we are going it alone. When the U.S. builds tech capabilities, it enables both the government and the private sector to be better innovation partners with allies, in particular leading technology powers such as Korea, by expanding opportunities for two-way commerce and investment in critical technologies, joint research, collaborations on tech commercialization, and supply chain development, to name a few.

That is why industrial strategy investments, in our view, go hand-in-hand with deepening government and commercial partnerships between the U.S. and Korea in these areas.

Over a year ago, Commerce and MOTIE launched the U.S.-Korea Supply Chain and Commercial Dialogue with active working groups on additive manufacturing and supply chain resilience, including our CHIPS program; digital economy; and dual use export controls (more on that in a moment).
The goal is to ensure that American and Korean industry stakeholders understand the state of play in key technology areas such as semiconductors, additive manufacturing, digital, healthcare and health technology, and robotics – all sectors with significant [H(2]  [H(3]  two-way commercial and investment opportunities.

Similarly, the U.S. – Korea Semiconductor Forum we will hold this year will serve to connect interested public and private research institutions to strengthen our semiconductor collaboration. And potential follow-on work from the Minerals Security Partnership, where the United States, Korea, and others are collaborating, will help to strengthen the supply of critical minerals used in semiconductor manufacturing.
In early November, the U.S.-Korea Space Industry Forum will draw on U.S. space companies and Korean counterparts to identify commercial space opportunities, including on cybersecurity and supply chain resilience for space systems.
And the recent U.S.-Korea-Japan Trilateral Summit is another example of what [H(4] we are doing together on critical and emerging technologies, including establishing a supply chain early warning system pilot with a focus on priority products and materials such as critical minerals and rechargeable batteries; collaboration between our respective national laboratories; and more regularized, annual meetings between our commerce and industry ministers.
Our industrial strategy investments, combined with our bilateral commercial partnerships, are ultimately about the commercial deals that allow the U.S. and Korea to advance in critical and emerging technologies that will have an outsized impact on our economies. And we’re already seeing [H(5] the private sector investing in what I call an industrial renaissance. Since the start of the Biden Administration alone, [PP(6] Korean firms, along with joint venture partners, announced nearly $110 billion in U.S. investments, expected to create over 70,000 jobs – the vast majority of these in semiconductors and electric vehicles. Here are just three examples:

Hyundai and LG Energy Solutions’ $4.3 billion battery cell JV that will generate 3000 jobs in Bryan County, Georgia;
Samsung’s $21b investment in a semiconductor factory in Taylor, Texas; and
a Ford and SK JV that will invest $5.6 billion in a 43 Gwh battery plant in Tennessee.
This is our industrial strategy working for the United States and our Korean partners. And this is just the beginning.

Even as we invest in and innovate new technologies, however, we face malign actors and adversaries that seek to undermine our economic security, as well as our national security.

We are taking steps to protect our national security and the collective economic security of our allies, including Korea, by fostering trusted and secure tech ecosystems in which our companies and researchers can innovate without the threat from malign actors of rampant IP theft, cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, and the use and abuse of sensitive goods and technology exports to further military mobilization and modernization.

That’s why the cyber trade mission I’m leading here in Seoul today, with 15 world-class American companies, is critically important. U.S. companies, I believe, can be trusted partners of choice for Korean institutions seeking to protect their critical infrastructure, including from cyber-intrusion.

Another concrete example of new economic tools we’re using with our allies is related to our export controls partnerships. Nowhere is this better illustrated than the measures we imposed against Russia following their unwarranted invasion of Ukraine. In record time, we built a coalition of 38 like-minded partners from Europe to the Indo-Pacific – all of whom agreed that Russia’s actions represented a global security threat that could not go unanswered. Korea is a key partner on this front.

Additionally, following the recent Trilateral Summit, the U.S., Korea, and Japan will work on a Disruptive Technology Protection Enforcement Exchange to deepen cooperation on technology protection measures and information sharing across our respective enforcement agencies. Our efforts will include measures to counter DPRK cyber activities and foreign information manipulation.

These are just some examples of economic statecraft tools we are augmenting to address the very real national security threats that the United States, Korea, and our allies are seeing in the economic sphere. Our approach to using these tools will be explained in a first-of-its-kind Commerce Department National Security Strategy, which I am launching later this year.

It bears mentioning, for this audience, that partner countries across the Indo-Pacific play an important role in technology supply chains – for instance, from packaging and testing for semiconductors to critical minerals that provide essential inputs to chips, EVs, and other technologies.

That is why the United States, Japan, Korea, and 11 other partner countries in the Region are negotiating the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF)—a cornerstone of our efforts to harness innovation — especially transformations in the clean energy, digital, and technology sectors — while fortifying our economies against a range of threats, from supply chain chokepoints to corruption to tax havens.  

Korea has been instrumental in ensuring the progress of IPEF negotiations, including the announcement in May of this year that 14 IPEF partners concluded negotiations of a first-of-its-kind Supply Chain Agreement aimed at promoting the resiliency, diversification, transparency, and fairness across key supply chains that are critical to our economies.

We are looking to conclude an agreement on the clean economy, with the goal of creating economic opportunities across our countries via the energy transition, as well as an agreement to promote fair economy principles through the fight against corruption, efficient tax measures, and improvements in business environment across the region.

The range and reach of the U.S.-Korea economic partnership is significant and growing, and in my view, will have a profound impact beyond our borders and on the international economic order. But that will depend not only on our respective governments, but ultimately, on the ingenuity, creativity, and commercial acumen of those of you gathered here at this Forum as you innovate, create, and through our thriving bilateral economic partnership, profit and benefit together.

With that, I wish you a productive Forum and I look forward to the signing of the MOUs.

Bureaus and Offices

International Trade Administration


Don Graves


Indo-Pacific Economic Framework

Read the full report from the U.S. Department of Commerce: Read More