Asian trade issues, such as the Free Trade Agreement signed by President Barack Obama on Oct. 12, are often discussed by state leaders trying to find ways to improve Nevada's economy. This week, Nevadans will have a rare opportunity to hear about Asian trade and economic issues first-hand, from the Ambassador from the Republic of Korea to the United States, Han Duk-soo, as well as the former Ambassador from the United States to the Republic of Korea, Kathleen Stephens.
The two will hold a discussion and answer questions at a presentation moderated by Economics Professor Thomas Cargill at the University of Nevada, Reno Joe Crowley Student Union Theater at 11 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 1. The session is free and open to the public, and will also include discussion of Asian security issues.
Before his appointment as ambassador in January 2009, Han served as the 38th prime minister of the Republic of Korea, chairman of the Presidential Committee on Facilitating the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement, minister of finance and economy, and president of the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade. Stephens served as ambassador from September 2008 until October 2011 and is a career minister in the U.S. Foreign Service. Before serving as ambassador, she was principal deputy assistant secretary of state for the U.S. Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, responsible for overall bureau management and public diplomacy and for management of U.S. relations with Japan and Korea.
The ambassadors come at the invitation of Cargill and the University's Economics Department in the College of Business. Greg Mosier, dean of the college, and Elliott Parker, chair of the department, will also be in attendance.
"We are very happy that Dr. Cargill was able to arrange for us to host this rare opportunity in Nevada to discuss Asian trade and economic issues," Mosier said. "His experience and relationships with those involved in these issues has made this discussion possible. I know a number of our community leaders who are eager to hear what the ambassadors have to say and will be attending Thursday's discussion."
Cargill has been a visiting scholar at the Comptroller of the Currency at the U.S. Treasury, Bank of Japan, Japanese Ministry of Finance, Japanese Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, East-West Center at the University of Hawaii, and the Bank of Korea. He has served as a consultant to the National Credit Union Administration, the World Bank, Central Intelligence Agency and the International Monetary Fund.
Cargill will frame the discussion, which includes an opportunity for questions from the audience, around three topics:
- Current Asian trade and economic issues, including the Free Trade Agreement, export-based versus domestic-driven economic development, housing bubbles in Korea and the United States, and demographic challenges facing many Asian countries;
- Asian security issues, including China's increasing influence throughout Asia and North Korea's support of Iran's nuclear/missile program; and
- The Pacific Century, the idea that the 21st century will be dominated, especially economically, by the states in the Asia-Pacific region.
After the discussion and lunch on campus, the ambassadors will travel to Carson City, where they will meet and dine with representatives from U.S. Sen. Harry Reid's office and Gov. Brian Sandoval's office.