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House Committee Approves Extension of US-ROK 123 Agreement

July 25, 2013—The House Committee on Foreign Affairs has approved a bill extending the existing bilateral nuclear cooperation “123” agreement with South Korea for another two years.

The bill was approved by unanimous voice vote during a markup of the legislation in the committee and would authorize the president to extend the existing Section 123 agreement with South Korea until March 2016. Legislation is needed to extend the agreement while a long-term successor agreement is being negotiated (see Nuclear Energy Overview, July 3).

“This legislation will provide two additional years for our two nations to complete negotiations on extending the existing agreement [that] is set to expire early next year. This will prevent an interruption in our peaceful nuclear cooperation, which would have a negative impact upon our bilateral relationship and on U.S. businesses,” said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.). “This legislation enjoys strong bipartisan support.” 

Ed Royce (R-Calif.) highlighted the importance of renewing the agreement.

“This legislation … will ensure that U.S. businesses are able to continue to supply parts and services to South Korea and will enable the negotiators to focus on substance, rather than the clock, in striking a long-term agreement,” Royce said.

U.S. and Republic of Korea nuclear energy trade flows in both directions and to joint projects in third countries. For example, U.S. content in the South Korean nuclear power plants under construction in the United Arab Emirates is valued at more than $2 billion. 

The bill goes next to the House floor for a vote. For the legislation to take effect it also must be passed by the Senate and signed by the president.

Earlier this month, NEI, the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz to actively foster U.S. commercial engagement with nations pursuing peaceful nuclear energy programs (see Nuclear Energy Overview, July 16).

Nuclear Energy Overview