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Connolly-Kim Reintroduce Partner with Korea Act

Today, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Korea and President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and Rep. Young Kim (R-CA) introduced the Partner with Korea Act, bipartisan legislation that builds on the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) and encourages greater ties between American and Korean businesses. The legislation directly supports the Administration’s efforts to deepen relations with South Korea, and comes in advance of a May 21 meeting between President Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The Partner with Korea Act would create an allotment of 15,000 E-4 highly skilled work visas for Korean nationals with specialized education and expertise, provided that potential employers can ensure the visa holders are not hired for positions that American workers could fill. Similar visa allotments were created following our free trade agreements with other countries, including Australia and Singapore.

“South Korea is an essential American ally and, as our sixth largest trading partner, an indispensable source of opportunity for American businesses,” said Rep. Connolly. “The Partner with Korea Act will allow the U.S. to fully enjoy the economic benefits created by the KORUS FTA, and will further solidify the close relationship between our two countries.”

“South Korea is one of our most important allies and is home to a highly skilled and diverse workforce that is essential to our nation’s continued economic success and national security in Asia,” said Rep. Young Kim, Vice Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Nonproliferation and one of the first Korean American women to serve in Congress. “The U.S. must treat South Korea like the strong partner it is and leverage the KORUS FTA to expand our relationship and benefit both of our countries. I am proud to join forces with Rep. Gerry Connolly to do exactly that by introducing the bipartisan Partner with Korea Act today, and I’ll continue to work in Congress to help strengthen the U.S.-ROK relationship.” 

The KORUS FTA passed Congress in 2011 and began to take effect in March of 2012. The Partner with Korea Act was previously introduced in the 113th, 114th, 115th, and 116th Congresses.

The Partner with Korea Act is cosponsored by Representatives Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), Jim Cooper (D-TN), Andy Kim (D-NJ), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ).

Full text of the legislation is available here.

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