In her latest remarks, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated on Tuesday that the US and South Korea should strengthen their trade relations to prevent other nations from taking undue advantage of their market positions, specifically China. “We cannot allow countries like China to use their market position in key raw materials, technologies, or products to disrupt our economy or exercise unwanted geopolitical leverage,” Yellen stated at an LG Group-run research and development complex in Seoul, the Associated Press (AP) reported. In April this year, LG, one of South Korea’s largest commercial conglomerates, revealed plans to build a battery plant worth $1.4 billion in Queen Creek, Arizona.
According to reports, Yellen visited Tokyo and Seoul in addition to Indonesia, where she represented the US at the G20 Finance Minister meetings. Earlier in July, she also held a telephonic conversation with China’s vice premier in charge of trade. Notably, Yellen has been critical of China’s economic ties with Russia and urged the Asian powerhouse to use its “special relationship with Moscow” to persuade President Vladimir Putin to end the war in Ukraine.
Deepening economic ties with partners like the Republic of Korea has been a priority of my Indo-Pacific visit. At LG Sciencepark, I’m addressing the importance of building resilient supply chains to ease inflationary pressures & lower consumer costs. https://t.co/CwrnK1ytF7 — Secretary Janet Yellen (@SecYellen) July 19, 2022
Yellen urges nations to participate in ‘friend-shoring’ to reduce economic risk
“China has directed significant resources to seek a dominant position in the manufacturing of certain advanced technologies, including semiconductors while employing a range of unfair trade practices to achieve this position,” Yellen claimed. To reduce the economic risk for participating economies, she also urged nations to participate in “friend-shoring,” citing unfair Chinese actions that harm national security interests. The US Treasury Secretary has mentioned the concept of “friend-shoring” in he multiple speeches. This refers to nations with similar values agreeing to trade policies that promote manufacturing and lower supply chain risk.
US Treasury Secretary Yellen to meet South Korean President
“The purpose is to lower risks for our economy. In doing so, we can help to insulate both American and Korean households from the price increases in disruptions caused by geopolitical and economic risks and facilitate our businesses’ access to vital inputs and products from medicine to semiconductors to electric vehicle batteries,” Yellen remarked. Notably, the US Treasury Secretary is also expected to meet key South Korean leaders, including President Yoon Seok-youl later on Tuesday during her first visit to the Indo-Pacific region. Earlier on July 11, an adviser to the US State Department also visited South Korea and held discussions with the country’s officials regarding the bilateral alliance and other issues, including the North Korean threat.