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Korea-U.S. to Track Down “Technological Alternatives”

Posted February. 27, 2004 22:31,   


Regarding the challenge to make wireless internet technology standardization an obligatory condition, Korea and the United States have consented that companies from both countries should track down technological alternatives. However, at a recent conference, the problem of lifting the U.S. beef embargo, which was also expected to become a point of issue, was not discussed as a topic on the official agenda.

On February 27, the chief of the Korean delegation, Cho Tae-yeol, who holds a seat on the local trade department in the foreign ministry, concurrently remarked on the periodic conference of inspecting the pending trade problems between Korea and the U.S. This conference was held on February 25 in Seoul. He stated, “in relation to the wireless technology standardization problem, both countries approached nearly a ‘clash of opinions,’ but then found a momentum which could sort out the problem smoothly.”

So far, the U.S. side has strongly raised an objection to the movement of Korea to adopt the “WIPI” as the standard of the wireless internet technology, stirring it up as the biggest issue in this conference. It has been known that the U.S. has been opposed to “WIPI”, because “BREW,” which was developed by a U.S. based company, Qualcomm, could be kicked out of the market, if “WIPI” is adopted as the standard.

Cho added that, “As for the 2.3GHz portable internet technology standardization problem, a potential threat of conflicts is ambushed. The U.S. has asserted that government should not interfere in this problem, but leave its development to the forces of market.”

“The ratio of rejected visa cases towards Koreans who try to enter the U.S. has skyrocketed since 1997 when financial crisis swept over the country and has not been improved. The agreement towards visa exemptions has not seen progress,” remarked Cho, adding, “U.S. officials answered that they will consider advancing the current one to two months procedure (due to fingerprinting and an interview), into a two to three week process.”

The U.S. has asserted that Korea has not reorganized its taxation system, and is required to reduce the customs added on the imported cars in Korea.

As for this requirement, “Last July, when we revised the special expenditure tax, the imported car customs were alleviated from the existing third levels to the second level. It is hard to accept the request this time.”

A high level official of the U.S. who is in charge of trade has held an extra press conference at the U.S. embassy in Korea, and remarked, “It is reasonable to stand by the mutual compatibilities between ‘WIPI’ and ‘BREW’.” On the other hand, the Korean side has urged the U.S. to accept the additional import of cucumbers, watermelon, musk melon, and paprika from Korea. The U.S. answered, “We will cope with the matter by the first half of this year.”

Ji-Wan Cha Hyun-Jin Kim cha@donga.com bright@donga.com