South Carolina, Korea Offer Reciprocal Driver's Licenses

Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 05:13 PM

By John Blosser

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The State reports that the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles and South Korea have reached an agreement that guarantees reciprocity between the country and the state when it comes to obtaining personal driver's licenses.

The deal has been in the works for over a year, since South Korea approached South Carolina with the request. Palmetto State residents seeking a Korean driver's license will not have to take driving tests in Korea, nor will Koreans in South Carolina have to test before they can drive.

In a news release, South Carolina DMV Director Kevin Shwedo said, "The reciprocity agreements make it easier to attract international business to the Palmetto State and much easier to conduct business when the citizens of participating countries can drive freely."

That business is significant and growing. Since passage of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement in 2012, South Carolina imports to South Korea have reached over $528 million, according to USKoreaconnect.org, including 2013 sales to Korea of $250 million in passenger vehicles, up $100 million from 2010 and 2011 put together, $1.1 million in civilian aircraft engines and parts, and $3 million in pet food in 2013, an increase from $19,000 annual sales just three years ago.

In addition, partly due to a collaborative agreement between the University of South Carolina and South Korea's Woosuk University, the website reports that 193 South Korean students attend South Carolina universities, and over 3,940 Koreans and Korean Americans live in South Carolina.

Besides, as USKoreaConnect.org commented, "Korea and South Carolina share a reputation for world-class barbecue."

South Carolina has similar driver's license agreements with France and Germany, The State reports. The agreement with Korea applies only to private licenses, not commercial licenses, and does not include motorcycle licenses.

"The Republic of Korea approached us less than a year ago about a reciprocity agreement, and we spent six months comparing and contrasting the driving standards for licensing," Shwedo told The State. "We have confirmed they were so similar that additional testing was not required."

The agreement was signed by Shwedo and South Korean Consul General He Beom Kim.

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