U.S., S. Korea partner to ease chip crunch

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced an agreement to deepen cooperation in a range of industries including electric-vehicle batteries, semiconductor producers and pharmaceutical companies making COVID-19 vaccines.

“The importance of this bilateral relationship for both nations cannot be overstated,” Raimondo said. “As we recover from the pandemic, our countries will benefit from deepening that collaboration, particularly in sectors that are critical to the future of our economies.”

The U.S. has sought help from allies including South Korea to alleviate a semiconductor shortage that’s led to idling of auto plants across North America. South Korea is also eager to secure supplies of COVID-19 vaccines that the U.S. has recently allowed to be exported.

Raimondo on Friday morning held a roundtable on supply chain issues with South Korean Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Moon Sung-wook. The meeting was attended by more than a dozen executives from companies including Samsung Electronics Co., LG Corp., Qualcomm Inc. and Hyundai Motor Group.

Moon is set to participate in a bilateral meeting with President Joe Biden on Friday afternoon and later hold a joint press conference.

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