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Edward R.
Republican CA 39

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  • Authority to Extend the United States-Republic of Korea Nuclear Cooperation Agreement

    by Representative Edward R. Royce

    Posted on 2013-09-17

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    ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 2449) to authorize the President to extend the term of the Agreement for Cooperation between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Korea Concerning Civil Uses of Nuclear Energy for a period not to exceed March 19, 2016.



    The Clerk read the title of the bill.

    The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 2449 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. AUTHORITY TO EXTEND THE UNITED STATES-REPUBLIC OF KOREA NUCLEAR COOPERATION AGREEMENT.

    The President is authorized to extend the term of the Agreement for Cooperation between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Korea Concerning Civil Uses of Nuclear Energy for a period not to exceed March 19, 2016, notwithstanding any other provision of law.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from California (Mr. Royce) and the gentleman from New York (Mr. Meeks) each will control 20 minutes.

    The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California.

    General Leave Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and to include any extraneous material on this measure.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California? There was no objection.

    Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    Mr. Speaker, over the past six decades, the United States and South Korea have built a strong and enduring alliance, which is the cornerstone of peace, the cornerstone of security in the Asia-Pacific region.

    Ever since the dark days of the Korean war, our two nations have stood side by side to meet some of today's most pressing challenges. The alliance between our two countries is a model for global partnership in every field, whether it's in the economic field or political or concerning security.

    And earlier this year, my good friend, the ranking member, and I led a bipartisan delegation to South Korea to reaffirm our Nation's steadfast commitment to the good people of South Korea. It was during this visit that we witnessed the tremendous sacrifice that South Koreans made in order to live in freedom.

    The ranking member and I stood by the wreckage of the naval ship Cheonan, paying our respects to the 46 South Korean sailors who perished as a result of the unprovoked North Korean attack, a poignant reminder of the constant threat that our two nations face.

    When Madame Park Geun-hye, the first woman to be elected President of South Korea, addressed a joint session of Congress, she honored the deep sacrifice that Americans have made in protecting her beloved nation. I was pleased to serve on the host committee when she visited the Congress.

    Madam Park and her delegation were warmly received when in southern California as part of her official visit to the United States.

    Today, South Korea is at the forefront of global innovation, with the world's 13th largest economy; and as a result of the landmark U.S.- South Korea trade agreement, South Korea is our seventh largest trading partner.

    One of the most important areas of our close economic cooperation is commerce and, particularly, commerce in nuclear energy. And that is why, Mr. Speaker, it is so important that the Congress approve this piece of legislation before us today.

    South Korea's nuclear energy sector is extensive. It's critically important to its economy. Its 23 operating reactors produce one-third of the nation's electricity. In an effort to secure greater energy independence, the government plans to double this figure over the next two decades, with 11 more power plants to be completed.

    Much of South Korea's nuclear infrastructure is of American origin, and U.S. businesses provide millions of dollars' worth of spare parts and services every year to that nation. That is one of the reasons expansion of this vital sector will be good for the U.S. economy as well.

    South Korea also plans to become a major nuclear exporter in the international market. Given the truly global nature of this industry, American suppliers stand to make considerable gains as well.

    For example, in 2009, a consortium of Korean companies was selected to build four nuclear power reactors in the United Arab Emirates, a deal worth $20 billion. Of this total, American companies will earn up to $2 billion for this project alone through sales of equipment and of services. It is estimated that this one project will support 5,000 jobs in 17 States.

    {time} 1645 The ability of American companies to export to South Korea's nuclear power sector rests upon our two countries' 40-year-old nuclear cooperation agreement, which expires on March 19, 2014. The U.S. and South Korean negotiators are currently negotiating a long-term extension of this agreement.

    But to prevent an unnecessary interruption that would have a major negative impact on our alliance with South Korea and on U.S. exporters alike, Ranking Member Engel and I introduced this bipartisan legislation to extend the existing agreement for 2 years, to March 19, 2016. The State Department is in support of this legislation.

    Testifying earlier this year on behalf of an extension, a top State Department official told the House Foreign Affairs Committee: An extension would also ensure there is no lapse in our ongoing civil nuclear cooperation, preserving stability and predictability in our joint commercial activities.

    This bill is a simple extension of the existing agreement--with no modifications or changes--that will allow negotiators time to focus on substance instead of the clock.

    The Foreign Affairs Committee voted unanimously in favor of the bill, which now has a total of 41 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle.

    I urge my colleagues to vote for this legislation so that it can be sent to the Senate and then on to the President for his signature and thereby ensure that the cooperation between our two countries in this vital area can continue without interruption.

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