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The United States Trade Representative chief Katherine Tai, left, and South Korea’s Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo, second from left, listen to the explanation on advanced semiconductor materials at an SK Siltron CSS factory in Michigan on March 16. SK E&S Vice Chairman Yu Jeong-joon, third from left, also joined. Photo courtesy of SK Siltron CSS

Leaders of the two countries visit SK Siltron CSS factory

South Korea’s Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo and his U.S. counterpart Katherine Tai, the chief of the United States Trade Representative, met on March 16 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the free trade agreement between the two allies.

In particular, they visited the Michigan factory of SK Siltron CSS, a subsidiary of Korea’s SK Group, which produces semiconductor materials called silicon carbide wafers. SK E&S Vice Chairman Yu Jeong-joon also joined.

Watchers point out that their visit to the factory, which is located in a city of just around 2,000, shows how the two countries strive to form future economic cooperation.

“The two trade ministers met at a factory, which rolls out very advanced materials for semiconductors. This shows that the two nations hope to seek closer economic collaboration in futuristic areas,” Seoul-based business tracker Leaders Index CEO Park Ju-gun said.

“In particular, they also demonstrate their commitment to dealing with the global chip shortage and reducing carbon emission.”

Silicon carbide wafers are used to manufacture semiconductors, which can help electric cars charge faster and increase their travel distance, according to SK Siltron CSS.

They are also used to churn out semiconductors used for solar power panels.

Yeo commented that the two countries agreed to keep developing their trade partnership in a future-oriented way by addressing trade issues in various areas.

Washington and Seoul concluded the free trade treaty in 2007, but they renegotiated them to ink a new version in late 2010. The pact went into effect in March 2012.

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The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at voc200@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.